De Bruin out to reclaim top Midlands Ultra honours.
CompliMed Midlands Ultra Triathlon 2014 Media Release
No: ultra1403 11 Feb 2014
Embargo : None
Written by : Nick Tatham
Pietermaritzburg – With entries for the 2014 CompliMed Midlands Ultra on the brink of closing, defending champion Gerhard de Bruin has thrown his name into the contenders pot and will line up against a top field of athletes when the event starts at Midmar Dam on Sunday 2 March.
De Bruin is back to defend the title he won in December however he has had a tough start to 2014 with a disappointing 70.3 Iron Man in East London in January. He does however feel that he is on the road back to his best in the build-up to the Midlands Ultra.
“After winning at Midmar in December I was training really hard for the 70.3 Iron Man but I just couldn’t shake the fatigue when I went into the race,” De Bruin said. “I was then diagnosed with anemia so after the event I rested for a whole week and started to feel a lot better after that!”
The events at the Iron Man was a firm psychological blow but De Bruin was determined to be up and be ready for the Midlands Ultra and is now frothing to get out onto the new and improved bike route that the organisers have laid out.
“It’s tough when you invest so much time into preparing for a race and you come away so disappointed,” the Midlands Ultra defending champion added. “Since January I have been back training really hard and I am excited for the new bike route that Damian (Bradley) has set out for us this year and I have been visualising myself on the route a lot lately!” he added light-heartedly.
The Pretoria based athlete is looking forward to the challenge that the Midlands Ultra will pose and understands the importance of the race in terms of his preparations for the rest of the Iron Man series.
“This has got to be my favourite race of this distance in the country! The new bike route and the running route is much more suited to me and I hope that this year we can have some great weather because in the past we have had some seriously hot days out there!
“Don’t get me wrong, the course is going to be tough – a real leg breaker – but it is the perfect way for me to prep for the upcoming Iron Man races,” an excited De Bruin said.
Cape based athlete Stuart Marais will be breaking a four year hiatus from the event when he arrives at Midmar Dam for the Midlands Ultra on the back of some really good form.
It has been a busy start to the year for Marais who has been taking on a number of different events both on the road and off the road which has kept him sharp and assisted him in ending in an impressive fourth place at the Iron Man 70.3 last month.
“It has been a massively busy year for me already with a number of races already under the belt in my first season in the professional category of the Iron Man,” Marais said. “I got a fourth place finish in the Half Iron Man at the end of January so I am feeling good and looking forward to the Midlands Ultra because it will be the perfect preparation for me before I head overseas.”
The Midlands Ultra is set up to replicate a half Iron Man course which provides the top athletes with a great opportunity to get into shape and, with a busy schedule on the cards for Marais, getting in some good competition before he heads overseas is paramount.
“My focus this year is mainly on the half Iron Man with a trip to Abu Dhabi the next big race for me along with the other eight legs around the world before the World Champs in October in Canada, so I am glad that we have got events like the Midlands Ultra in the country to help me prepare,” he explained.
The race will also double as the South African Long Course Championships which is something that Marais, initially unaware of the event’s added status, adds extra incentive but won’t be the main focus for Marais at the event.
“When I entered I didn’t even know that it was the South African Long Course Championships but that will be an added bonus if I can win that!” Marais added.
Second place finisher at the December edition of the Midlands Ultra, Brad Venter, has also had a less than ideal build-up to next month’s event with an injury cloud finally dispersing as he prepares for the event in just over two weeks’ time.
“I broke my ribs just a few weeks after the event in December last year so I have been out of action for a while,” Venter said. “I have literally just started swimming training again but have been on the mountain bike quite a lot.”
It has been tough for Venter as getting onto his road bike has been the most difficult part of the rehabilitation due to the pain caused by standing up on the bike.
“I have felt a distinct change recently in the pain as it’s gone from a knife to the heart to a punch in the chest type of a pain!” he said jokingly.
With only a few weeks to prepare, time is not on Venter’s side. He does however still hope to retain a spot in the South African team that will go to China for the Long Course World Championships later in the year.
“I am going to race as hard as I possibly can at the Midlands Ultra but it is going to be difficult with so little time to train really hard. I will definitely give it my best effort though!” he added determinedly.
The CompliMed Midlands Ultra Expo and Registration happens on Saturday 1 March and the racing takes place on Sunday 2 March and for all the information on the event go to www.midlandsultra.com.