Our Dis-Embark awards for our 70.3 athletes

IMG_2237At the end of the Ironman 70.3 East London program, we celebrate with an awards evening to acknowledge the athletes for all their hard work. This is how the evening went for the Atlantic Seaboard group with their coach, STeve Attwell

Every year, just after the 70.3 East London I sit down at my desk and reflect on the past 12 months in preparation of preparing the Dis-Embark speech . I look back, meeting you all for the first time, and, at the metamorphosis of the idea of ‘I want to be a triathlete’ to the now, ‘I am a triathlete’! And not just a triathlete, you guys and girls have a medal belonging to the 2nd toughest IRONMAN 70.3 in the brand. This year the winner of the pro ladies race, Jody Swallow said its so hard, its actually not a half IRONMAN it’s a three quarter man! The winner of the pro mens race, Matt Troutman said, ‘Shoh!, there were a lot of Embarkers out there! hashtag: Red&blackarmy’!

The most heart-warming thing for me is the confidence that it brings out in the athletes. The Embark athletes are now able to tackle the Argus, the 2 Oceans, the Clifton mile, and now, Russel is now able to stand confidently on the kitchen chair and look his brother straight in the eyes and say, Bro- I am an IRONMAN! Russel, you are short, but it’s been great having you on the program and thanks for bringing such gees to the group! I hope you continue to enjoy the girl you met of the program, but if not there are 37 others saying your 5 foot 1 good looks, charm and trust fund will be good for them too!

I am doing the special mentions in height order tonight, and next, I would like to thank Michael Terespolsky. Michael is the owner of Col Chacchio Pizzeria (*cough* in the Foreshore, Camps Bay, Kalk Bay, Big Bay, Knynsa, Hermanus Stellenbosch and Westlake.. for more info on nationwide branches find them on line at www.colcacchio.co.za). Thanks Michael, for arranging tonight’s delicious looking guilt free carbs and salads. And in true Embark style you took special consideration for everyone’s taste, not just bringing one big plate of BACON! That stuff just doesn’t give you WINGS-MAN… On top of this Michael; I would like to thank you for always being so positive about Embark and always reassuring me that Embark is on the right track, and promoting Embark so confidently. Whether we were chatting on a long run, or a coffee ride, or at your new stylish restaurant, FIRST BASE, at the Paddocks in Milnerton, a brilliant new concept where you creatively create your own dazzling pizza and have it perfectly cooked in front of you in an original wood fire pizza oven, simultaneously sipping sensational top durbanville wine route wines and award winning craft beers. FIRST BASE, pizza perfect; your way! Thanks Michael!

IMG_2232Every year, I somehow, through luck or divine intervention, have an athlete that takes a vested interest in Embark. When I say athlete, I mean businessman, and when I say businessman, i mean a street smart league of education, experience and acumen. An interest, that if equated to financial terms Embark could never afford. 2015 was a tough year for Embark, after 3 years of growth we lost our Northern Suburbs branch and had to completely rebuild it from scratch, simultaneously competing with the former coach and branch under their newly established name.  Brad, I would like to thank you for all the guidance you gave to me over the year. The higher road, the focus on the best practice, integrity and essentially to keep doing what Embark does best. So I did, and right now, as I stand here, we are the best. Bottom line. We have 7 branches, 11 coaches and a family of triathletes. (Athletes go wild, clapping cheering and it gets soo wild that one of the Italian international athletes, Elena Cremasco, climbs up the bar and dives head first into the elated crowd). Thanks Brad

Every year, I somehow, through luck or divine intervention, have an athlete that has excelled at ONE discipline of swim/bike/run and then comes to Embark for triathlon coaching. I generally lean on these sort of sportsmen to add credibility to the program. But this year..shoh! TRAVIS.. what the f…… Riding down Camps Bay Boulevard, sauntering over the speed bump in the tri bars and BAM!! Over the front wheel, on your head, legs splayed like a Thai-sheman, pedestrians stopping traffic like an N2 pile up AND you were CRYING!! I mean, ok just close your legs, BUT CRYING!! OMG… Seriously… Please come up and open the fines bottle and pour yourself a fine, and while you do, I will just let everyone about your pedigree. Professional cyclist, rode internationally for a German Pro team and while I like to take the mickey, you are the best cyclist we have and probably will have on the program and I thank you for taking the time to help those less fortunate, on two wheels, than yourself!


IMG_2240FACE BOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, PINTREST, CAPSULE, WHATYAGO, FARRAWEE, MARBALOO AND CELEPOST… You might not recognise the last few there, but believe me, if they existed, you would be tagged, posted, retweeted, fasteed, scrobed and hydroded. This, my fellow Embarkers is the power of Tammy, Tamsin, tams, pooh bear, haribo.
Because Embarkers, she is the reason your mom knows what you are doing, the reason your sister likes it, and the reason your girlfriend pokes you! Yes triathletes, because of tammy your images get to India in an instant, to Sydney in a second and Nairobi next week. Yes Embarkers, that’s because Tammy also uses the postal system! Tammy, agreeing to let you, as an athlete on the program, do the social media for Embark, has boosted us, promoted us and allowed us to advertise Embark across all modern platforms, and has no doubt increased our following by 10 fold. I appreciate your unguided, natural and instinctive social media effort to keep Embark at the forefront of coached group training. And most of all, I like what you’ve done there.


