Dis-Embark party and awards evening for half ironman athletes…

Tonight we celebrated the Atlantic Seaboard Embark athletes awards evening. Next Saturday 8th Feb is the Northen Suburbs evening.

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

Good evening triathletes,

Standing here now I realize that I am not a liar. 6 months ago on August the 2nd, we had our orientation evening for the 70.3 group training. I told you guys that evening to take a look around as these are your new friends! And now 6 months down the line we all sit together as triathletes, ironman finishers, and most importantly 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. We are here to award top achievers, finishers and improvers. And of course tonight we discipline those that did really stupid things.

Lets go back a bit to January last year when the Beginners Tri program began. As you all know this group that starts with me there is complete beginners.  And I mean complete beginners. In fact so much beginners that on our first ride Ester stopped me about 200m from where we had begun the ride and holding her neck she said it stings in her neck when she pedals. This seemed quite serious to me, so we got off, stretched a bit and restarted. Again she complained about the stinging in the neck but carried on riding and said she will get used to the pain. About 40 mins later Ester rode past me while I was helping another beginner. I noticed that the straps on her helmet were flapping in the wind and whacking the side of her neck, and this was what was causing the stinging in the neck!!

So we all learn triathlon together for 4 months, acquiring the skills, equipment and confidence, and then complete a duathlon and a triathlon. Then in Aug they move onto the 70.3 program and join all the new Embark athletes with the goal of completing the half iron in 6 months’ time.

The last 6 months has been about training, running, swimming, biking, bricking, transition and that tri related malarkey. On Sunday we put everything down on the table and we raced. And now we know who the fastest triathlete is. Preceding the Embark training, the bars and pubs did a much better trade and I have had a few phone calls threatening me about removing the locals like Dan, Darren, Craig, Bryan, meike and Claire. So I would like to kick off the proceeding tonight in an attempt to find the fastest drinker! Please come to the front you 6 and let’s see who the fastest drinker is!!


While we are on drinking the first individual fine goes to Mike. In fact, I think the first and second fine will be drank by Mike. He arrived at a canal swim almost directly from being out on a party binge. I could see he was not fresh, with blod shot eyes, smelling like alcohol and playing the Macarena from his Jag. He fumbled his through the sign in process and at this point I went over to tell mike that he was not allowed to swim in this state. As I walked over to him, I noticed he had snapped his goggles in half. I didn’t even have a chance to say anything before Mike had whipped the goggles of my head, told me that his are broken, and that he would see me later! He then ran and drived into the canal and recorded one of the fasted 1600m laps!! He still to this day doesn’t remember that morning!! On a more positive side, Mike has been a huge help to me this year both from a business point of view and a friend. Mike is generous with not only his time and knowledge but also his money. In a time of need, Mike donated R20 000 to the ATC development squad so that we could keep the project floating until we found another sponsor. (which we have done now!). Thanks Mike.




Best Performance, Least Attendance


Derek and Michael

Alex Royal

Lizanne VanVuuren

Jeleze Hatting


Winner: Derek and Michael







Most Improved Swimmer


Ester Patients

Chantel Rall

Angela Jamieson

Craig Jacobs

Allen Jaffe


Winner Esther Patience (before starting with Embark, Ester would come down to the canal swims on a Friday morning, EVERY Friday morning and watch. Every Friday morning she would come and tell me that she is going to do the 70.3 half ironman and finish the swim).






Most Improved Cyclist

Matt Knight

Nicola Van Wyk

Lara Resnick

Lindsay Dibs

Cindy Louw

Megan Baker

Matthys Lourens

Stacey Rekbok


Lara Resnick (lara has fallen 23 times off her bike, the average person falls off just twice in their LIFES! Thanks to Lara, 12 and a half Embarkers will never fall off their bikes).







Most Improved Runner
Arnaud Blanchet

Brian Leary

Amir Shroufi

Mieke Kriel

Maria Silverman

Alexa Pearce


Arnaud Blanchet








Most improved overall (this is a very tough category to try to judge on, but the nominees below all know how to bribe)

Gino Blanco

Bianca Caldwell

Gavin Bell

Karen Louw

Liesl Hirst

Craig White

Justine Lees

Craig White

Justin Isaacs


Gino Blanco, improving his time by 58:41 from last year!







Special Mention in the ‘Great to have around’ :

Johan Bosman (always willing to lend a hand, be the butt of the jokes for my benefit!)

Attie and Candice (always cheerful, friendly, welcoming and caring friends)

Joe Pieterse (my reliable right hand man, always waiting in the wings, uncanny ability to predict when things might go wrong and prevent it)

Gert Wilkins aka Wickers (all the analysis and data is always supplied by Gert, also always around to help and an Embarker for life!)


Double Century Cycle Race

In November this year Embark entered its first team for the Double Century. It’s a 202kms team ride. Most teams don’t finish with a full team and don’t look after the team members. Embark started and finished with 12 team members. Everyone helped, motivated, and played a part in the team being awarded the Charles Milner Medals. (Blue decorative medals for team work). Please come and collect your medals: hieni, joe, justin isaacs, maria, mike, hilda, Darren, dan, phil, pete, Matthys.



Who wants another fine?

