WHO’S THE BOSS
From an inactive 120kgs to an 11:20 IRONMAN finisher, Luvuyo Bangazi is an inspiration, and proof that being overweight doesn’t have to fly.
The New Year rolled around and along with that, the annual Corporate Triathlon Challenge. The race consists of a 380m swim, 18km bike and 4.2km run, and can be done by an individual or a team of two or three members. Boomtown had registered a team, and I had being picked for the cycle. So I borrowed Siya’s bike, rode it a few times pre the Corporate “IRONMAN” and that was that.
We completed the race in 01:30 and I was chuffed with myself and ready to commit to more in terms of fitness. I bought Siya’s other bike – a Fuji 8-speed Sora, which was heavy as hell. I began to ride more and more, and later that year I did my first 100km cycle in just over five hours. I was hooked. In 2013, I volunteered at IRONMAN South Africa, andwas posted at the bike check-in. At 6am on race day I rode my bike to go and watch the start, then I spent the whole day working my shift until midnight, and afterwards I rode home again. After that day, I knew I wantedto do IRONMAN. I saw it as my way into a lifestyle of fitness and health.
That July, I registered for IRONMAN 70.3 East London. Even though I couldn’t swim at all, I paid the entry fee. To me, that was a sure sign of commitment. All I had to do from then on was work backwards. I had two swim coaches to help introduce me to swimming. Later that year, one of the regular IMSA emails arrived in my inbox and something caught my attention – a “Finish Line” programme for seasoned and newbie swimmers, by the one and only Ray Tissink. I signed up immediately and attended my first squad session (read: drowning session) in September.
The goal was to finish my first IM 70.3 in January 2014. With Tissink coaches based in Cape Town, things weren’t so easy. One day I went to buy my first wetsuit, and I happened to meet a guy called Hanson, who has now become a very good friend. Hanson promised to take me out for an ocean swim and we managed to get it together that December, just five weeks before 70.3 SA.
It’s been an amazing journey since my first IRONMAN in 2014. Since then, I’ve managed to rack up seven 70.3 distance events (my best time being 05:31 at the 2015 Durban event) and four full IRONMAN events (my best time being 11:20 at this year’s event). Last year was my 40th birthday and I wanted to do something special to try and give back, through this sport that has given me a new lease on life. I picked the Smile Foundation and the 70.3 Bahrain event in the Middle East. It was a special time with my family (plus I managed to raise R22 000 for Smile). I’m looking forward to 70.3 Durban, and I’ll be competing at Challenge Regensburg in Germany in August.
Competing in IRONMAN and living an active lifestyle has me feeling energised, goal-orientated, focused and, believe it or not, a lot happier. Yep, less bucks in my pocket (seen race fees recently?) but definitely happier. What is most exciting is seeing my family follow suit. I think a healthy, active lifestyle is the best example we can set for our kids so they can have a better quality of life.
Above: Luvuyo at IMAC 2017; Durban Ultra 2017.
LUVUYO’S TRI PICKS
AGE GROUP: 40-44
COACH: Raynard Tissink
TEAM: Team Tissink Triathlon
WETSUIT: Blu Smooth Mark 2
NUTRITION PRE-SWIM: Nutritech Amino Boost
TYRES: Continental Grand Prix 4000
HELMET: Casco TS
SHOES: Specialized, Sport RD
NUTRITION: Nutritech Endurade Drink and Bars
SHOES: Newton Distance 4
NUTRITION: Endurade Sprint
2014: IRONMAN 70.3
East London, 07:23
2014: IRONMAN SA, 14:15
2015: IRONMAN 70.3 East London (Team Swim and Bike), 4th overall
2015: IRONMAN SA, 12:38
2015: IRONMAN 70.3 Durban, 05:31
2016: IRONMAN 70.3 East London, 05:57
2016: IRONMAN SA, 11:43
2016: IRONMAN 70.3 Bahrain, 05:36
2017: Durban Ultra 70.3, 06:09
2017: IRONMAN SA, 11:20