A carnival atmosphere created by supporters culminated in sweet success for iron lady Carla Annas, who completed her second self-organised triathlon event on Sunday 27 November, this time to raise funds for a full scholarship for a girl child to the Stellenbosch Waldorf School.
Originally organised to take place between Pringle Bay and Gordon’s Bay, the event was relocated to Stellenbosch following warnings of strong winds along the coastline ahead of the weekend. And the decision paid off, as supporters – a large contingent of them school learners – found it easier and more accessible to show their support and cheer her on in their hometown, and ushered her towards an impressive finish time under seven hours.
“It was an incredible day and fitting to use the Waldorf School as the base,” said Annas, who brushed off any post-event pains due to her increasingly improving athleticism after training for a year.
“The race went well. I mean, the mental aspect of the swim was challenging, but people were with me in the water and I quickly settled into a rhythm.
“The cycle was also great fun. My cycling coach Annchen Clarke and other supporters joined me, so it went quicker than I thought and I held a good pace.”
Annas admitted to feeling some fatigue towards the end of the run, but water and energy drinks did the trick and she managed to stay strong all the way to the finish line.
“The supporters were incredible,” she said. “The entire school came together to shout and cheer me on, holding up signs. They made chalk drawings and wrote messages on the road, which really kept me smiling. Some people even drove their cars next to me and ran like 500 m with me, which was so encouraging and motivating.
“Doing all this for a good cause really elevated everything to mean so much more and with purpose.”
At the finish line, a sense of accomplishment engulfed Annas and she felt more committed than ever to reach her fundraising goal of R500 000 for a learner to be given a scholarship to the Waldorf School.
“We raised R71 000 on race day, which is really amazing, and we’re so grateful to everyone who’s contributed,” she said.
“Many more people have pledged to support the campaign and we’re also planning more events and fundraisers. At no point will the scholarship be affected as we have enough now at least to get a child started at the Stellenbosch Waldorf School.”
Annas hasn’t ruled out more triathlon events after admitting that she still felt a “triathlon bug”.
Earlier this year Annas competed in her first-ever self-organised ironman 70.3 event at Pringle Bay and the experience inspired her to establish Community in Action, a movement to support education in South Africa through sport (“Iron woman creates own challenge”, 22 June).
Annas is also chief stewardess of a yacht overseas and works every alternate three months. She leaves again this Friday (9 December) and will return in March next year.
- The fundraising campaign is still open for contributions. Find @carla.annas on Instagram, where the link and QR code for donations can be found.