Annah Watkinson: IM Brazil 2017

IM Brazil – there was no plan to race this race in 2017!

After a great first year racing in the professional category in 2016,  I was amped for the 2017 season. Feeling stronger and fitter and more in the “right headspace” – I had done some great training over December spending many many many (and many more) hours on the bike – I loved it. My swim was starting to click,  I was starting to understand the phrase “feel the water”,  and my running was strong.

First up Ironman 70.3 East London.  I love this race as it was the venue of my first triathlon and I still remember the thrill, the excitement and absolute happiness during the race. I recall singing along to the songs being played on the run and high fiveing spectators. I finished on such a high (because endorphins make you happy…) and was wondering when I could do this again – next weekend? Looking back to that race I could never have envisaged my journey in triathlon and becoming a pro a few years later.

Racing in East London was a tough call for me as an aunt whom I was close with passed after a 4 year battle with cancer and it was her funeral over the race weekend. I had spent most of my December, if not on the bike, with her saying my goodbyes (more for me than for her). She always used to ask where and when I was racing so she could imagine me there – sending me good thoughts and wishes of wins. She was  always proud of me and I was her “golden girl”.  So I made the difficult decision to race, focused, as I do in every race when I stand at the start line, on a  podium position. After a dreadful swim, I had a sub-optimal  bike due to some rookie errors – mostly the part where my bike sticker got stuck between my frame and my wheel at 20km’s into the race and all I heard was ssssshhhhh for the next 70kms. I hit the run ready to race and I finished strong with a Top 5 placing but ultimately disappointed as I felt this race didn’t reflect my training as sometimes races don’t. When I have a “crap” race, the big upside for me is when my coach, Raynard,  speaks to me after the race and doesn’t try and build me up. He gives it to me straight and direct  and this  honest hard hitting approach fires me up again.

There is  something  special in  Raynard and  Natalie who continually believe in me, and know  that I can race faster particularly  given that I work full time and my pro career is sometimes a side line in my life. I realize I need to be more patient with my progress , which is difficult in an environment where we all demand instant satisfaction. It  is tough to work hard and sometimes be disappointed with your race.

IMSA – I was really looking forward to this race.  I was in great shape and had worked as hard as I could and was relishing the challenge of racing against  all the female pro’s that were coming to Port Elizabeth. It’s an awesome opportunity to race and perform against the best. I was as normal before the race,  both excited and nervous  at the same time. It is well known what happened with my race where I fell ill on the bike leg. For me it was the most dreadful position to be in as I have never had to stop a race.  Subsequently, I have  questioned whether I was actually that  ill, was it that  bad and could I have finished even if it meant going straight to the medical tent. I know that the emotional angst I place on myself is always far worse than anything physically I may have had to endure. With the disappointment of PE behind me, I knew I had to race soon …as always Raynard and I strategized, what we needed to change to be more aggressive and stronger, and where I could race with a really strong pro field. That was when the South American IM championship came up and IM Brazil was on!

Leading up to Brazil, my training has again gone well and mostly without disruption, though  work has been far more challenging. I am changing career paths within the bank and  am moving to Cape Town in early June –the relocation to Cape Town hasn’t sunk in yet as I just landed back in SA yesterday.

With all the training, the work changes and the autumn mornings kicking in,  the lead up to the race went quickly and before I knew it, it was time to taper and fly off to Brazil.

Leading up to  the race the weather was wet – and I mean wet wet wet. It  did not stop raining. The temperature and humidity was comfortable and varied by max 1 degree morning to night around a steady 20 degrees. Conditions were good and the field was truly classy, a proper IM regional championship field.

My strategy for Brazil was the same as always – race my best race, to give it all.  I am hard on myself. I can only go under the IM banner with pride if I have pushed myself all the way. At IM Brazil I was in a position to push hard and here is a brief description of the race:


Best description of the swim would be a two loop swim in the form of a “M” with an Australian exit (run along the beach after the first loop to start the second loop). At the start line all us pro ladies were in a heated discussion as to which buoy we had to first swim to and which was the first loop and the second loop. With the men pro field having gone off just before us, we had some indication as to what direction we were swimming to but  before we knew it, we were in the water (it was wet start for us) and the starting horn was going  off. The first 1km was chaos with an immediate and aggressive jostling for positions and swim lines. Over the following 1km it remained quite aggressive as the pro field attempted to position for the second loop. The Australian exit, a 70m dash of elbows, shoulder  pushing and a  sprint into the second loop kept the pace at a high level before settling slightly in the second loop. I was in the  chase bunch but it was difficult to sight  exactly the distance to the lead group. Exiting the swim it was a full sprint to get on the bike and ensure I consolidated my position and set myself up for the cycle leg.



