Jabu Mpengesi’s Tri Rise
Jabu grew up as the youngest of four children in the small Eastern Cape town of Middledrift. He attended Zukhanye Senior Secondary School in the Mzantsi location near King William’s Town, and at 16, went to study electrical engineering at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in PE. Jabu was always active and sporty, and he played in the varsity soccer team.
During this time, he met Paul Wolff who loaned him a bicycle and introduced him to triathlons. Jabu only learnt to swim in 2002, at the age of 18. That year he completed his first Olympic distance triathlon and continued to train and take part in short races with Paul’s Development Team.
When IRONMAN 70.3 came to PE for the first time in 2004, Jabu took part and completed it in a time of 06:13. The following year
he completed his first full IRONMAN. From then, the IRONMAN bug bit hard. To date, Jabu has raced in 10 full IRONMAN SA events as well as Wales and Austria, his best time being at this year’s IRONMAN SA with a time of 10:23. Jabu has raced in eight 70.3 IRONMAN SA events.
One of his career highlights includes finishing 70.3 IRONMAN Buffalo City in 05:01 in 2008, and qualifying for the 70.3 World Champs in Clearwater, Florida. His biggest goal, of course, is to compete at Kona, and he believes that with the help of his coach Raynard Tissink, he’ll stand a chance to compete for a slot in the 70.3 World Champs in Nelson Mandela Bay in 2018.