Ardent athlete holds nothing back when competing

Nic Yiangou takes on any challenge that comes his way, even an Iron Man competition shortly before taking on the Comrades Marathon.

POLOKWANE – What makes this feat extra remarkable is that he only began learning how to swim last year; he also took part in as many triathlons as he could to prepare for the Iron Man competitions.

The first triathlon he competed in was the 5150, and said he owes all his sporting accomplishments to his superwoman wife, René, who motivates him every step of the way.

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“It is because of her that I started participating in the Comrades Marathon as she had already finished 13 by the time I joined her. Her accomplishments inspired me to also begin to do something,” he explained.

Nic added he didn’t initially plan to take part in the Comrades, he simply wanted to begin running, but one thing led to another and he completed his first Ultimate Human Race last year.

Among the sports he loves are mountain biking and cross training to stay fit.

“People do not understand that running needs a strong core and that was one of the things I needed to work on,” he added.

Completing his first Comrades Marathon, he explained, made him feel like he could accomplish anything. This is when a friend suggested he consider participating in Iron Man competitions. He decided to take on the competitions and began swimming lessons in September last year as he couldn’t swim.

He described himself as dedicated. “I do not quit. In the Comrades you run until you are finished or until they stop you. So I am the guy who they will have to stop or I will finish,” he laughed, adding he loves working with people and people in general.

Nic also loves hunting and spending time with his family, which means taking part in sport.

Balancing all his passions and responsibilities, however, does get challenging at times but when he prepares for competitions he always asks René to join him when cycling in order to spend some time with her, while still getting the practice he needs.

“My advice is to start participating in sport as young as possible to see where it can take you. Do not spend time on video games, spend time on sport and make a name for yourself in something that can take you places and also keep you fit,” Nic said. He added he believes there are enough local opportunities for people to get involved in sport.

“Because the Iron Man competitions are so gruelling and takes a toll on your mind and body, I will take a break from participating in them for a while in order to be fully prepared.

“Despite the fact that I knew I was not as ready as I would like to be, I still completed what I started.”

He participated in a half Iron Man competition in January and another half the week before the Comrades Marathon with a full Iron Man competition inbetween.

When he competed in the Iron Man competitions he would look at the other competitors and wonder to himself if they were mad to voluntarily put themselves through the gruelling challenges.

“Competitors swim for 3,8 km, do a 180 km bicycle ride, which is insane, and run 42,2 km. I still cannot believe I have done all these things, looking back it still feels like a dream.”

When all is said and done, however, he thanks his support network and the people who believed in him, especially his wife, who helped him to quit smoking and become the man he is today. He thanked the Polokwane Athletics Club and all the people he met on his journey for their contributions and support.

[email protected]

  AUTHOR
Riana Joubert
Journalist

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