At Henceforward we try and live by a few different philosophies. Aim to live your best life, do more of the things that give you meaning, try and make a difference where you can and are able to, and remember to have fun … because we only get one shot at life. Fatman to Swissman is a journey “For More than Myself”. It is about doing great things. It’s a personal journey, one in which I get to make a difference in the lives of children through taking part in the Swissman Extreme Triathlon in June this year.
What is the Swissman?
The SWISSMAN is an extreme, and unique triathlon experience, that promises to be both challenging as well as breathtakingly beautiful. Set in Switzerland, the race will see me completing a full ironman distance triathlon (3.8km Swim, 180km Cycle and a 42.2km run) with a total ascent of 5750m. The journey begins at the lowest point of Switzerland at 196 m above sea level, crosses the Alps with three major passes and reaches its summit with the stunning scenery at the finish line just below the top of Europe at 2061 m.
Entries are selected via a ballot system. Only 250 athletes (125 from outside of Switzerland), are lucky enough to be chosen to take part in this crazy, unsupported triathlon each year. I have been entering my name for the last 3 or 4 years now, and to my surprise my name was picked for this years event.
The race country is also special to me. I grew up practically next door to a Swiss Family. The three brothers were like my own brothers. Two of them, Marcel and Pascal live in Switzerland now. Having them part of my official support crew will be extra special to me.
What makes it extreme?
As if completing a 226km long distance triathlon is not challenging enough. The bike route will see me cycling over three Alpine Passes: Gothard, Furka and Grimsel, with a total climbing elevation of 3850m. You might recall one of the famous car chases in James Bond’s Gold Finger taking place on the Furka Pass. The 42.2km run is also a mixture of road and trail running behind waterfalls, and finishing in front of the iconic Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains with around 2000m of elevation. Almost half of this happens in the last 10km of the run. It is compulsory to have a supporter to run the last 10km with me. I suspect that there won’t be much running in those last kilometres though – as the elevation is around 1000m. (For reference, Table Mountain is 1086m).
For more than myself
Some of you might recall, my Ironman South Africa and Comrades journeys a few years ago, in which I also competed “for more than myself”. Thanks to friends, family and colleagues, we raised over R300 000 for the Breatheasy Program – a specific program within the Children’s Hospital Trust that paid for breathing apparatus for children living with tracheostomies.
This was a cause very close to my heart, after losing my mother to a hospital bug – after spending over 100 days in ICU in a UK Hospital – mostly ventilated on a tracheostomy. My drive then was a gesture of gratitude for the wonderful (and free) treatment that she received whilst in ICU.
This time, I want to continue with the theme of doing sport for “More than Myself” – and will continue to support the Children’s Hospital Trust. The trust is a non-profit organisation that raises funds to support the advancement of child healthcare in South Africa as well as the African Continent.
100% of all donations go directly to prioritised paediatric healthcare needs. Not a single cent is spent on administration costs. When you donate to the Trust, every cent goes towards funding projects that change children’s lives (and the lives of the people who love them). The operational costs of the Trust are funded from an endowment managed by The Children’s Hospital Foundation, so your generous contributions are never used for administration.
The Trust is a registered non-profit organisation, which means all contributions will have tax certificates issued for South African taxpayers. In other words, you get to support a great cause and at the same time, reduce your tax bill.
Fundraising for the Children’s Trust through the SWISSMAN
I have set up a Swissman specific fund-raising platform for those that are interested in making a contribution to this worthy cause. We do not handle any of the donations. The page is linked directly to the Children’s Trust Account.
I am very proud of the fact that Henceforward also supports the Children’s Trust as an official fundraiser. This goes way beyond just a Social Responsibility. It is something that we are passionate about. Making a difference in the lives of children in our country and continent. Being able to continue raising funds for them through the Swissman journey is something that we are very excited about.
More than “for more than myself”
The idea to take on an event like the Swissman is crazy – well for me anyway. It’s extreme – and will probably take me about 23 hours to complete. That is if I can make all the cut offs. It will by far be the hardest physical thing I could have taken on. By giving it purpose “for more than myself”, I am able to make this so much more than about me. This certainly helps when the training becomes tough, and the motivation is low – or even on the day, when I am sitting in the hurt box, with thoughts of wanting to quit.
Bad timing or message from the universe?
I tore my acl, meniscus and patella tendons in a league squash match in June last year. I know, squash is bad for your knees. This forced me to sit on the side lines while my injury healed itself. Unfortunately, it didn’t heal properly, and had to undergo knee arthroscopy and debridement on the 24th of November last year. This took place 2 days after I entered the Swissman.
I know it sounds crazy to take on this extreme event such as the Swissman, given my injury and current state of fitness – but somehow I felt the universe was sending me challenge. Challenge accepted!
If I am truly honest, there is a little bit of “for me” in this journey. Its not the medal, nor the title of being a “SWISSMAN” that motivates me. It is the personal growth that does. To be the best husband, the best father, the best business owner, I need to be the best possible version of myself. To do this, I need to make my physical health and mental health a priority. Training will force me to me to take care of myself and improve in every aspect of my life.
Fatman to Swissman
The idea for this description came from the title I gave a WhatsApp group between my Sports Coach David Sullivan, of Wingman Multisport – and Biokineticist and Trainer, owner of Bio Health, Werner Meyer. The name was obviously a reference to my state of fitness at the time. I have worked with both of these professionals in the past for most, if not all my endurance races. I trust them implicitly. It is through their commitment to getting me to the start line of the Swissman in the best possible shape that I believe I can take on this massive challenge. We have decided to document the transformation journey until race day.
Follow my journey
I would love for you to follow and share my journey on instagram. Like, post, comment – any and all feedback is welcome and will be appreciated. This is far and away the toughest challenge I have ever undertaken and why all support will mean an incredible amount.
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