Full name: Theo Blignaut
Date of birth: 17 September 1988
Place of birth: Johannesburg
VO2 max: 79
Body fat percentage: 6.5%
Shoes size: 11
Rest HR: 37-40
Max HR: 200
Favourite food: pizza and braaivleis
Favourite treat: ice-cream
Favourite movie: Sea-Biscuit, Faith Like Potatoes, Braveheart and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Favourite book: The Bible, Eric Thomas “The Secret to Success”
Favourite musician: Folk, Indy rock
Hobbies: playing guitar, surfing and fly fishing
Heroes: My Mom, Jan Frodeno ,Conrad Stoltz and Angus Buchan
Anything worthwhile does not come easy- Theo Blignaut
Pain is temporary, chicks dig scars, quitting lasts forever and glory never dies.
There is no such thing as bad weather, just soft people – Bill Bowerman
The difference between being good and being is best is that little bit extra that you put in.
I was the second child born to Juan and Adriana Blignaut on the 17th of September 1988. My older sister Elsje had arrived the previous year and my younger sister Juandri was to arrive 3 years later. My dad was a career military man and my mom was a teacher at this time.
The first 4 years of my life were spent in Johannesburg, but of this I obviously remember nothing. We then moved to a farm outside Zeerust and this is where I really discovered my love of the bush. I spent my days climbing mulberry trees and eatng the berries until I felt sick. I had a goat as a pet and was very active chasing sheep back into the kraal and swimming in the plaas dam. These were days that I have very fond memories of.
My dad was offered a job in Mafikeng and we sadly left the plaas for town. It was here that I started breeding snakes and I spent many hours looking for trouble in the shape of a snake.
School was not my happiest place as I was also a small child and I struggled academically. It was later discovered that I am severely dyslexic, but this did not help my playground woes. So school was where I would rather not have been and as a result I was what teachers called ‘a problem child.’
I was a very active kid and enjoyed sports such as cricket and rugby, even making the provincial u13 cricket team.
My friends and I were constantly building ramps for our dirt jumping bikes and racing each other around track. We would end off our daily activities with a trip to the butchery for a vetkoek and coke. The skills that I developed here were to help me greatly with my bike handling skills later on.
I had previously been an avid skateboarder, but that all ended one fateful day when I tried to grind a railing and my board broke and I landed where no boy should land. That was the end of my skateboard career and I never touched one again.
After spending my primary school days at Mafikeng Primary were my mom was the Maths teacher, I left for boarding school in Lichtenburg. It was here that I developed my high pain threshold as being a “problem child” I had a knack for attracting trouble. I endured many beatings at the hands of matric boys and the Sirs.
They even broke a Gemsbok horn over my bum!
My school days were spent trying to bunk as many classes as I could get away with, with my best line being: “Juffrou sal my nie glo nie…” I ran track twice a week, swam 2km about three times a week and cycled 1 hour twice a week.
I somehow made my way to the end of my schooling career, much to many peoples amazement. I got my matric certificate and after schooled I just planned to try and make my way in triathlon as my results did not indicate that I was made for tertiary studies.
Then Albie de Lange noticed that I made a decent triathlete and organized that I went to the University of Pretoria on a bursary to do a certificate in Sports Science.
This was the real beginning of my triathlon career and where I really learnt what it meant to train and train hard. As they say, the rest is history!
How i started with triathlon
It all started in January 2005, it was the end of a long, hot school week in Lichtenburg, in the middle of no where – between the mielies and cattle. My mom phoned asking if I thought that I could swim 400m, cycle 10km and run 2.5km. I replied that yes, I thought I could. For what reason? She told me that the coming weekend was the North West triathlon champs if I was keen to go and go and try it out? I was a bit apprehensive, but keen to try out this thing called triathlon (driekamp).
I got home from res on the Friday and the race was on the Sunday so I had some time to get my MTB bike ready for the race. Little did I know that it was going to be a very long and hard 10km on the road with my MTB bike – but I was up for it. On the Saturday I started getting all my “triathlon gear” ready. My swim gear was my speedo ,goggles and my red swimming cap. I had a pair of cycling shorts, a cycling shirt, socks and takkies that I planned to put on in the transition. I knew nothing of cleats or even toeclips at this stage. So my first transition would be slow but, boy would the second be fast! I’d be running in my cycling shorts, with a mattress between my legs.
The night before the race Mom made some old school carboloading pasta and mince. I’d be ready for the big triathlon the next day. That night I went to bed excited abut my first triathlon and not worrying that I had done next to no training for it. Ignorance is bliss!
Woke up on the Sunday morning and it was bucketing with rain so my mom phoned the hospital in Klerksdorp were the race was to be held to find out if it was raining. It wasn’t. So off we went in the family bakkie. It was a long 2 hour drive that I had to endure my nerves.
We arrived in Klerksdorp and I just saw lots and lots of people and lots of nice racing wheels with skinny wheels. The nerves started to work over-time.
We parked and unloaded my bike. I gathered all my triathlon “gear” and headed off to registration to get body marked.
I then took myself to the transition area where they checked my bike and I took my bike in to rack it. Next to bike I put my takkies and cycling kit and I was ready for the race.
I put my speedo, cap and goggles on and I was ready to race. We lined up at the start and waited for the gun.
We were of! Into the dam and it seemed that my dam swimming was paying off. The only difference was that this time I wasn’t chasing some kind of animal – I was racing.
I exited the water in first place, much too my amazement. I didn’t really know how this whole triathlon thing worked, but I made my way to bike. Flip I was tired!
I started to put on my cycling kit and by the time that I had my shoes on I had fallen down into third place. I made my way to the mount line and jumped on bike. Off I went, flying on my big mtb. A few more boys overtook me on the bike leg but I still thought that I was going super fast.
Got off the bike in 5th position and made my way back to transition. Finally, the leg that I had actually done some training for. It was here that chasing sheep on the weekends was going to help me.
I ran my little heart out and caught the guys one by one before I finally finished in 2nd position. Boy, was I proud of myself!
The triathlon bug had bitten and it was to become to passion. I had a lot of work to do, but I knew that I wanted more of this adrenalin rush. I wanted to win!