The conditions for the bike were perfect, no wind and a slight drizzle keeping you cool. The race started with the expected jostling for positions before a race line was settled into, with strategic break always attempted every kilometer or so. At the 40km turn the chase pack was 2 mins behind Linsey Corbin and Pamela Tastets, who in turn were about 5 mins behind  Susie Cheetham and Haley Chura, who were leading the race. Mareen Hufe was slightly ahead of me and I made an attempt to push and close the gap to her which was  successful. The race continued in a relatively large spread out chase pack. I began to  close in on Linsey and Pamela and  at 95kms the gap  I was one min away  and at then at 120km’s,  I passed Linsey and Pamela.  Susie and Haley maintained their 5 min lead. From 140kms to 180kms there was very little change in position and mostly everyone maintained their pace leading into the transition. Mareen broke away from us the chase group – I tried to chase it down by was not able to close gap. Also, group was positioning for transition to the run and being aggressive on the bike


Of the chasing group, Linsey was first into transition, followed by Gurutze Frades and then myself followed by Sonja Tajsich, Pamela Tastets and Magali Tisseyre. This was also pretty much the order for the start of the run with the exception of Linsey whom was serving a time penalty (which I question whether correct). Sonja went out like a well feed race horse and Pamela was pushing ahead of me but still within close range. Here at Brazil IM, there are two mother climbs in the race leg . The first climb  is at 4.8km and the second climb at 11.2km. This first  fist climb is initially a steady climb and then a short and unbelievable vertical wall. In my pre-race recon I had considered that I could  speed walk the vertical wall to save my legs as I didn’t believe I would lose any time on it – and I didn’t. Just after the 8km turn around point I passed Pamela and quickly I was at the 11.2km and into the real laps. Magali made an attack and was on my shoulder from about 14km’s to 28km’s,  a real dual for supremacy. I picked up the pace and she eventually dropped back. At 32km’s there was now one lap left. I was also having a war with my running shoes. It felt like the nail of my second toe had been ripped off.  I was still pushing but had resultantly slowed down, and at 34km’s Linsey made the pass.  I changed down a gear to stay in range but before I knew it she had opened the gap… should have changed down a few more gears !.

The last couple of km’s on the run leg clicked by relatively fast although I would have liked to have been able to push harder without shoe problems. The final section of the run into the finishers chute is one of the best parts of this race with spectators going mad crazy, Brazilian style. Florianopolis – you guys rock ! We as athletes really appreciate the support particularly as all the spectators were standing in the rain the whole day to watch us racers do this crazy mad sport. A sport I just love love love … and sometimes hate!.

The Brazil IM race was fast – really fast and I was blown away by the time of the leading pro man breaking the all time IM record. I always recall the wise words of my coach,  Raynard, after I completed  IM Barcelona last year, ” there is no easy IM… there is fast and there is slow” and this was fast. And on that note, it’s worth remembering Daniela’s quote on speed… “going faster is nicer as the pain is over quicker! ”

After the results of IM Brazil, many have questioned the course distances and also  drafting. My view on the distance is that  I race to win and if I’m not wining I focus on getting  as close to the winner as possible. I like an accurate course as it fits my disciplined approach to training and racing but it is not my primary concern. For those that are interested, based off my Garmin readings after the race, I recorded a swim distance of  3.8km, the bike at 180km and the run at s 41.6/7km.  So there you have it from my race. It appears the run leg is c.400m short but with the first transition you run up from the beach to T1 – I stand to be corrected  – I think this is c.300m.

The second and more controversial question revolved around drafting. I cannot comment  much on this point as I tend to never look behind me as I am completely focused on the race happening in front of me or and if I am leading I am pushing to maintain this lead. My personality is that I never show weakness by looking behind. At this race with the rain and wet conditions there is something to be said about watching where you are going on wet roads!

IM Brazil is a great race. The Brazilian people are fantastic, Florianopolis is beautiful and the field is top class. It was an awesome opportunity and a good result for me.

When I got onto the plane fair soon after prize giving, I had to reflect on my 7th placing. I am not happy but also not unhappy with my race. My  takeaways are that I am definitely in the mix, I am making sure I position in the Top 10 of any race I have done as a professional.


In  a regional championship and in  a pro field like this in Brazil, being aggressive with my pace and tactics was a huge highlight for me. I can see clear progress and cannot wait for my training and racing to keep pushing me forward.. In professional sport there will always be some disappointments like I  experienced in PE, but there are always so many more highlights like I experienced here in Brazil. To finish strong, to come in 7th in a pro field like this really excites me, it  fires me up for training and more races this year

Annah recentlly took a brilliant 7th place at the South American Ironman Championship event.