How about a fine for double guessing the coach?? And this award goes to Ray Resnick (left of the photo). I say that if you make the bike cut off at 70.3, then providing you can run just 5kms of the half marathon you will finish. Ray said bull sh*t and put his money where his mouth is and WALKED the entire run to prove me wrong. Now he must get a fine for walking the whole thing!! And he can nominate someone to have a shot for proving to the coach that you can in fact Walk the ENTIRE run leg and still finish and get the medal.!!! Jokes a side, Ray’s intension was never to run and trained specifically to complete the race without having to run. Ray has no cartilage in his knees and cannot run in fear of self-combustion. He was advised by 2 surgeons not to do the half ironman! Congrats to Ray for not listening to the doctors!





Dude wheres my bike??

Craig for losing his bike at Clan William, and then finding it the next morning in the party tent!










Warren ‘all roads lead to’ Roman

Asking me how long the race is half way through the race!









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.

Dave, as he puts it, the Tri Gods are not on his side, after falling just before Miami 70.3 and fracturing his collar bone, then just before IMSA 70.3 he was going down a super tube and missed the pool at the bottom and fractured his foot. I don’t remember foofy slide being on the program, just saying!! Dave will be going on to IMSA in April and we wish him the best of luck.

Linsday Dibs the article in the 70.3 mag highlights your achievement from this Sunday. I hope you don’t have the same doctors as Ray, as it seems you guys just don’t like listening to the doctors!! Lindsay has been to the other side! And I am not talking about Noordehoek! Linsday was resuscitated 8 times after giving birth, she was dead for 8 minutes. She says in that time that she was on the other she saw God, he was on a Wilier time trial bike with a tt helmet and asked Linsday to come back later as he was doing a brick! Linds you have been a true shining light and I thank you for your hard work and determination. Flat line to finish line!

Esther Patience:  To say that you have inspired a 1000 people would probably be the truth. I know people who should be embarrassed that they don’t sport. I think because of you the sport of triathlon will prosper, and grow, and reach demographics that are considered untriathalonable. You arrive with your own support crew all the time. You are the most popular athlete on the program and I am glad I have been able to be a part of your journey. Ester, you might not have got the medal, but finishing the swim was a monumental feat. Just missing the cut off for the bike was heart breaking as we all knew you would finish the race if you made the bike. Ask Ray!

Stace: your gritty strong minded and never give up attitude has won your medal and settles a score with the 70.3 IMSA. Well done for doing this!!

Sofie –You might in fact be the first para athlete to complete the IMSA? I am not sure, but huge congrats to you for heading back a second time and claiming your medal!! Onward and upwards to the Rio Olympics in 2016! We are backing you all the way!

Dual Winners:

Esther and Lindsay







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

Elrika Calitz

Attie Van Wyk

Alexa Pearce

Dawn Clark

Mieke Kriel

Winner: Dawn Clark (dawn placed 3rd in the 50-54 age group and gets on the podium)











The New Balance Award (award for balancing social life and training)

Justin Willard (got engaged, still partied hard and trained harder, broke 6h!!)

Brian and Craig: sport 1 alcohol 0

Dan and Darrin: sport 1 alcohol 1

Bianca and Justine: sport 1 alcohol 2

Winner: Bianca and Justine (In picture is Justine and Gert, that  is definitely not Bianca on the right)









The ‘Jacus Engelbrecht Award’ for beating the coach! (this is the award for the athlete that beats the coach) This year the coach stopped to rescue a kitten that was bean mauled by a wild horse on the side of the N2 and lots about 30 mins on the bike. Then on the run a dog escaped from a house on bunkers hill and started to attack an old lady with her shopping. The coach again wrestled the dog off the old lady and then threw the dog back over the wall and then helped carry the shopping back to the house and packed it away. The coach hence lost 54mins on the run.

This years athletes to beat the coach are:

Giancarlo Lanfranchi (not in picture)

Attie Van Wijk (far left)

Craig White (second on left)

Darrin Hofmeyr (far right)




Embark Dark Horse (This award goes to the athletes that out shone themselves on race day)

Craig White: Quiet and unassuming, craig diligently got on with the program, slowly progressing each week until BOOM; a 5:43 and a top swim time!
Justin Hollis: Like a stealth copy cat he watched Craig and progressed at the same rate, knocking 50mins of his last years race time
Elrika Calitz: a doctor and often working long 36hour shifts and has to miss sessions or make them up, or just do them on limited sleep! When you think you are tired just spare a thought for our doctors!!

Winner: Craig White









Before we move to the final category I would like to just mention an athlete that joined Embark this year. This guy is not new to sport after winning many gold medals at the Olympics over 12 years.

You all know who I am talking about! This champion is Malcom Pringle, a blitz vinige track runner, and now South African Tri 3 Para champion. He represented SA at the world champs in London in September and will be going to Rio Olympics in 2016 under the guidance of embark. You have inspired us all,  You have inspired us all,  you outlook on life is one that we should all adopt! Keep roaring champion!!





Top Embark Achiever Female

Elrika Calitz, 5h52:48 taking 29:45 seconds off last years time!








Top Embark Achiever

Attie Van Wyjk : 5:30:27

Congrats Attie!!!











Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a comment

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *