GJ’s Hoffman defends title at Ironman in South Africa
Just like last year, Ben Hoffman is off to a great start to the Ironman triathlon season.
The Grand Junction High School alum defended his Ironman African Championship title with a strong effort in the marathon leg on April 2.
Hoffman, 33, set a blistering pace, breaking 8 hours in the race. His time of 7 hours, 58.40 minutes was much faster than his 2016 winning time of 8:12.37.
Hoffman and Germany’s Nils Frommhold battled throughout the marathon leg, leaving the other competitors behind.
The race, conducted in Nelson Mandela Bay in South Africa, is one of the first full Ironman races of the season.
About halfway through the run, Hoffman had a 49-second gap on Frommhold and held on for a 50-second victory. Frommhold’s time was 7:59:30.
Hoffman had the fastest run leg in the race at 2:42:52. His other times were 49:14 in the 2.4-mile swim and 4:22:33 on the 112-mile bike leg.
It was the first time in Hoffman’s career that he finished under 8 hours in an Ironman.
He started his season with a sixth-place finish in the Ironman 70.3 Buenos Aries, a half Ironman, on March 12.
For the past several years, Hoffman has been one of top American competitors and best overall Ironman competitors.
In 2014, he placed second in the Ironman Triathlon World Championships, which is conducted every October in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
Last year, he finished fourth at the World Championships even though his time was six minutes faster than in 2014. He was the top American finisher in the race with the top three coming from Germany.
It’s been 14 years since an American last won the Ironman World Championships.