And now to start the Awards:

IMG_2242Best Performance, Least Attendance.
Mieke and Justin Roome. Justin didn’t have training peaks on his phone so he would rely on Mieke to tell him each day what was install. After 4 weeks of mostly rest days, Justin called me to ask why the program had so much rest! Needless to say I got Justin to download Training Peaks!
Carol and Francois – While most of the Embarkers paid R675/m, coming to an average of 3 sessions per week and hence each session would cost them about R30. You guys came to 8 sessions in total, that’s R506.25/session!! Congrats on both finishing and getting that medal.
Leigh Charlton: you spent so much time overseas, I really hope you were earning Euros! If so, your sessions cost on average 2euros! But well done none the less for a great race!
But our final nomination goes to a man in the 50-54 age group, and thank goodness age and money are on this veterans side, as his 4 training sessions that he came to in 6 months cost him a whopping R1012.50 each!! But, this rich old man completed the race in 5h46: 56! (and biked a 2h56!) Congrats Piet, you are the winner!
Winner: Piet Viljoen (50-54) 5:46:56 38:08, 2h56:57, 2h02:33

Most Improved Swimmer
Marius: The first time he took his flippers off was to do his swim at 70.3, Marius swam 3 times a week in a swim squad to improve his swimming, and had to keep his flippers on most of the time to keep up with the squad. But perseverance prevailed and on race day Marius swam 35:22!
Kris: When she started she could swim 6 lengths, but it took her 6 sessions. She never finished the canal swims in the time required… but practice, practice they say.. Race day she swam 42:40
Cassia: Like Kris you could not swim 6 months ago, not even one length, but through sheer determination and hard work you stood on that start line at 70.3 and attempted the swim. You just missed the cut off, which gutted us all, but just being there has inspired so many others to also attempt triathlon!
Reza: You had little hope of making that swim 6 months ago so I wrote you a poem, Dr Seuss Style:

rezaTriathlon, we know it’s very white,
Another colour? Not quite…
Zameer, Aashiek and Reza Khan,
Its so unlikely, come-on!
Well, try this for now, and perhaps for later
These 3 boys aren’t from the equator,
One had biked and one had swum,
And one had even learned to run,
But none had learned to do all three,
And this my friend, fuelled me with glee.

They joined Embark, and joined the club,
They ditched the cricket and the pub,
They bought the stuff that was required
They focused their minds, they were rewired
They did the bike and they did the run,
They did transition, and they had fun,
Zameer could swim, Aashiek could cycle
Reza Khan could do math like schmeichel
But Reza Khan was not a swimmer,
He looked like granny with a zimmer.

So every week, on a Friday morning,
He joined the club with prior warning,
And swam, and swam and swam and swam,
And swam and swam, like a Chinese clam,
Every week, and this seems sublime,
He doubled his speed and halved his time
And on the day that was the race,
He made the time and the pace,
And they are here, give them a hhand,
Zameer, Aashiek and Reza Khan.

IMG_2243Reza swim time: 57:13
Winner: Shared winner : Kris and Reza






Most Improved Biker
Savanah – I first met her at the ITU WTS Cape Town triathlon information evening, where I was speaking about getting ready for your first triathlon. I met Savanah that night, an attractive 35 year old blonde trapped in the body of a 22 year old. And for those of you that know Savanah, you know what I mean. She’s clever, intelligent, witty, ditzy, social and friendly. But she wasn’t a triathlete, so I took no notice! But the next day I got an email stating she wanted to do 70.3 and how does she start…. And that’s how started, she came to the first session with a bike she lent from Jan Van Riebeck. A bike that has been used to deliver vegetables during the boer war, then passed down to Freek Jouberg, South Africa’s most reliable postman from 1972-1992. Ok, that’s a joke… he wasn’t the most reliable, that was Johan Van Niekerk. Anyways, that’s just history, now Savanah owns a fancy carbon bike and a medal from 70.3 East London.
Paul AKA Scrap: The shark attack survivor! Well that’s what he says the thorax long scares are from! But if truth be told Scrap survived a botched house robbery where he was shot twice in the chest for confronting the attackers with a gold club! He spent a month in ICU and at times it was touch and go on him being here today. But he isn’t JUST here today, he is here today with a medal from the 2nd hardest 70.3 in the world!
Tamsyn – Pooh Bear, in 2014 you trained for 70.3 and unfortunately you didn’t make the bike cut off. You came to the Disembark party and unlike Paul and Savanah, you hadn’t made the bike cut off and you had no medal! You came back last year, trained harder, and now you sit here with your medal and a nomination in this category!
IMG_2245Lara –AKA Admin, I have entered you into the Ripley’s Believe it or Not tv program for the new season. Yes ladies and gentleman, believe it or not, Lara made the bike cut off! Leading up to the race she was so convincing that she knew she wouldn’t make the bike cut off, that I too started to believe it. And on race morning, you cried, and cried, and cried, so much so that Paul Kaye (the IRONMAN commentator) came over to try and settle you. He said you cried so much that you would dehydrate before the race started! Lara got to the turn around point 20 mins behind schedule. Meaning not only would she have to ride the best 45kms of her life, but that she would also have to start to believe in her ability. And she did, she rode so hard that when she got off the bike she had to have a little cry just to calm herself down!! Congats Lara for finishing and getting that medal.
Winner: Lara Browne




