The 70.3 Half Ironman athletes have Dis-Embarked!

This is STeve’s speech for the Dis-Embark awards:

Good evening triathletes, athletes, swimmers, runners, bikers, multisporters, Embarkers, but most importantly good evening FRIENDS!
Tonight we are here to celebrate the successful journey that you have taken with Embark over the last 6 months. Tonight we are here to acknowledge some incredible and unbelievable under takings by people that weren’t athletes 6 months ago. Tonight we are here to award great achievement and grand attainment. And tonight we are here to discipline those that did really stupid things.
I have many great moments from my 6 months with you, but one that definitely stands out was when Darren came to me after the Slanghoek triathlon. He said to me that he is not wearing his Embark kit any more. I asked why? He told me because some overweight woman, (that had subsequently beaten Darren at the race), had come over to him after the race because she recognised the beginner Embark kit, and patronisingly said how proud she was of him for taken up the challenge of doing triathlon at his age.
Seeming though I have dictated the last 6 months, I thought it be only suiting that I continue to dictate. So to kick off proceedings I would like to invite Flappy Flappy to join me at the front for a shooter.  Now for those of you that were at that Clifton 4th swim, 10 degrees,  that’s cold, but no one complained. We knew, if the water was cold on race day we needed to be prepared. So we set off, all of us including flappy flappy. But then about 100m into the swim, I noticed a figure standing in the waves, shaking, epileptic like. It looked like Jason, and I quickly bought to mind his PARQ and waiver form and recalled no epilepsy. Could parkingsons dieses be bought on by cold water and neoprene? Was he being shocked by an electric eel?  I changed direction fast and swam quickly to jason. Jason, Jason I shouted, are you ok? Its COLD he said, looking bedraggled and flapping his arms and hands pointing at the cold water! Without hesitation he made a beeline for his kit bag and we didn’t see jason for about 4 months. So while Jason is up here getting a fine, I would also like to acknowledge natural talent, and award Jason with one of the annual Embark awards of Best Performance, Least Attendance. Now Jason is in finance and I will tell a quick story that might make you want to invest some money with Jase:
Just before the group started in August last year, I got an email from a girl called Hannah Priest. She was enquiring about the Embark program and was slightly concerned about the cost. After lots of backwarding and forwading she decided to not do Embark but rather use that money to roll around on the floor to something called Pilates.  I gave her a brief break down of R500 divided by 5 sessions a week times 4 weeks a month and came to a figure of around R32 per session, I told her one 1h Pilates lesson is R350. So Hannah being a numbers savy person signed up! But back to Jason. Jason only came to 4 sessions, so his R3000 over those 6 months divided by 4 sessions, if my maths is correct that’s R750/session! But Jason obviously has the knack of choosing the right investment, as he chose the right sessions to come to! He finished with a 6h28, narrowly missing out on a top 20% finish! So Jason please come forward to collect one of the main evenings awards:
Best Performance, Least Attendance.
Winner Jason Sive

About 3 months into the program Adam and I were running the warm up together around the track.  He told me that his wife cornered him last night and said to him: ‘Adam, you are becoming a half Ironman’. Adam was chuffed with this and started to grin. ‘Don’t GRIN’,  She blurttered out:  ‘ You are becoming  a QUARTER FATHER!
During that same week, I met Darren’s wife Heidi at Giovanis. I said. ‘Its lovely to meet you!’ . She looked at me. No I lie. She looked through me. No I lie, she didn’t even look at me. No I lie, she had to look at me in order to aim her first punch to my face. It’s the only time that I was glad Darren was around. He managed to hold her back, screaming and shouting, ‘You’re the guy stealing all my children time from their father!’
I decided not to meet Neil’s wife.
I would like to thank Neil for arranging the venue tonight, and out of appreciation we won’t be making him drink a shot unless he wants to? Thanks Neil for an incredible view and an amazing venue, and thanks for your generosity throughout the last 6 months.

