Inspiring IRONMAN Journey, From 129kg to 99kg.

May 9, 2018

The last 18 months has been a journey of note. I am the kind of person who likes to set high goals and then make them happen through hard work and consistency . IRONMAN 2018 was a goal that I set more than a year ago due to a friend Dewald Mostert finishing the impossible. My first 6 months was alone and very difficult, by trying to download training programs, and training by myself. Along come EMBARK and my training world change dramatically. No more ad-hoc running, chasing unrealistic average times, but only consistent building up, event by event to build up to the BIG IRONMAN 2018 journey.


My initial goal was to lose weight. I wanted to weigh under 100kg on the 15 April 2018. I was then, 29kg away from this goal. So although my main goal was weight loss, I used my IRONMAN journey as the road to my weight goal. I quickly realized that no diet or quick fix would ensure that I lose that amount of weight in a year, and keep it off. Although I tried some short cuts in training, I soon realized that the only long term sustainable solutions was to train as part of a group, with unlimited family support. Group training gave me support, benchmarking, unselfish help, honest comments, reflection and ultimately access to likeminded people.

The personal involvement of the coaches and interest taken in me and my boys is very special to me. The EMBARK brand, directly “Branded” me as a triathlete everywhere I go, and put additional positive pressure on me to “KEEP GOING”. The group energy at training and comradery on race day is what pulled me through every time. At races you almost ‘lose’ your own identity as so many of the spectators and supporters scream “GO EMBARK” and not go ‘GERHARDT’ as I am used in the business world. The EMBARK group is so much stronger than an individual and I am so proud to be part of the red and black ARMY.


Some lessons I learned as part of the journey:

  • FTP (Follow the program) and you WILL cross the finish line;
  • It is MY journey not a race against anybody else;
  • I never regret getting up early (although difficult sometimes) and training, but ALMOST EVERY TIME REGRET the times I did not!
  • The group fed me more energy than any individual can ever generate on its own.


From Gerhardt van Niekerk

A 99kg, 50 year man, that finished a FULL IRONMAN in 13hours and 44 min, in 18 months.

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