Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 158 May 2023 | Page 51

MULTISPORT since , with his wife and three kids . He works as a petrol attendant at a local Engen petrol station in Mount Pleasant . Before taking up triathlon , he was an avid road runner , and he says that running has always been a passion . “ I was a sprinter during my school years . I ran the 100-metre distance and had a personal best time of 10.34 seconds ,” he recounts .
“ I stopped running for a couple years after school , and it was only in the last 10 years or so that I had the desire to run again ,” continues Kura . “ One evening , I decided to go for a light jog , but I ended up running around 15 kilometres , and still felt good . I was surprised , so I started running more often . I then joined a running club and ran my first 10-kilometre race in 36 minutes .” From there , he built up to running both the Two Oceans and Comrades Marathons for the first time in 2013 , completing Oceans in 4:38:16 , and crossing the Comrades finish line in 10:53:18 .
The following year he did both ultra-marathons again , going slightly faster at Two Oceans ( 4:33:43 ), and improving his Comrades time by just over two hours , coming home in 8:51:33 ! Three years later , in 2017 , he finished a third Comrades in 11:23:53 , but his best was to come in 2022 , when he clocked a personal best of 8:45:58 at Comrades . However , in recent years his focus has been split between triathlon and running , thanks to his dream of becoming an IRONMAN , which he says began about five years ago .
The following year he did both ultra-marathons again , going slightly faster at Two Oceans ( 4:33:43 ), and improving his Comrades time by just over two hours , coming home in 8:51:33 !
A proud Kura wears his first IRONMAN finisher ’ s medal while at work in Gqeberha .
The bug to get into triathlon bit Kura hard in 2018 , although he admits he had no idea what it required . “ I spoke to some of the friends I was running with at the time , to see if they thought triathlon was a viable option for me . I was told that it took a lot of commitment to do triathlon , that it was a timeintensive sport . However , I was still interested in the sport , despite hearing about the obstacles I would face if I pursued this dream ,” says Kura .
Right Place , Right Time
The first obstacle Kura had to overcome was that he had never ridden a bicycle before . “ I thought that ’ s where my starting point should be , so in 2019 , I taught myself to ride a bike for the first time in my life . Then my current boss taught me how to use cycling cleats , and I went to a guy named Hanson Singaphi , at a local bike shop , and he took me on a ride , which helped with my confidence . Hanson then mentioned that I would need to learn how to swim and practise often if I wanted to do triathlon , especially if I wanted to enter an IRONMAN race .”
That saw Kura obtain the contact details of a swimming coach in Cape Town , who gave him advice over the phone about what type of training he needed to do . “ He told me to get a pool noodle , then join a local gym and start swimming , but I had to pay R20 a day to get into the gym , and after a while that got too expensive for me , so I went to swim in the ocean at Sardinia Bay instead . When I got there , I saw a sign saying no lifeguards were available . I was tempted to go in , but I saw that the current was strong , so I went to the next beach instead . When I got there , I saw there were lifeguards , so I felt it was safe to start swimming , but I struggled ,” he recalls .
“ When I got out the water , I went to one of the lifeguards , who referred me to a local swim coach . I contacted him , and he offered to help me without charging me , but I had to go when he was not booked
Headwinds made the second lap of the 2023 bike leg a lot tougher !
with paying clients . He was extremely busy , so I ended up going back to the beach to practise on my own . One day , while trying to swim , I bumped into another lifeguard , Mister Mike Du Toit , who showed me some swimming drills and tips . When I felt I was ready , I ventured down to Hobie Beach , where the IRONMAN swim start used to be , and I went into the sea and swam about 500 metres … because I was feeling brave that day !”
Another fortuitous meeting happened a few days later , when Kura was running hill repeats . “ This guy stopped on the side of the road and spoke to me . He encouraged me to follow my dream of doing a triathlon , and offered to look for a sponsor for me , so that I could get an entry for the IRONMAN , and he made me promise to practise my swimming and biking . Since I did not have my own bicycle , he looked around and found a second-hand one for me . I was so grateful , because I had never owned a bike before ,” says Kura .
Overcoming Obstacles
Unfortunately , that bicycle did not last too long , due to an irresponsible driver , and Kura was lucky not to be seriously injured in the incident early in 2020 . “ I was doing an early evening training ride when a car crashed into me . I had the right of way , but the gentleman did not stop at the Stop sign . I got thrown over the bonnet of the car and onto the ground , and I was badly shaken up ... and I also had to find another
A dream come true for Kura as he officially becomes an IRONMAN in 2021 .