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“The only time you ever look back, is to see how far you’ve come.” by Kurt Heunis

Born and bred in the windy – but definitely Friendly City of Port Elizabeth – the annual Ironman event was always supported by many locals. The sheer thought of what they say today is simply a swim, bike and run is something I could never comprehend………

Roll on 2014 and at 101kgs, my heaviest weight to date, the results of my Discovery Medical Health Check in hand – nothing to be proud of, I realised that change was required. Certainly no-one to cast blame on other than myself, I started the process of finding a nutritionist that would educate me on the habits of healthier eating. No 7 day quick diets or miracle potions, I was a convert to the fact that healthier eating was a lifestyle and in a period of 14 weeks reached my goal weight of 85kgs.

But there was still something missing.

Having always had a keen interest in various sports during my schooling years, the thought of taking a hit by a 100kg+ centre on a rugby field was no longer an option. So I proceeded to the next, “safest” one – the proverbial gym contract. Air-conditioned facilities, state of the art equipment and a swimming pool I paid no attention to I started cardio and weight training.

Eating well, maintaining my goal weight and showing levels of improved fitness, good old monotony set in and heading to a gym became less appealing. Encouraged to start running I managed to get strong and fit enough to complete 10km and as I had always enjoyed a bicycle decided to enter the Discovery duathlon. Managed to finish with somewhat of a smile on my face. I then decided to incorporate some “swimming” into my weekly regime and in May 2016 opted for my first ever triathlon in Sun City. Self-trained I managed, on dry land, to remain somewhat calm by the constant reminder that it was “only” a 700m swim.

Well …… I am firstly very thankful to have survived in order to tell the tale – but in a nutshell what an absolute disaster. From churning washing machine water effects to two near drownings, varying levels of panic, border line rib fractures and facial damage from nearby breaststrokers and doggy paddlers I just managed to complete the swim. Thank you lifeguards! The rest of the event was simply a blur and certainly one of those memories you wish could be erased. I am certain I finished – I have the finishers’ medal to prove it, but vowed never to swim, bike and run ever again.

Perhaps “never” was a little hasty, and not one who enjoys being beaten I turned to the internet in November 2017 requesting assistance. Still to this day waiting for responses from a number of requests I had sent, one Samantha Harrington responded within minutes. Sam invited me to what I believed then to be an innocent chat and cup of coffee. Today Sam is my coach and the basis by which my abilities are tested. With Sam’s guidance and the incredible support from my One80 Multisport team I have managed in 2 ½ years to complete, a number of short distance 5150’s, eight half distance triathlons – one I was honoured to be a part of being Ironman World Championships in Port Elizabeth, two full distance triathlons with many future events planned.

So why One80? A teammate summed One80 Multisport perfectly in that we’re serious enough in the sport to remain honest, we train hard and are always prepared to tackle the goals we’ve set out to achieve. Yet, not so serious to ruin the fun along the way. This is most certainly a journey by which I have been humbled and a sport I can truly say I have learnt to love. Without the support of my family, guidance from our One80 Multisport coaches and the encouragement from an incredible team of human beings – my completed achievements would have simply remained “something I could never comprehend”.

They’ve assisted in that change!

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2 Comments
  • Julie Wagstaff
    January 28, 2020 at 4:51 pm

    Such an inspiration!!!

  • Debbie Ferreira
    January 28, 2020 at 6:54 pm

    Inspirational!!!!

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