We 'Are an Ironman' - Doing it together

Our experience with Embark leading up to the race was fantastic. Joining in 2022, we found a supportive community of fellow triathlon enthusiasts. After completing our first 70.3 in March 2023, we were inspired to tackle the full Ironman in April 2024. Meeting the condition of finishing the Cape Town Marathon and the Double Century cycle race, we committed to our Ironman training block. The training was intense, demanding our dedication at every session. Fortunately, we had the camaraderie of our Ironman crew, a group of 11 determined individuals who shared in our journey, providing both laughter and support during the long hours of training rides, runs, and swims. Training for an Ironman requires significant time commitment, often totaling 17-20 hours per week. Training alongside your spouse adds another layer of shared experience, from the highs and lows of preparation to the exhilaration of race day. Despite the challenges, having a supportive training group made the journey more manageable. When training sessions start at 6 am and finish at 4 pm on Saturdays, having a strong support network becomes essential.


The start of the race was a rollercoaster of emotions. Among the crowd, our nerves were on edge, but so was our excitement. Guided by Coach Steve and the rigorous training program, we felt ready as we waited for the cannon to signal the start. Heading down to the start line on race morning was surreal. The air was filled with an incredible energy as we stood on the beach singing the national anthem with our fellow athletes wondering what we had gotten ourselves into.

The swim was a true test of endurance, with the relentless swell posing a formidable challenge. Despite my confidence in swimming, the bobbing waves and occasional smack in the face made sighting difficult. Anree, on the other hand, faced even greater obstacles, considering swimming to be his weakest discipline. Nevertheless, reaching the final stretch of the 3.8km swim brought a sense of relief. Leading up to the race, our main concern was whether the full swim would be possible. We were relieved when it wasn't canceled, even though the conditions were incredibly tough. Witnessing some swimmers struggle to reach even the first turning buoy highlighted the intensity of the challenge. The following 3.8km felt like navigating through a turbulent washing machine. Yet, amidst the struggle, we reminded ourselves: it's Ironman, it's meant to be tough.

The cycle leg was a battle against the elements, especially with Port Elizabeth living up to its reputation as the Windy City. The initial speed on the outbound journey only served to foreshadow the challenges awaiting us on the return. The relentless headwind, persisting for almost 50km, made every pedal stroke a struggle. And to think, we had to endure this ordeal all over again for the second loop. Anree passed me at the 74km mark during the first loop, and we shared a laugh about the daunting headwind. Despite my early lead from the swim, I anticipated his eventual overtake during the cycle. When he finally caught up, it was a welcome sight, providing a brief respite from the grueling conditions. Sharing moments and insights with him during the race added another layer of camaraderie to our journey as a couple. As we finally reached the end of the 180km cycle, there was a collective sense of relief, knowing we had conquered the wind and could move on to the next stage of the race.

Anree had a great run. As for both of us, the final 10km of the marathon proved to be the ultimate test, leading us deep into the 'pain cave.' After already enduring over 12 hours of physical and mental exertion, summoning the strength to push through those last kilometers required an extraordinary amount of grit. Yet, amidst the fatigue and exhaustion, the unwavering support from the Port Elizabeth crowds served as a beacon of encouragement. Whether it was fellow Embarkees, family members, or complete strangers, their cheers echoed through the streets, providing much-needed motivation during those darkest hours. It's a memory that I'll forever hold dear, a testament to the power of community and camaraderie in the face of adversity.


YOU ARE AN IRONMAN! The words both Anree and I had been dreaming about hearing since making the commitment to complete the Ironman. Ringing the first timers bell and hearing the announcer proclaim you are indeed an Ironman is something indescribable. The hours of hard work and sacrifices we made were so worth it running down the red carpet to the finish line. We are immensely grateful to Coach Steve for guiding us during the journey and ensuring we were prepared for the big day. I can absolutely say that besides the final 10km of the marathon, which was super tough, I felt incredibly prepared for each of the three disciplines. Having the Embark community throughout the training journey and on the big day was testament to the culture the Embark team embodies. A question we have both been asked repeatedly after Ironman: “would you do it again?” and our answer is absolutely! 


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