Family out to go the distance to help put smiles on children’s faces

Buckingham, Charles-Barclay both plan to retain titles in ultra-distance Ironman African event


It is set to be a family affair at the Standard Bank Ironman African Championship this weekend as a South End trio take on the popular triathlon to raise money for vulnerable children.
Michael Price, his wife Adele and their nine-year-old son Cale are all expected to go the distance in the name of charity.
The family supports the Smile Foundation, and has, via the crowdfunding platform Backabuddy, been raising money in aid of children with cleft palates and facial deformities.
Michael is participating in the main event on Sunday, while Adele is running the corporate race on Saturday, and Cale is tackling the Ironman Kids challenge.
Michael said he had been challenged by a friend to take part in the Ironman championship.
“Now, two years later and 30kg lighter, my whole family is involved,” he said on Friday.
“My support structure is awesome and I say this to anyone who wants to get involved in a triathlon – the most difficult thing is to start.
“Find a reason why you want to do it and get your family involved, because it’s a very selfish sport – it’s very lonely, but if your family is involved and is motivating you it will give you the motivation to keep going,” he said.
Michael said he accepted the challenge because “I am doing it for a cause bigger than myself – to make sure that whatever I do benefits someone else more than it benefits me”.
“I have children, and children are close to my heart, so the reason I got involved with Smile Foundation is because my whole family can do it.
“My wife will be running the corporate race in Smile Foundation clothes, my son is doing Ironman Kids with Smile Foundation and I’m doing Ironman for Smile Foundation.”
He said Cale had been signed up for the children’s race three years ago.
“It was his first Ironman Kids race and his [older] brother Deluan, 22, and sister, Judele, 17, had done it before that,” he said.
“I’m trying to follow in my dad’s footsteps,” a shy Cale said.
“It makes me feel happy that I’m helping other children, so that’s why I’m trying to raise money for Smile Foundation,” he said. “Please donate to Smile Foundation, we really want to help other kids.”
Backabuddy marketing and public relations officer Zane Groenewald said: “We would like to encourage all South Africans to reach out to their local communities and support causes that inspire them.
“We [can all] make a difference with even the smallest gesture of kindness.” It’s all systems go as nearly 50 professional athletes put in their final preparations for the 15th Ironman African Championship on Saturday.
With less than 48 hours to go before the starting cannon goes off, defending champions Lucy Charles-Barclay and Kyle Buckingham were equally excited about returning to the scene of their championshipwinning race last year.
The iconic race, which is one of the most-sought after events on the triathlon calendar, will see both professional and amateur athletes navigate a 3.8 km swim at Hobie Beach before embarking on a 180km cycle and finally a 42.2km marathon along Marine Drive.The pair, speaking at the pre-race press conference at the Ironman Expo, gave their final thoughts ahead of Sunday’s race, which gets under way at at 6.30am.Buckingham said nothing could come close to the feeling he had experienced previously running down the Ironman red carpet to claim his victory on home soil.“Since I have been racing, nothing has come close to the feeling I got coming down the final stretch – that last 500m was quite emotional, but just to do it in front of my home crowd and the people who support me was a very special feeling,” Buckingham said.About the talented pro field taking to the starting line, Buckingham said: “I think all the pros can agree that it is quite an open field.“I think we always try to push each other – no-one can predict what their race is going to do on Sunday.“It’s going to be tough for everybody and it’s awesome to have such a strong field coming to this amazing race in my home town,” he said.Charles-Barklay, who recently got married, has had a massive year with two Ironman races in the Bay last year, where she claimed the African Championship title.A last-minute decision saw her return to the Bay for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in September.She finished in a close second after being overtaken by eventual champion Daniela Ryf. She also finished second at the full-distance Ironman World Championship in Kona behind the same opponent,Asked how she kept carrying her good form into all her races, Charles-Barclay said: “It can be really tough.“The 70.3 World Championship was a last-minute decision, and that worked well because I had done a very good training block. I almost needed a bit of down time, so I could have the rest into the race, which worked well.“Also the good result gave me that confidence boost to want to work harder leading into Kona,” Charles said.American Lauren Brandon, racing in the Bay for the first time, said the African Championship race was the one which excited her the most when she looked at the racing calendar.“My husband and I came out here on Saturday and we have had the best week ever.“The community of Port Elizabeth has been so welcoming, we have just really enjoyed our time here so far,” she said.Two-time African Champion Ben Hoffman, who suffered injury at last year’s race but still managed to finish, is back at the race for the fourth time.Asked what kept him coming back, he said: “The list is almost too long to go into now.“It’s obviously an incredibly beautiful race course, and now even more beautiful with the changes that we have seen, more challenging, which I appreciate.“And we have an incredible field lined up, which gets me very excited for the race on Sunday.”

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