Living loud with Liezel

Living loud with Liezel

A real life Ironman

Liezel van der Westhuizen

By Liezel van der Westhuizen

In 2010 I competed in my first Ironman Triathlon, which comprises of a 3.8km sea swim; 180km cycle and a 42.2km run, all to be completed in 17hours. This is considered the toughest  one day endurance race in the world.I recently met with Capetonian Scott Tait, who is taking part in this race on Sunday in Port Elizabeth for the Leukaemia Charity The Sunflower Fund, to find out what inspired him to take on this iconic endurance event.

How did you get into triathlons and how many Ironman Triathlons have you done?
A fascia injury kept me from running for much of 2010 so I bought a bike and started swimming to cross train and come back from injury stronger. I decided to work in a triathlon later that year as it looked like fun. I have done a number of triathlons since then up to half ironman distance, but this will be my first Ironman Triathlon.

Why have you dedicated your race this weekend to Lucille Swart?
Lucille and I have become great friends since we first met through Twitter close to two years ago. I have been incredibly inspired by both her positive outlook on life and beautiful spirit. I shared her sadness when she was diagnosed with Leukaemia recently for a third time. As ever Lu approached the news with a positive, determined attitude and a plan to beat it again. I was so proud of her and decided to dedicate my Ironman journey to her to show her how she has become a source of great inspiration to me. Lucille has not only inspired me but also countless others whose lives she has touched.

Tell me about your involvement with the Sunflower Fund.
My brother Kristian suffered from the life threatening illness Leukaemia when we were children. The many times he spent in the Leukaemia ward at Red Cross Childrens Hospital had an indelible affect on me. The compassion and support from the nurses, doctors and other Leukaemia sufferers’ families there was amazing. I grew up wanting to do something tangible to show my gratitude and support for those that helped my brother and other families affected by Leukaemia. I contacted The Sunflower Fund several years ago and my wife and I  registered as donors on the Bone Marrow Donor Registry of South Africa. Thereafter I did my first Argus Cycle Tour in 2011 and raised funds for The Sunflower Fund as part of their Miles 4 Marrow campaign. Since then I decided to use my participation in challenging sporting events to assist in raising awareness and funds for The Sunflower Fund.

What would you say to people who are keen to do an Ironman Distance Triathlon?
Preparing for an Ironman is a challenging yet incredibly rewarding journey. I believe that having the support of your family and loved ones is very important. Particularly when the laundry loads and food bills start doubling. Investing in your  training by joining a triathlon group like My Training Day is invaluable. As is being able to learn from and train with experienced Ironman athletes. Most of all though, remember to have fun.

How can people follow your journey?
I use many social media platforms such as twitter (@scott_tait) and facebook (Tri-ing for the Sunflower Fund group) to share my Ironman journey and information about The Sunflower Fund. I blog about my experiences and the races I take part in and post these on On race day, Bianca will be tweeting my Ironman for me from @scott_tait. People can also follow my progress by smsing my race number 723 to 39408.

Scott will be in PE this weekend, and so will I as a commentator at the Ironman. Good Luck to the athletes who are taking part this weekend.