GDA’s Melanie Nel – our own Iron(wo)man

We would like to congratulate Melanie Nel, Marketing Administration Coordinator at our Johannesburg branch, for successfully completing her first Ironman triathlon.  If you’ve taken out a Dog Sponsorship, attended one of our Graduation ceremonies or if you are a Puppy Raiser, you’ll know that Melanie is a true GDA ambassador and is always willing to assist our sponsors.

Melanie was one of an astonishing 2 830 athletes (of whom 700 were international) who took part in this year’s Ironman Triathlon that was held in Port Elizabeth on Sunday, 2 April 2017.

“Our Ironman journey started when my husband, Rodney, added participating in an Ironman to his ‘before I turn 40’ bucket list.  I decided to join him to offer my support and work on my sprint distance events.”

According to Melanie, the athletes could not have asked for better weather as the race kicked off with a challenging 3.8km swim from Hobie Beach.  “Swimming is my strongest leg of the event and although the tide was strong, I enjoyed the challenge and managed to complete it in the time I had wanted to” says Melanie.

With tired legs and aching muscles, athletes had to do a quick wardrobe change and take on the 180 kilometre bicycle course.  The route took athletes along the picturesque coastline and delivered sweeping views of the ocean.  “A light breeze helped cool us down and fellow athletes were mostly in high spirits which encouraged us to push towards the finish line.”
The final leg of the race was a fast and flat 42 kilometre long run.  “This was by far the most challenging leg of the event, especially because by this time you are very tired and your body is drained.  Having Rodney by my side kept me motivated and at 22h40 we finally crossed the finish line together.  It was the best feeling in the world; months of hard work and dedication all wrapped into one glorious moment I will never forget.  Although gruelling and merciless, I look forward to participating in the Ironman in future.”

Written by – Michelle Immink

This year’s Ironman saw professional athletes compete for a share of the R1,940,625 prize money and world championship points whilst many (like Melanie) were simply hoping to complete the extremely challenging race.
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