Family shows iron resolve in gruelling event

Neale Emslie

TAKING THE CAKE: Celebrating 10 years of Ironman in Nelson Mandela Bay are, from left, PE's Miss SA finalist Ziphozakhe Zokufa, World Endurance Holdings Africa managing director Keith Bowler, city councillor Nomamerica Soul, race director Paul Wolff and former Miss SA Melinda Bam. Picture: BRIAN WITBOOI
TAKING THE CAKE: Celebrating 10 years of Ironman in Nelson Mandela Bay are, from left, PE’s Miss SA finalist Ziphozakhe Zokufa, World Endurance Holdings Africa managing director Keith Bowler, city councillor Nomamerica Soul, race director Paul Wolff and former Miss SA Melinda Bam. Picture: BRIAN WITBOOI

THE Ironman champions, understandably, get most of the glory.

But the award for ultimate achievement must surely go to Team Garwood, who will be attempting to complete their second Ironman SA event on April 6 in Port Elizabeth.

As the Ironman SA event celebrated the launch of its 10th anniversary at the Boardwalk Hotel and Conference Centre, the Garwood family – Kevin, Cheryl and Nikki from Johannesburg were among the special guests.

Celebrities such as former Miss SA Melinda Bam and PE’s Miss SA finalist Ziphozakhe Zokufa added glamour to the occasion, but one of the stars of the show was undoubtedly 15-year-old Nikki.

The reason for this is that Nikki has Athetoid cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair.

Yet this did not stop him and his father Kevin entering and completing the Ironman for the first time last year in a time of 15 hours, three minutes and 36 seconds.

Much of the credit must go to parents Kevin and Cheryl who have embraced the opportunity to give their son a chance to do something he would not be able to achieve on his own.

Team Garwood go about their race with Kevin pulling Nikki in a kayak on the 3.8km swimming leg, using a custom-made tandem bicycle with a seat in front for Nikki for the 180km cycle, and a wheelchair they have specifically designed for the marathon leg.

Meanwhile, the race organisers are gearing up for another massive event which has brought in about R400-million since the inaugural race in 2005.

The event was first held as a 70.3 distance in 2004, changed to the full distance the next year, and has become increasingly popular over the last decade.

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