Antonelle Saporta – Successful business woman, mother and top triathlete:

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Antonelle Saporta – Successful business woman, mother and top triathlete:

 “Five hundred, twenty-five thousand and six hundred minutes. Five hundred, twenty-five thousand journeys to plan. How do we measure life in a year? Whether it’s in sunsets, in daylight or in cups of coffee, we all have 525 600 minutes in a year. It’s when those minutes need to be carefully, caringly divided into smaller pieces of our lives, we realize how finite our time really is and how best to make the most of it, one minute at a time.

We all have similar common ingredients in our lives, maybe we add a bit more of one ingredient than the other into our own mixtures, but the fundamentals surely resemble one another from a broader point of view. Regardless of circumstances, getting up and showing up DAILY for yourself is the key to baking our own successful mixtures. I can, you can, WE CAN!

We all have some ingredients that get added against our will sometimes and many mental battles that we can all relate to in those busy times when we feel life, and our training mates, are passing us by (or passing by us). It is these types of moments that set aside the ordinary from the extraordinary, adapting rather than giving up, saying I CAN and I WILL, rather than the opposite.

Here are just some of the ingredients in Antonelles’ pie:

First ingredient – Antonelle works a very demanding job in the corporate world and the majority of her work must be done in conjunction with others in their time, meaning the parameters of training are tight, there isn’t much margin for flexibility with time. Traveling for work doesn’t help either, but as we learnt during lockdown, where there is a will, there is (almost) always a way! Improvise.

It definitely helps to know that an active lifestyle IS a major release, a reset to our daily lives and all its stresses, so every minute spent working on me isn’t just for me. The routine doesn’t take longer than a few weeks to form and the positivity it brings into all aspects of life far outweighs the few weeks of adjusting. It would be a little white lie to say that those first few days of 4:30 am alarms are easy 😉 But it gets easier. It really does.

Second ingredient – Add 2 kids (well, some would say 3) into the mixture. To be able to commit a whole week to Lifesaving Nipper Nationals, both as a coach to U/10’s and to her own 2 kids is exhausting at the best of times, yet alone 2-3 weeks out from a big race. This is just one example, one very small example of what all parents can relate to. It’s not easy – it is rewarding, but that doesn’t make it any easier. However, seeing Rourke and Racquelle on the sideline during the race and how excited they were, how interested they were and how they, at 9 and 10 years old, were learning about sport, about triathlon and the life lessons of determinations, regardless of “limitation” is surely life changing for them. Whether it’s tomorrow or next year, only good can come from witnessing such big events. We might not realize it, but the amount of influence we have on our own kids AND on each other’s kids, is something to take seriously. Teaching and leading by example, showing that hard work pays off. Determination isn’t just needed in sport, its character building and it starts with us.

Third ingredient – Add family and friends into your mixture, as they sure spice up life. Let’s be honest, a pie without any spice sounds very bland indeed. So, share your mixture with them, let them be a part of baking your pie and the taste will be just that much sweeter. For such an individual sport, we truly do need each other.

The recipe – Having a recipe (program) is crucial for guidance and a way forward that can still be steered along the way, but it’s the dedications of day in and day out that leads to infinite possibilities, whether it’s to explore or to race, to lose weight or to prove others wrong, do it because YOU want to.

Be kind to yourself and don’t be afraid to give yourself a little bit more of the pie you’re baking – you must enjoy it too!

So… What are you doing with your 525 600 minutes this year? Go and make that delicious pie, the one your heart desires.

Jared Jordan

Super day with SupaPiet at Nelson Mandela Bay 70.3 on Sunday.

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Super day with SupaPiet at Nelson Mandela Bay 70.3 on Sunday.



Not once was there any negativity, not an ounce of doubt, only the belief that anything is possible, regardless of limitations! We did a training swim last week and the determination I saw is something I’ve never seen or experienced in others, or myself! The limitations perceived are only in our own minds, often our own worst enemy. To only have shoulders, biceps muscles & basic wrist movement YET NO EXCUSES… Sure makes me shake my head in disbelief and eat humble pie.


SupaPiet you are a role model in many ways & Im sure you must have positively influenced over 1000 athletes as they passed us and encouraged us on route, I bet they must have gotten strength & self belief that they too could achieve their goals!


If you haven’t heard SupaPiets story, have a look on Youtube for a few videos or interviews, I’ve been fortunate to be at 2 of his pre-race talks with Team Tissink Triathlon and goose bump stuff for sure.

Ironman and 70.3 South Africa 2022

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Ironman and 70.3 South Africa 2022

Congratulations to everyone who took part this past weekend 🚴🏻‍♀️🏃‍♀️

Unfortunately, poor weather conditions meant no swim for our age-groupers and a very challenging bike leg which started in the cold and heavy rain.

