Bo(u)ld Enough

Iron Couple


At the recent Spec-Savers
Ironman 70.3 South Africa in Buffalo City in January, Kent and Claire Horner of
Cape Town celebrated another great double, coming home as first South African
finishers in the men’s and women’s pro fields after finishing overall fifth and
fourth respectively. They are building quite a collection of ‘doubles,’ having also
both been crowned SA Long Distance Triathlon Champs in 2009 and 2011.


Their success in the local
70.3 also extends their growing list of top 10 results in various 70.3 events around
the world in the last few years. Now their goal is to get to the 70.3 World
Champs in Las Vegas later this year.
“You need to do at least six
international 70.3 races in a year, because your best six results count,” says
Claire. “We both qualified in 2009, but didn’t have the funding to go that year,
so this year we’re working towards getting there.”



Kent (30) and Claire (29) have been married since May
2009. They met through triathlon, but it was not love at first site, says
Claire. “I first saw Kent at an Energade Series event and he had this chequerboard
hair colouring… I thought, ‘What a freak!’ Then he moved to Stellenbosch and we
used to train together. One day a big group was out riding and I crashed going
over a railway. Kent stayed with me and pushed me up the rest of the passes.”
Kent smiles mischievously and adds, “I had to push you because you were tired,”
prompting an immediate retort from Claire: “I was concussed!”


So what is it like being married to an elite
triathlete? “It’s impossible!” says Claire. “The one is always more tired than
the other. It’s a race to see who doesn’t have to cook at night. But we
wouldn’t have it any other way.” Kent agrees, saying, “We’re lucky to spend all
the time together training. We encourage each other, and it makes it easier to
go train.”



The Horners are both
aiming to do well at the full Ironman SA in April, hoping to build on their
recent success in the PE event – last year they both finished 11th overall,
coming home second SA man and first SA woman. They also hope not to have a
repeat of previous bad luck and suffering in the event…


“It was terrible watching
Claire do her first one in 2009, because
everything possible went wrong, from
technical to nutrition to illness and cramps. I told her I would never watch
her do it again, and would only go with if I was racing it myself,” says Kent.
“After my first one, I immediately said I wouldn’t do it again, but on the
drive home I had already decided to try again. You don’t master the Ironman in
your first race, so I’m chipping away at it.”



Kent works for Cycle Lab as well as helping full-time
coach Claire run My Training Day, their web-based triathlon coaching service,
which has grown into a very successful operation. “We approach things very
differently – sometimes there are calculators thrown across the room – but like
any marriage, it’s a team, and we do pretty well together,” says Claire.


Kent adds, “When we were juniors, we had a constant
thirst for knowledge and guidance, but could only get it from fellow athletes.
That inspired us to share our knowledge.” Claire picks up the story here: “We
started in 2006 with online coaching, because we wanted the freedom to coach
from anywhere. Then we started training sessions and it grew from there. We’re
so inspired by our athletes – half the reason we get through Ironman is
training with and then competing alongside them.”



Ironman Record

South Africa:
2009 – 5th, 2010 – 4th, 2012 –

South Africa:
2010 – 11th, 2011 – 11th

2010: 70.3
Singapore – 4th, 70.3 Syracuse (USA) – 6th, 70.3 Augusta
(USA) – 9th

2011: 70.3
Ireland – 4th


Ironman Record

South Africa:
2008 – 6th,
2009 – 3rd, 2