Ironman South Africa: Saddle Drunk Style

Our friend Chris,tell us about his experience at the Ironman South Africa 2016.

‘I want you to be around when the baby arrives, so get this exercise thing out your system before it arrives.’ The now infamous words my wife told me that inspired the idea to do the hardest thing I could do, to become an Ironman triathlete.

Truth be told I always wanted to do an Ironman but was too scared to do it for it seemed too tough. Added to that that I was studying to become a priest, working out how to be a father and only done one Olympic distance triathlon before it was fair to say happily confessing to not manning up. But with being the last chance I would get it to do it whilst supposedly still being in my ‘ physical peak’ I entered and threw myself into it at the beginning of December last year.

Now believe what they say, the training is relentless and it’s the most guilty I have ever felt that, despite doing on average 90 minutes a day 5 times a week you think you’re not doing enough. Add in the diet, training in mid-winter and always smelling ‘athletic’ it’s the most selfish thing I have ever done.

But standing on that beach waiting for the start in Port Elizabeth, South Africa was one of the most surreal things I have ever done. Beautiful sunrise of pinks and oranges, 3 helicopters ready to film and 1800 athletes ready to take on swell, heat and wind over 140 miles was gut wrenchingly exhilarating.

But I knew I was at least 80% ready and I had the best kit. Especially what I was wearing. Considering that you are in one outfit for the whole event I had to be confident I would be comfortable. That’s where Stefano and the awesome team at Saddle Drunk came up trumps. Perfectly fitting skin suit material with proper padding for the bike that didn’t affect the run, I knew I had the gear to pull through.

I swam an extra 550 yards because of the waves and the swell, the bike was 112 miles of rolling hills and wind and the marathon was in 32ºC heat. But after 11:39 minutes the words I had dreamed all my life to hear ‘Chris Kennedy you are an Ironman’ filled my ears as I celebrated crossing the line.

I want to thank the community of St Mary’s Ealing including Saddle Drunk gang for all your support. The blisters were surreal but the memories and fulfilment of a dream hugely gratifying. I managed to run London Marathon 2 weeks later and now I can fully embrace parenthood, even bought a gown yesterday!!

I did it all for my Theological College St Mellitus to upgrade our library. Even filmed a poem I wrote about it If you fancy sponsoring you still can

If you would like to ask any questions come see me at St Mary’s Ealing or email

Many thanks Saddle Drunk and God bless!