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Blind athlete set to tackle Ironman challenge in PE

Blind adventurer and motivational speaker Hein Wagner and Ironman partner Alwyn de Kock, will test their mental and physical endurance on 14 April in a full Ironman challenge in Port Elizabeth.

Covering a total distance of 226.2 kilometres, with three different disciplines (swimming, cycling and running), the Ironman has been described as one of the most challenging one-day events.

Wagner and De Kock have already completed the Half Ironman and several triathlons together. ÔÇ£We’re taking part this year to raise funds for the Institute for the Blind. This is a cause that Alwyn also feels very passionately about as he’s blind in one eye,ÔÇØ says Wagner.

ÔÇ£I attempted the full Ironman last year with Gerrie Olivier, but we fell out during the swimming part of the race, due to the hectic conditions. This year we’ll be attached to each other by a rope for the 3.8km swim, with Alwyn swimming at the front to lead me.┬áHe’ll also lead me in the 180.2km bike ride, which we’ll do using a tandem and the 42.2 km run which will be on foot. All of this in one day.┬áThere’s a reason why Ironman is called the hardest day in sport.ÔÇØ

With regards to preparation for this challenge, Wagner concludes: ÔÇ£I’ve practiced in all three disciplines. I practice my swimming in a harness at home so I stay in one place and I’ve also trained in open sea water. I’m really looking forward to this year’s Ironman. I feel almost over trained and so ready for this. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. After this I’d like to take it easy for a while as it’s been an eventful year in sport for me with lots of training.ÔÇØ

Wagner, who has been completely blind from birth, adds: ÔÇ£One of the beneficiaries of the Vision Trust is the Institute for the Blind. I’ve spent 12 years at the Pioneer School for the Blind in Worcester. I’ll be participating this year to raise funds. By sending an SMS with the word ‘blind’ to the number 40069, R20 will be donated to the computer training facility for the blind in Worcester.

“The school is very close to my heart and I do believe that through proper training a blind person can communicate with the world, read the daily news, browse the internet and get access to study materials and job opportunities.”


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