It’s been one of the most exciting journeys Modern Athlete has yet embarked on: In October last year, after being overwhelmed by applicants, we chose 10 novice triathletes to be coached and trained by one of the best in the business, Derick Marcisz. He is a triathlete with 41 years’ experience and numerous sporting achievements to his name. You don’t get much better than that! On top of that, our 10 team members were kitted out and supplied with sporting goods from a fabulous range of sponsors.
Over the next few months, the group quickly bonded, sharing that common goal: To cross the finish line and earn their well-deserved medals. Over the last couple of months, Modern Athlete also hosted a series of four workshops which were well attended by the public, who gained valuable practical and theoretical advice on all things triathlon.
There is not much left to say except that now is the time to shine. All 10 team members will be competing in Modern Athlete DARE TO TRI tri suits, so if you see them on the road, cheer them on! These girls and guys have given their all to make it to the starting line, and this is what they had to say about their hopes for the finish:
Iroman 70.3 seemed unachievable. I then heard about the DARE TO TRI challenge and entered, thinking I have no chance of making the team… but then came the phone call which changed everything – my training, my goals and the idea I had of myself! At the finish, I might check the clock to see my time, look out for my family who hopefully saw me finish, look for my fellow team members, or maybe just collapse on the line and cry like a little girl! With so many things running through my head now already, I think I will have to walk across the line just to make sure I focus on that split second when you complete your first Ironman 70.3, because there will only be one moment like that in your life.
Nothing beats an Ironman event for prestige. It is a test of one’s staying power and sporting versatility, and ultimately a stepping stone to the full Ironman. When I cross that finish line, I will lift my hands and thank the Lord for having preserved me throughout the journey. Then I will do ten push-ups and collapse, waiting for my partner to lift me and then lift a banner with the words: “I did it!”
I wanted to do Ironman 70.3 to challenge myself both physically and mentally. I believe that this experience will be a great platform for future sport goals such as the Comrades, Argus and Midmar! When I finish, the very first thing that I would want to do is thank God for being so very blessed to be able to compete in such an awesome event and thank all of the people that made this journey possible and supported me.
There were definite ups and downs on this journey, like trying to shuffle through the myriad of advice and fighting with my own inner voice whether to train harder or rest more. This was an epic journey for a guy who has never learnt to swim and ran around the block coughing and spluttering. Swimming is still my biggest adversary, but I will not be defeated. Running has come as a bit of a surprise, as I am enjoying it immensely. I implore everyone to take on this challenge. Go forth and awaken the dormant champion inside you. In my mind, I already see my loved ones at the finish line, no doubt this will be emotional. A Lazy Boy at the finish would not hurt either…
A few years ago I thought running 1km was a challenge. Then I decided to stop saying ‘I can’t’. One fateful day in June I noticed that entries for 70.3 had opened. I had already completed a few half marathons and a 94.7 Cycle Challenge, so I was confident I could complete those distances. I needed a new challenge and also wanted to learn to swim, but never had the motivation. I decided to enter there and then so I wouldn’t have the opportunity to talk myself out of it. When I cross that finish line, the first thing I will do is send my parents a message to tell them I’m still alive.
Personal growth, overcoming challenges and facing my fears defines me as a person. As a Comrades runner, I was looking for a new challenge and the Ironman 70.3 was an ideal stepping stone to the full Ironman. I have learnt and gained so much over the past few months. The first thing I will do when I cross the line will be to thank God for blessing me with the ability to finish this race. There are so many people not able to do it, and I feel extremely blessed. I will then call my husband, family and friends to share the good news with them.
Ironman training has become a lifestyle for me, and Ironman 70.3 is a giant leap towards the full Ironman, which of course comes with loads of bragging rights! I hope the DARE TO TRI team will inspire readers who wish to participate in such events and who think that it is not an achievable goal. My goal is to be an advocate for a healthy lifestyle, especially to the youth. Right now I am just focussing on getting to the finish, but a victory dance is a probability if my legs allow it! I will definitely be looking for my family, and of course, my phone, to get hold of all thee of little faith.
JOHAN VAN ROOYEN
Ironman events are a true test of mental and physical toughness and something that everyone should try at least once. In my journey, I quickly learnt that there are no boundaries to what my body is capable of. The main obstacle is mental limitations that we create for ourselves. Ironman 70.3 is a great stepping stone to prepare myself for my ultimate goal of finishing the full distance. When I cross that line, I would like to phone my kids, as they won’t be making the trip with us. Then I would like to support the rest of the athletes still out on the road, including the rest of the DARE TO TRI team, and of course, my wife, Christelle. Then it’s party time!
CHRISTELLE VAN ROOYEN
I never expected to be picked for the DARE TO TRI team, and this has challenged me in ways that I never thought possible. When I cross the finish line I will try and find Johan in the sea of faces. I will probably be crying, and thinking I did what four months ago I never thought I would do. I will know that with a lot of work from my side, support from my husband, children and family, and help from our DARE TO TRI coach and team members, it was achieved. And then I’m going to wonder what next?
I never thought I would be capable of doing Ironman 70.3, in fact I knew very little about it bar the fact that only ‘superheroes’ compete in them. Whilst I had regretted not trying a triathlon when I was younger, I still harboured the idea that perhaps one year I would get fit and try a mini-triathlon, but never an Ironman! Honestly, I doubt I would ever have done this and am so grateful to Modern Athlete for giving me this opportunity. I’m sure I will be terribly emotional at the finish, but I will call my family and thank everyone who has supported and encouraged me for the past months.
FINAL RACE DAY ADVICE
• Only use what you have trained with.
• Make sure you take in enough liquid and carbs in the days leading up to the race.
• The bike leg is where you need to refuel.
• Have a good breakfast before the start.
• Start either to the left or right of the main pack.
• When the gun goes, wait 10 to 30 seconds to avoid the ‘washing machine’ effect.
• Take it easy and have a plan what you need to do.
• Put on sunscreen even if it’s cloudy, and a lube product to prevent chafing.
• Remember your sunglasses and cycling gloves, and take the time to put on socks.
• Don’t go off at a blistering speed. Take it easy for the first couple of kays.
• Then go hard enough, but not full-out. Keep enough in reserve for the run.
• Take it easy in the last 5km, spin the legs and get them ready for the run.
• Your legs WILL feel heavy the first couple of kays, but you will start feeling better.
• Find a steady pace and take a short walk if you have to.
• Enjoy the last couple of kays!
If you are one of hundreds of readers who followed our training programme, we wish you the best of luck on your big day. We know that you will be awesome! Most importnatly, ENJOY THE RACE. The feeling of finishing your first IROMAN 70.3 will stay with you forever!