Ok how about a fine??? Mellissa Tsalicoglou: After training for 6 months for Iron man 70.3 and after completing the race, enquired as to why it is called 70.3! Chanel De Bruyn booking her Ironman accommodation in PE instead of EL, Jeff’s disappearing act on our first cannel swim following the ATC guys instead of to the the next bridge and back. Hayley thinking her tyres were solid and didn’t need any air???
Ok lets get back to the main awards now:
Most Improved Swim
Leonie. From not being able to swim a full 25m length, ran the entire first TT we ever did in the pool, took a lot of flak from me and the big stick!  And then completing the roughest triathlon swim at 70.3
Lauren Dean joining the embark program in jan last year, has slowly dug away at the swimming and after having the most horrible experience at Blou Berg, continued and finished 70.3 with easy.
Saar Bentouim,( after wasting almost 3 months deciding and toying with the predicament of tubbies vs clinchers. ) worked hard on his swim, and surprised a lot of Embarkers at how quickly he came out the sea in Buffalo Bay

Winner Leonie

Most Improved Bike
Denise Yazar
Michelle Adler
Gordon Bishop
Megan Meredith
Melissa T

Winner Denise Yazar


Most Improved Run
Catlin Wolstenholme
JB Calitz changing his form from sloth like running to a Kenyan marathon runner
Adam Markus, for going to bed early on week nights (unlike darren and Neil) and getting up early in the morning to do the long runs. This showed on race day as he smashed Darren by 4 mins!
Tiernan Orouke: I asked Tiernan what his running was like when he was young? He said:

Winner Tiernan  Orouke


Most improved overall
Mike North, tattooed, hairy legs, riding in takkies, just never looking the part for 5 months, then he suddenly found a vile of EPO and suddenly made a breakthrough that saw him finishing 4th overall in Embark.  An amazing result Mike, well done!
Dave – From Inge: his amazing and consistent attitude of giving his all has been so inspirational. I don’t think i ever heard him say anything negative about the weather, how he was feeling, the amount of training or balancing everything.
Ivonne Meyer, “I just joined Embark to meet a sporty guy!” I don’t even like triathlon, I don’t actually want to do 70.3. I just want to drink and be social! Well Ivonne, you have surpassd your objectives, met a sporty guy and you are an IRONMAN!!!
Maria Silverman, You might have not finished the race on the day, but we all know you could do it twice on any normal day. The way you have blossomed over the 6 months, gained in confidence, become a really smiley and positive person has definitely been another highlight of the 2012/2013 Embark group.

Winner Mike North
Great to have around:
Trevor, Heidi, Channel DB
Bravery Award – this award doesn’t go to the general sporty population, it goes to those that have become athletes through sheer dedication, commitment and perseverance.

Brent Stein: Against all medical recommendation, he manned up and he got the medal!  He aptly named the canal: ‘Shreks Swamp’ after swimming there for the first time and contracted an outer ear infection and pink eye. Walking back from the doctors rooms to his car he got ITB, Achilles tendinitis and a mild hypothermia. By the time he had driven home, he had full blown Ibola, was paralysed from the waist down and had leprosy. The paramedics on the scene said he was lucky not to have contracted the Bubonic plague. Brent said, ‘There’s always Ironman 2014’. Obviously just joking about that,  In reality Brent had a ‘not so straight forward’ sinus operation just 2 months before half IM, and really did get bronchitis preceding the op. He was advised that if he raced , it must be slow. Brent swallowed his pride, raced at a safe pace and achieved his goal of the finish line at 70.3!

Dave, We need to speak a lot about dave, but this quick insert from his bio as he started the training with Embark in Aug:  I wasn’t as fast as the others, but I always covered every inch, no matter how long it took me. Everyone was impressed with my dedication. Sceptical looks turned into appreciative ones. Everyone gave words of encouragement. What I lacked in speed, I made up for with guts, determination and sheer hard work.
Channel Rossouw , Doctor Rossouw, the doctor that stitched up Sofie at Vincent Pilates Hospital after she rode into the back of a stationary truck. Doctor Rossouw, the doctor that would come directly from a 24h shift in ICU to a 4h bike and 10km run. Doctor Rossouw, the first doctor on hand to control the situation at Jail Break when a fellow Embarker was having a seizure and mild heart attack. Your calmness and composure is commendable, and shone through on 20th Jan when you nailed the 70.3 and got your medal.

