By Carol Pakenham
As some of you may know, we have a UK based member SIPHO HOBANE NDLOVU who will be representing Zimbabwe this weekend at the WORLD TRIATHLON DUATHLON CHAMPIONSHIPS in Avile, Spain. Sipho is a relatively new member of our family and we would like to share his inspiring story and journey to the World Championships with you
How did you start the duathlon?
Studying my BSc in Sports Science and Coaching at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Bulawayo and my MSc Sport and Exercise Nutrition at the University of Westminster in London was the impetus that drove me into endurance sport, particularly Duathlon. I am always keen to put theory into practice and there is no better way to experiment than on yourself, I feel by doing so when I get to a point in my life when I get to give advice it is holistic advice based on experience.
I first got introduced to duathlon in one of the events that I took part in as a race marshal. I think it was the London Duathlon. I knew that there was something called a triathlon; however, I did not know about the other version which does not include the swimming, the Duathlon. I have always enjoyed running and cycling as individual activities and thought I would enjoy putting these together.
How long have you been doing the duathlon?
I have been doing duathlon for 2 years. It is after my first two sprint duathlon races that I spoke to one of the athletes who advised me to try out the standard distance duathlon based on my endurance capabilities, so I decided to start training hard for the Age group duathlon world champs. For those that may not know duathlon is a race that is in the format run-cycle-run and has different variations: Sprint duathlon: 5km run – 20km cycle – 2.5km run; standard duathlon: 10km run – 40km cycle- 5km run. I will be doing the standard distance duathlon at the World Championships. There are the middle and long-distance duathlon variations which are of course longer.
Why did you decide to enter the Championships?
I enjoy challenging myself to achieve things that I never would have thought possible. If someone had told me that this is what I will be doing in November 2021, I would have laughed at them. I decided to enter so that I can show the young Zimbabwean that if someone like me, who was never really sporty growing up, can participate at World Championship level. When I get to that finish line, I know I am racing for myself, my family and my country Zimbabwe.
What are your long-term goals?
Well, my biggest goal is to encourage young Zimbabweans, through my own story, that with hard work anything is possible, you just have to believe in yourself and be willing to learn the lessons along the way. I also hope to diversify my duathlon racing portfolio and over time transition into long-distance duathlon racing in the years to come. It is a process and as someone who loves challenges, I am ready to learn and evolve as an athlete through the guidance of those that have gone before me.
To Sipho – FROM ALL OF US – Good luck this weekend, we will be following your race and send our very best wishes for a fantastic event – do your best, race hard but most of all ENJOY THE EXPERIENCE.
Thanks and regards