Headline, May28, 2013


South Africa is a sport loving nation. And equally delightful is the fact that it is a very healthy nation:

The Comrades in South Africa   -a 56 mile, non-stop run, now attempted by over 19,000 people every year. Then there's the daddy of them all, the Marathon de Sables: 151 miles over five days through 40 degrees centigrade desert temperatures. According to Ben Fogle  -an extreme endurance specialist-  this is just a ''rite of passage''  to get to the really interesting stuff, and many thousands of people around the world agree.

In this era of extreme endurance, it's no coincidence that triathlon is now one of the fastest growing sports in the U.K. Over Nine thousand compete in the London Triathlon and are cheered on by the crowds that are beginning to resemble those that gather in the capital's marathon.

So how did we get to this point? In some ways being able to say that you have completed one of the major endurance events is like having a new way to measure one's sense of manhood or to nudge your way up the pecking order. But it's just another way of taking an interest in sport and fitness to another level   -an attempt to see how far we can push ourselves.

We are no longer old at 30, 40 or even 50. In fact we just getting into our endurance primetime, so the only question is what happens we really test ourselves?
Hotelier Sir Rocco Forte was at 64, was one of the best triathlete in the world in his age category, having come 13th at the 2007 World Championships, and second in his first Ironman competition in 2005. The race consists of 3.5 km swim, 180 km bike ride and a marathon. He completed it in in an impressive 11 hours and 40 minutes, brushing aside any talk of it being a young man's sport.

The obvious benefits of making these new, more extreme goals is that the training is not necessarily intensive although it may be long, and it does not require enormous skill. Ultimately it will condition your body in a way that you may never have thought possible, and it might just save your life.

For sure, there is new level of aspiration when it comes to endurance sport and a new level of bragging rights up for grabs. There are now events being run that 10 years ago sounded like lunacy.
Like the Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc where over 2600 competitors try to cover 166km of mountain trails in 46 hours.

So this may just be a great moment for all amateur athletes in shunning ''lethargic''  marathons for the latest ultra-endurance races. Thinking of trying  a triathlon? Start with a sprint distance event  -750m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run and then build up to the Olympic, and only then consider yourself an Ironman or an Ironwoman or better still, an IronStudent!

With respectful dedication to all the students and professors of South Africa. 
See you all on !WOW! : Taking It To The Limit.

Good Night & God Bless!

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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