Sofie –From Stace:  despite being new to certain aspects of the sport (which are terrifying to a beginner) Sofie always rocked up, smiling and ready to go. No matter the scrapes, bruises, rain and conditions she was there and encouraging everyone else along the way. To get up every day to train and compete in the hardest half ironman in the world puts a hell of a lot of able body people to shame. Soff, that medal is sooooo yours next year!

Leonie – What were you thinking? You couldn’t swim?? Seriously… you couldn’t swim! I require a certain level of ability to join the program…. But; you installed a belief in me that you could and WOULD do it. I left you to your devises and viola, you smashed the swim at 70.3 and surprised a heap of people including me! You have gained huge respect in the triathlon community. We are all rooting for you next year.

Next Best Thing Award – This Award goes to the up and coming flair, the now discovered talent though the embark program

Ryan Jossel – I put a lot of pressure on you Ryan to do well, I have a belief in your overall ability and I know in the next couple of years we will see you in age group  provincial colours, if not SA colours.

Thamar Clark, Thought she would just ride across Africa for 6 months before joining the Embark program, but when she joined Embark, boy did she ruffle some feathers! Thamar there is lots of talent there, not just in triathlon but in anything you put your mind to.

Elrika Calitz – You have continually improved week on week.  I will certainly back you to make age group provincial team next year! Keep on improving!

Justin Roome – Naturally talented, a lightning fast run, vast improvement on the bike, all we need next year is to see your name under the most improved swimmer! Then you will no doubt be top of the pecking order at Embark.

Hiedi Gjerstad –  Another naturally talented athlete, looks great in any discipline, can ride her bike with no hands, has the best running form out of all the athletes, and her first 70.3 finishes just 2 mins behind the overall female winner.

Winner: Ryan Jossel
The New Balance Award (award for balancing social life and training)
Mieke, has definitely drank more alcohol than miles she covered in the last 6 months, but this a side:  finishes 70.3 in 6h34
Channel DB: 1l brandy, 2l coke, 3l ford! You balanced the training and social to perfection!
Geno: Geno…..Geno…..Geno….. If Embark starts a new program that helps gets tea total’ers into alcohol, I will definitely be giving you a call. Congrats on your 70.3 achievement
Ilan Kaplan: outdrank Meike on 2 occasions!

Winner: Geno Blanco
The Not Quite ‘Jacus Engelbrecht Award’ Heidi “you are not finished the 70.3 race yet award” She ran through the finishing line tunnel on her way to complete her first lap of the run loop – the announcer thought she was an undiscovered champion – this until she screamed at Paul K for getting in her way of completing her second lap Next year Hiedi, you can challenge the coach!

Winner: Heidi

Embark Dark Horse
Mike North – if you read his blog you would swear he was in for a 8 hour 70.3 and he is rather under the radar – but come race day he blows us all away!
Dyanne Cruickshank, a second time Embarker, always at training, also always under the radar sniffing at the tops spots.
Justin Isaacs, also a great candidate for most improved, Justin was at most training sessions just getting on with business. He improvement was very noticeable as abeginner and complete 70.3 in sub 6h30!

Winner: Justin Isaacs

Top Embark Achiever Female
Faultless in looks, build  and performance Hilda Hopking finishes up in the top 10 of the Embark athletes in a time of 6h10. She was advised by the doctors not to race as she has a chest infection! We look forward to seeing what you can do when you are 100% healthy!
Top Embark Achiever Male
Giancarlo Lanfranchi, although joining the program late, this didn’t stop his overall impressive performance on the day. Clocking the 44th fastest swim time of the day, (4th in his category) cycling bang on 3hs and then running just over 2h. This gave him an overall time 5h41, and the converted title of Top Embark Achiever. The most significant thing here is that the Town Side Embark guys now hold the trophy over the Northern Suburbs group!! Thanks and well done Giancarlo.

From Inge: Stace – She was instrumental in not only setting peoples expectations for 70.3 and keeping them sane – but her determination and amazing attitude kept us all going. She also cheers louder than everyone else on race day for every Embarker and flys the flag really high. She also reminds us all when all we really need is some HTFU.

Thanks for amazing 2012/3013 training group!


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