Gerhardt van Niekerk Ran Off 32kg!

Sedentary CEO to Ironman – in 14 months.

Lisa Abdellah |

Age: 50
Home Town: Cape Town
Height: 1.89m
Occupation: CEO BetaPlus Group Solutions
Time Required: 14 Months
Then: 131kg
Now: 99kg



My weight reached an all-time high, and my self-esteem and energy levels dipped to the lowest they’d ever been. I couldn’t even fit into size 44 jeans anymore, and I was constantly out of breath. When my business partners and my business coach suggested a lifestyle change, I set myself the extreme goal of finishing a full Ironman within a year.

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I thought it only natural I would lose weight by following a rigorous Ironman training programme. But it’s not that simple. There is no magic diet or short cut. I realised the only sustainable long-term solution to my problem was to train with like-minded people who were focused on the same goal I was.
So I joined Embark, a Cape Town-based multisport club that offers coached sessions in swimming, cycling and running. I was offered unlimited support and honest comments, and the group helped me to set realistic benchmarks. Surrounded by my Embark family, I ended up finishing 43 events in one year, including 18 running races and a full Ironman.
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You have to have endless amounts of energy to cut it in the marketing-business world, and running has given me plenty of that. I’m also able to explore new places without the restraints imposed by an overweight body. The biggest reward running has given me? I get to live longer and spend more time with my family. I’m already making the most of this by spending hours of unrestricted time training for triathlons with both of my sons, aged 16 and 22.

Inspired by Gerhardt’s story? Join the club and start your weight-loss journey with the Run It Off Plan below. What are you waiting for?


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