Henri Schoeman took a wire-to-wire win at the Ironman 70.3 Cebu Philippines, overcoming soaring temperatures to notch his first victory over the distance. His previous best finish was silver at last year’s Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championship Bahrain.

The Olympic Games bronze and Commonwealth Games gold medalist from South Africa beat his fellow competitors out of the water logging 24:15 over the 1.9-kilometre swim, clocked the top split of 2:08:48 on the 90-kilometre cycle course, then held strong with the day’s fastest half marathon in 1:24:29 to break the tape in 4:02:31, over four minutes ahead of the rest of the field.

In his post-race interview, Schoeman said all had largely gone to plan despite the adverse conditions, pushing hard from the swim to set up his advantage and race off the front. “I tried to get a better gap and make the guys behind me work as hard as they can.”

Meanwhile in South Africa, Daniela Ryf kicked off her farewell racing tour at the Ironman African Championship. She emerged from the 3.8-kilometre swim in third place with a time of 56:46, then cycled 180 kilometres steadily in 5:11:08 to finish in fifth position. She then ran a 3:27:50 marathon to finish eighth.

The multiple Ironman world champion had last raced in Nelson Mandela Bay back in 2017 when she logged an 8:47:02 for the win. This year was the first since 2016 that the top women failed to break 9 hours over the distance.

This weekend will see the Bahrain Victorious 13 racing red at the Ironman Texas starting line where Kat Matthews and Joe Skipper will race for the title of Ironman North American Champion.