Getting Unstitched

They DARED… they TRIED…And they came home as Ironmen… and Women!


Last year Modern Athlete started a unique
triathlon challenge, daring 10 novice triathletes to take on the Spec-Savers
Ironman 70.3 South Africa on 22 January in Buffalo City.
We were overwhelmed by applications and eventually chose 10 worthy candidates. Under
the watchful eye of coach Derick Marcisz, they started their journey in
October. They were all individually coached and supplied with awesome triathlon
gear and services from the best sporting sponsors in the business.


race day came, and nine out of the 10 team members had made it to the starting
line. (The tenth member experienced a family illness during the journey and
withdrew.) This is their experience.



Swim: 55:28 Bike: 3:02 Run: 2:17 TOTAL: 6:33

Race day was
a mix of nerves, excitement, anticipation, joy, anguish… all before I got out
of bed! The first part of the swim went according to plan, but by the third
buoy I got caught by the next wave of swimmers and havoc followed, but I
managed to make the cut-off.


The bike
leg went very well, but the run started badly and I walked a lot on the first
10km loop. I only settled into a rhythm in the second half. The crowd was
inspiring. Running towards the red carpet was an experience that left me lost
for words. This guy that started out never having learnt to swim and a novice
runner was a 70.3 finisher! Seeing Leana, the tears streamed for both of us. Next
step: Full Iron Man…



Swim: 44:25 Bike: 3:43 Run: 2:42 TOTAL: 7:25

The adrenaline
was pumping and chaos followed in the swim! After losing my goggles at the
second turning point, it was head down and swim. Nobody was joking when they
said that this is one of, if not the hardest bike routes on the 70.3 calendar.
“Rest when you can and spin on the uphills” is the advice that got me through.
Now only the run stood between me and my medal.


the red carpet, I realised that I started this journey to prove to others what
I am capable of, but in completing 70.3, I proved to myself what I am capable
of. I truly achieved the Ironman mantra of “Anything is Possible.” The best
feeling is knowing I will be back next year.



Swim: 1:00 (DNF)

My journey was
an unforgettable experience! Thanks to Modern
and Derick for making my dream come true and to my family, friends
and colleagues for all your support and encouragement. Race day was tough, but
I enjoyed every moment! The biggest victory for me was overcoming my fear of
open water swimming. After nearly drowning in the sea earlier in my life, I
never thought I would be able to swim 1.9km. Unfortunately, cramping calves hampered
my cycling and I missed the cut-off by seven minutes. Although disappointed, I
am still proud of what I achieved. I DARED to TRI and I will be back in 2013.



Swim: 1:15 (DNF)

Race day would
not have happened had it not been for the encouragement I received from family,
team mates and everyone that rooted for me. The day before race day I was so
preoccupied with how I would do on the swim that I battled to sleep. I was not
prepared for the overwhelming congestion at the buoys, but fortunately I managed
to swim the whole distance! When I finally felt dry land, I was so excited, but
was then told that I had missed the cut-off time off by just five minutes! I have
come a long way from not being able to finish one lap in a pool. I am proud of
this, but disappointed that I did not finish the whole event. Next year I will
make my team mates proud.



Swim: 43:56 Bike: 3:43 Run: 2:07 TOTAL: 6:58

I loved the
swim and left the water feeling energised. Cycling is my weakest leg and I constantly
found myself wondering if the next hill would be the one that I couldn’t get up,
but that hill never appeared. I felt great for the first half of the run, and
then realised that I could perhaps break seven hours. For the last three kays I
was using every cell in my body to keep it moving forward, and it paid off!


The whole
DARE TO TRI experience is something I will always treasure, and this average,
middle-aged Madam Dough is fitter than she has been in 25 years. Thank you Modern Athlete, Derick and Michelle,
thank you to my family for your support and patience, thank you to the rest of
the team who made group training sessions such fun, and thank you to all the



Swim: 50:15 Bike: 4:07 Run: 2:37 TOTAL: 7:56

I was
surprisingly calm and keen to get started. Having my sister there to watch was
a great motivator. The swim felt tougher and longer than it was. Although the
water was fairly flat, my goggles were leaking, and bobbing up and down made me
nauseous. I will never forget my elation when my feet hit that beach.


underestimated how tough the cycle would be. The salt water had made me ill, so
I slowed down and couldn’t eat or drink much. But I made the bike cut-off –
just! On the run, the spectators were uplifting and with 2km to go I picked up
the pace and finished with a smile. I was very privileged to have a fantastic
team to train with and a great coach to advise and reassure me. I will be back
next year. Thanks Modern Athlete!



Swim: 49:18 (DNF)

I woke up
on race morning to whatever nerves I didn’t have the night before! Saying good
bye to Johan, the tears started. The swim was amazing and before I knew it, my
feet could touch the sand again. But by the 20km mark on the bike I had stomach
cramps, and I think I may have swallowed too much sea water. When I got to
halfway it took all my willpower to decide that my health was more important,
but I will be back next year to finish what I started.



Swim: 53:20 (DNF)

morning was a mixture of excitement and fear. The sea swim turned out not so
bad, and once my feet felt the shore, I was ready for action. I started my bike
ride slowly, gradually building up the pace. Unfortunately, I had a problem
with the bike and ended up missing the cut-off by two minutes! The overall
experience was awesome and East London definitely
has not seen the last of me! To the DARE TO TRI family, you made the experience
so much more than I could ever have hoped for. To Derick and Michelle, a
special thank you for a life-changing experience!



Swim: 37:56 Bike: 3:02 Run: 2:26 TOTAL: 6:24

I got
nervous when the National Anthem played, but the swim was great – I started
almost at the back, but passed so many swimmers. (Thanks, Georgie!) I held back
a bit on the bike to ensure that I saved my legs for the run. As I had battled
with ITB and my longest training run was 12km, I was concerned that I would
struggle on the run. I started slowly but managed to settle into a rhythm,
running from water point to water point. The crowds were amazing and the last
5km it was as if the finish line was calling me.


A sense of
relief and sadness came over me as I ran over the finish line; relief that I
had managed to finish, but sadness that our journey had come to an end. The
full distance is waiting for me in April! Thank you to Modern Athlete, you made sure that I have memories and friends that
I would never have had otherwise.



A final
word from the coach, who also took on the challenge.



It was an
absolute privilege to share the training and race with the DARE TO TRI team,
who all passed with flying colours – even those that could not finish! ALL nine
starters made it through a 1.9km sea swim and that alone is a fantastic

Andile: You showed courage beyond words on the swim – you
WILL finish a 70.3 in the future.

Mach?: You have a lot a potential, and were so close on
the bike cut-off that a finish easily awaits you next year.

Helena: I was worried about your swim, but well done, and with regular riding you
will finish easily next year.

Christelle: I know you have the determination that will get you
that medal next year.

Neil: You are truly an IRONMAN! I hope
this inspires you to continue with the sport.

Kerryn: Your determination on the run shows you never give
up, and your smile in the last kay was terrific!

Sarah-jane: What an awesome run. A really great overall
performance backed up by consistent training.

Boris: The Joker of the pack proved that cyclists can
learn to run and swim. Top performance!

Johan: With limited running your swimming and cycling saw
you through. A full Ironman awaits!


Keep an eye
on Modern Athlete for more exciting
projects leading up to Ironman 70.3 in 2013!