DURBAN - DEAF sportsman and Olympic medallist Terence Parkin has Blue Lagoon in his sights at the end of a 920km journey from Gauteng to Durban that has seen him traversing the highlands of Lesotho and swimming the Midmar Mile.
He has been on a series of cycling, swimming, running and canoe missions to raise funds for disabled children for the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation South Africa which supports children with disabilities.
After completing the Midmar Mile, Parkin, 37, spent two days training for canoeing as well as getting to know his Dusi partner, veteran canoeist Mark Mulder.
“We hadn’t met before so we are both using these two days to practise a bit and get to know each other’s styles,” he said before the race.
"Mark is a seasoned Dusi paddler so I am confident he will guide us through the challenge. I do worry about the low water level as this means more running with the boat.”
During the cycling leg of his odyssey in Lesotho, on the Roof of Africa where the altitude at one point is 3 225m, Parkin found himself on tarred roads, on sand and potholes.
“The last 15km was the toughest as the inclines were incredibly steep. I battled to get the bike going but just didn’t give up. My support team encouraged me and got out of the vehicle to run alongside me. A few local kids here and there joined me for some time and ran alongside the bike.”
Parkin was initially going to do the whole event on a mountain bike. “My wife appealed on Facebook for a road bike and fortunately someone who knew my family came and dropped off a super road bike at our house. This was a real bonus as a road bike is much faster and lighter and better suited to the tar roads.
“Both bikes managed the whole journey very well.”
The Midmar Mile was next. His 25th.
“To have come so far and to then win in the deaf category and my age group category, 31 to 40, was absolutely stunning. Not something I expected.”
“A highlight of Midmar was to have Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation South Africa CEO Ryk Neethling pop in as a surprise to support me. It was incredibly motivating and a very pleasant surprise.”
Then came the running, from Midmar to Pietermaritzburg. “The run was mostly downhill which is much harder than a steady incline or flat. It’s taxing on the toes and knees.
“When I arrived at the start of the Dusi, my legs refused to bend for a while so I had to stand without moving and slowly got them to bend.”
The Dusi Canoe Marathon will finish today.
THE INDEPENDENT ON SATURDAY