Jenny leads the way in half ‘Ironman’ event in South Africa

Borders triathlete Jenny Close now lives and competes in South Africa
Borders triathlete Jenny Close now lives and competes in South Africa

A Borders woman has won her age category in a half ironman in her adopted home, South Africa.

In a nation renowned for its sporting prowess, Jenny Close won the women’s 35-39 age group in the South Africa Ironman 70.3 in Buffalo City, East London, on the country’s east coast.

Jenny, now living in Cape Town, is originally from Fishwick near Berwick. She said: “It was my first 70.3 so wasn’t quite sure what to expect other than its the second toughest 70.3 due to the rolling hills on the bike route.”

The triathalon attracts about 3,000 competitors from around the world and involves a 1.2-mile swim in the ocean, a 56-mile bike race and a 13.1-mile run.

Jenny completed the race in 5:21:31, winning the run in her age group in a time of 1:46:13 and completing the bike and swim sections in 2:54:38 and 34:56 respectively, beating a couple of professionals on her way to victory.

The race was her best result so far in an amateur competitive career of less than three years.

She said: “I loved the bike route. Rolling hills suit me perfectly - being lightweight I can climb hills relatively easily and on the downhills my deep section Enve wheels, very kindly sponsored by Chris Strickland from Celtic Bicycle Wheels (in Jedburgh), make me fly!

“I was under strict instructions from my coach (Dave Sullivan) not to chase on the bike and stick to my race plan but it was very hard to hold back when I was feeling so good!”

The 36-year-old digital media manager is no newcomer to top end sport, having represented Scotland in athletics and lacrosse while at school.