Most Improved Runner
Diaan AKA Sniffles has transformed himself completely from pc geek to triathlete. All though he is still a computer nerd, he is now a lekker computer nerd, a half ironman and he recently became a fireman too ladies!! The blue hair is a phase he says! On top of doing the 70.3 training, you also ran a lot more running races and your always improving results were great to see!
Carl, was unable to run because he was stupid a while back and tore his calf in half. He was not really able to run during most of the program and slowly built up from a few meters to about 120m by race day. He would just see how the other 20, 900m went on the day! But you did it, you made it and have the medal to prove it! Run time 2h48:21, that a massive improvement on 120meters!
IMG_2247Elena Cremasco Our international import and one of the top attendance rates for the season. Consistency is key and this was proved on race day, Elena you JUST missed that elusive sub 6 hour mark, it was so close! Congrats on a great season, always improving!
Winner: Sniffles







Most Improved Overall (Last year Darrin Hofmeyr • Pete McEwan,)
IMG_2250Ryan McCarthy – similar to Savanah you also arrived with outdated equipment, but unlike Savanah you arrived in an outdated car too! You were completely out your depths, wide eyed and chaffed to pieces after finishing stone last on your first ride in your baggies! You slowly gathered the right equipment and apparel, and a brand new BMW! You asked questions and used the Embark family to gain the knowledge on route to 70,3. The last 6 months has been challenging on multiple levels for you, something none of the other athletes are having to deal with. You have used this to fuel your drive and I was so happy to see you racing and loving it in East London! We have become friends over the time, a friendship that I know will last a long time! Congrats Ryan!

Savanah – already mentioned above

Paul – already mentioned above
Winner- Ryan McCarthy

Double Century Embark Team: Charles Milner Medals 3 years in a row, its a double medal you get if you finish the race with all 12 team members. Race is 202kms long.
Ed, Japie, Darrin, Dan, Tasch, Pete M, Pete A, Luis, Stew, STeve, Diaan, Colin

Bravery Award (last year Robyn Elford)
IMG_2251Savanah Bowey, I mentioned you earlier, but on top of all that, your work commitment meant you missing loads of training and getting sick and booked off a few times also caused some hiccups! But putting all that aside, you took the HTFU pill and headed to East London to get the medal. And got it you did! Never stop Savanah, as you don’t know who you are inspiring along the way!





Next Best Thing Award (Award for upcoming talent found through the Embark program. Last year: Luis Fernandez)
Murray Middleton, Josh Reinecke, Taschyana Hurter, Elena Cremasco, Denis Major, Travis Wilkins

IMG_2253Winner Tasch







The New Balance Award (award for balancing social life and training)• There is no winner here or a certificate! You all have to some up for a shot!
Marius, Russel, Lloyds, Doran, Luke, Robs, Both Pete’s!










Embark Dark Horse (This award goes to the athletes that out shone themselves on race day)
IMG_2259Greg It’s been great getting to know you over the 6 months. I am glad you have ticked your bucket list for completing a 70.3, albeit the 2nd hardest one! And I am glad you choose Embark to help you. If you have FULL IRONMAN on that list, you know where to find us! Great achievement on race going comfortably under 7h, far exceeding our expectations for ‘just’ ticking something off your list!
Gert Wilkins: AKA Wickers: 6 weeks before the race he broke his collar bone at the DC and told no exercise for 8 weeks. He replied by saying, “A metal plate in me makes me more of an ironman!” and 6 weeks later he completed the 70.3 in East London. I am sorry Greg, but Wickers has to take this one!



The final awards go to the fastest Embarkers on the day

rudiPower Couple… Who saw Power Couple on MNET? Well, boy, do we have our own power couple in Rudi and Alice! An actuary and an engineer and that’s not even mentioning Rudi yet! He is so focused when I asked Rudi how old he was, he answered 30-34. You know Rudi only has two suits, and one has a Xterra written on the chest! They would deliberately arrive 20 mins late to our morning ride sessions, just because they knew they could finish the 90 mins session in 70 mins! Rudi and Alice thanks for being such a great part of our team and leading and inspiring every athlete in you slip stream!




But there’s a twist here as Rudi has been pipped to the finish line!
IMG_2260Top Embark Achiever Female: Alice Oosthuizen (for the second year in a row) 5h51:55 , 8th in AG and 43rd overall!







Top Embark Achiever: Josh Reinecke 5h08:24

IMG_2330 IMG_2333 IMG_2327 IMG_2319 IMG_2296 IMG_2288 IMG_2266











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