Still exciting racing and some incredible achievements #ProudCoaches

Here are the results of our #TeamTissink athletes:


Genelle van der Riet – 🥇1st place – 9.50.21

Armin Brandle – 🥈2nd place – 13.41.39

Adele de la Rey – 🥉3rd place – 10.23.05

Jabu Mpengesi- 10th – 9.14.20

Yusuf Arendse – 14th – 9.14.41

Jono Stephen – 27th -10.08.29

Mark Alderman – 11th – 10.10.47

Damian Wooton – 38th – 10.38.20

Pauline Tunstead – 4th – 11.09.59

Natasha Boshoff – 12th -11.10.16

Gavin Biggs – 24th – 11.11.02

Louise Axon – 15th – 12.04.08

Corne Ras – 17th – 12.08.02

Ewerd Ras – 72nd – 12.08.03

Jacqui Bunge – 19th – 12.19.26

Jacques Joubert – 21st – 12.22.58

Catherine Sweetnam – 23rd – 13.07.27

Luzaan Potgieter – 9th – 13.39.36

Megan Alberts – 10th – 14.07.59


Antonelle Sapporta – 🥇1st – 4.24.23

Kelly Morton – 🥇1st – 4.37.21

Natalie Hagedom-Hansen – 🥈2nd – 4.43.51

Peter Gatang’i – 🥉3rd – 4.14.34

Roger Hooke – 🥉3rd – 4.46.20

Wesley White – 13th – 4.20.51

Lebohang Senti – 16th – 4.30.34

Andrew Moss – 9th – 4.36.20

Angela Knoetze – 10th – 5.00.02

Jordan le Clus – 11th – 5.05.55

Robyn Watermeyer – 15th – 5.23.31

Lindsay Dillon – 16th – 5.28.10

Ina van rensburg – 16th – 5.43.16

Robin Stock – 16th – 5.59.48

Deidre Renison – 22nd – 6.06.52

Ilze Swart – 30th – 6.10.07

Thuthu Songelwa – 24th – 6.14.57

Lara Kirchmann – 32nd – 6.16.59

Nolukhanyo Madlingozi – 35th – 6.29.53

Sandy Stock – 14th – 6.38.02

Roger Muller – 74th – 6.40.12

Ironman African Championships 2021

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Ironman African Championships 2021

Team Tissink produced some outstanding results at the 2021 Ironman African Championships. Thanks to all the hard work and dedication put in by our athletes, we walked away with first prize in the TRICLUB rankings. Congratulations to everyone who took part!

Raynard Tissink – 🥇 M45-49 and 8th age-grouper overall

Kelly Van Der Toorn – 🥇 F45-49

Genelle Van Der Riet – 🥇 F50-54 and 9th age-grouper overall

Roger Hooke – 🥈 M60-64

Adele De La Rey – 🥉 F45-49

Jabu Mpengesi – 22nd M35-39

Yusuf Arendse – 36th M35-39

Willie Van Den Berg – 68th M35-39

Guy Crichton – 22nd M40-44

Ewerd Ras – 63rd M40-44

Andrew Moss – 14th M50-54

Mark Alderman – 16th M50-54

Gavin Biggs – 25th M50-54

Jacqui Bunge – 18th F35-39

Carika Burton – 6th F40-44

Cindy Williamson – 7th F40-44

Corne Ras – 16th F40-44

Thuthu Songelwa – 18th F40-44

Ina Van Rensburg – 20th F45-49

Catherine Sweetnam – 22nd F45-49

SA Duathlon Championships

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SA Duathlon Championships

The Team Tissink athletes produced some great results this past weekend at the SA Duathlon Champs

Congrats to all our athletes and everyone else who competed!!


Raynard Tissink – 1st 45-49 and 1st overall

Jabu Mpengensi – 1st 35-39 and 3rd overall

Jacques Joubert – 1st 50-54

Andre Du Toit – 2nd 55 – 59


Pauline Tunstead – 1st 50-54 and 2nd lady overall

Willie Van Den Berg – 1st 35-39

Roger Hooke – 1st 60-64

Ross Helliwell – 2nd 30-34

Ewerd Ras – 5th 40-44Sprint:Natasha Boshoff – 3rd 35-39

Minister Recognition Award

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Minister Recognition Award

Gauteng come out onto the streets Thursday afternoon to celebrate and cheer Team SA’s Olympic and Paralympic medalists. The celebrations continued at the Birchwood Hotel for the Minister’s Recognition of Excellence Awards! A wonderful evening of celebration for Pieter, Illse and Klein Piet du Preez with Coach Raynard and Coach Natalie at his side

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