Legend:-There are several legends out there walking incognito in our midst. Every day folk with normal lives. And yet, underneath it all, there burns a fury and passion that drives them to go beyond the norm and enter that 0.1%. No alarm clock in the world can be a catalyst to change your life. Attitude (and those million little steps that you make daily towards your objective) is everything.
1. a nonhistorical or unverifiable story handed down by tradition from earlier times and popularly accepted as historical.
2. the body of stories of this kind, esp. as they relate to a particular people, group, or clan: the winning of the West in American legend.
3. uber-dude or uber-dudette
Which leads me to this little country at the tip of Africa, you guessed it, South Africa. I know for some of you non-Saffers out there, having a direction next to a continent is more of a compass bearing than a country name, but it's a name nonetheless and the one that's stuck. And as South Africans we are a strange breed. A melting pot of many cultures and languages, with a rugged untamed land that looks like the hide of a rhino and the feathers of a peacock. And when it comes to sport, we do not do things in half measures. We have an ultra distance marathon (double the marathon distance) which is our country's most popular and recognised marathon. And yet we don't even put the word "ultra" in front of the Comrades when we mention it. How utterly lovely and simultaneously banal.
And then we have the South African Ironman, SA's most popular triathlon. And we have an array of killer triathletes. Not your usual professional athletes, just guys who work hard, train hard and live hard. Aside from my training partners and good mates, there are two athletes in particular that stand out in the public domain. Let me introduce you to them:
The guy on the left is Johan Stemmet. His smile may be deceiving as he is one motivated dude. Whereas the chap on the right has a killer tattoo, Johan's killer quads make him one of SA's best cyclists, and triathletes. I am thankful that he is going up the foodchain to the 40 year age group so he can give us weaker youngsters a shot at the Kona title he picked up for himself in this year's IMSA. Click on his name to read about his Kona exploits where that picture was taken. Great advice for anyone who wants to know what it takes. And he does this while working a tough job and raising a family. Hats off JS!
And then there's the killer youngster who ought to be a pro, but isn't:- Raoul De Jongh .
And, as it happens, tomorrow Thursday November 12th is his birthday and he turns 30. This means that there will be lots of 20-something age groupers popping a bottle of champagne as he rockets out of their age group, with a sombre bunch of 30-34 year olds bracing themselves for the shockwaves of his arrival.
Happy Birthday Urban Ninja! Remember I look good in Puma Shoes and Compressions socks ;o)
And then, there is me. I have been a legend in my own mind for far longer than I can remember putting the "oh" into Ego and the "i" into Ironman. I feel I represent the everyman, the GI Joe Bloggs, the average guy who could have been a contender if he just woke up to himself. One day, I too, will transcend the Ironman and have a meeting with my potential.
Ironman South Africa 2010 training starts on Monday where I will be given a chance to rise above mediocre (where I have been resident for many years now). But first there is a matter of a bike ride that has to be done this Sunday. This is big stuff, and I have pierced my teet to commemorate the occasion.
Onwards and upwards,