After receiving and sifting through hundreds of applications from athletes all over South Africa, it is our pleasure to introduce you to 2020’s On Ambassadors!
This year’s applications far exceeded our expectations, both in quantity and quality, and although we can only choose a certain amount of people to represent On at events in 2020, we are already looking forward to your applications in 2021. If this year’s entrants are any indication, we are excited to see what the amateur and professional sporting world will dish up in the future.
We are honoured to introduce you to 2020 On Ambassador, Ruan Nel.
Please tell us about your favourite type of sport? How / when did you start doing this sporting / fitness activity?
Even though I come from a rugby and cricket background, I have developed a huge love for triathlon, and would consider it my favourite sport.
I was inspired by a friend of mine, who took up the sport after he was cured from colon cancer. My first tri event was in 2015, and since then I have completed 3 full Ironman African Championship events, and I have an aspiration of taking on the Double Ultra Ironman in Germany soon.
How has triathlon changed your life?
It has taught me immense discipline, courage and to never give up, no matter how tough it gets. Triathlon reminds me every day how blessed I am to be able to do what I do.
Ironman has shown me that no matter what shape or size you are, or whether you’re a pro athlete or an average Joe, or whether you have a disability or struggles of any kind – once you put your mind to something, nothing’s impossible.
What advice do you have for people who are just starting out with a new fitness routine?
Have a very clear goal. Enter a race before you start training. If you have an entry, you have something to train for. If you don’t, you will always look for an excuse to skip training and move your “goal” to next time. Having an entry shows your first sign of real commitment.
How important is having quality footwear when training?
It’s the most important tool I have. Taking part in endurance races is tough enough, so I can use any help I can get.
Being on my feet for so long demands the best, most comfortable, lightest, most durable shoe available. Technology has proven how the body benefits from a great running shoe like On, and seeing all the effort going into making our ambitious goals achievable through running in On shoes is incredible. To top it all, this is the sexiest-looking shoe out there: “If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good.”
Do you prefer to train alone or with other people?
I don’t have a preference. Training with people stronger than I am help bring out the best in me, though.
What race or event are you most looking forward to this year?
The Ironman 70.3 Durban – I’m looking to qualify for World Champs during this race. The World Champs are in New Zealand on 28 November. It is a very long shot, as I have an 8-to-5 job, but as I’ve seen over the years, nothing is impossible.
What is your sporting motto?
If it was easy, everybody would do it, so grab a teaspoon of cement and harden up!
What role do you believe your sporting discipline can play in the upliftment of communities or of our country?
Achieving something extraordinary can do wonders for all around you. It’s all about inspiring and giving hope – this ignites that, “but I can do that as well” thought, and that changes lives in an instant!
I’ve seen it so many times – it’s such a pleasing sight to see someone take action, set a goal, go through absolute torture, wanting to give up at some stage, and then persevere and achieve that goal, only to be an inspiration for the next guy he or she reaches out to.