Ironman heroes stop to save two from drowning

Trio rush to aid two youths caught in strong rip current 

Two Ironman SA triathletes and a race referee have been praised for abandoning the triathlon and rescuing two drowning bathers off East London on Sunday.

A woman triathlete with a broken elbow and tar grazes down her back finished the Ironman SA 70.3 in five hours, 21 minutes and 47 seconds.

Susie Cheetham, 28, a professional from Chippenham in Wiltshire, Britain, was in second place in the women’s race when she crashed at speed on her bike at the N2-North East Expressway interchange.

Ironman spokesman Michael Flanagan said: “She slipped in the wet while turning off the N2. She opted to finish the bike ride and received treatment at transition, where her arm was bandaged, and then proceeded onto the run and continued until the finish, finishing in eighth place in the pro women’s race.”

Cheetham posted on Instagram: “In T2 I thought I could run and after starting found it difficult to quit. The support at this race is very special and I’ve been overwhelmed by the kindness of both the triathlon and South African community.”

Twenty-four hours later the married mum wrote: “Post surgery, I’ve got a broken elbow with some wires in it along with some sticky road rash. Ready to face my flight back to the UK!”

Flanagan said 2852 athletes entered, 2434 registered in East London, 2123 started and 1987 crossed the finishing line, meaning 865 fell out.

He said the new Ironman SA 70.3 Durban had attracted the attention of a number of those who had pulled out. — mikel@dispatch.co.za

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