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Ironman meets Ironmom


Thousands of athletes were down in the dumps on Sunday morning when they could not participate in the Ironman African Championship which was meant to have been held in Port Elizabeth. 

But, with the event postponed over coronavirus fears, one local mom refused to accept her race and fundraising journey were over. 

HeraldLIVE reports that Charlotte Raubenheimer, 42, had signed up for her first-ever Ironman triathlon hoping to raise R70,000 for Phillip Jansen van Rensburg, 52, a resident of Cheshire Homes near her home in Summerstrand, who desperately needed a wheelchair.

Not giving up

But incredibly she still went on to raise R85,000 on Sunday when Raubenheimer and husband/coach Jean, 41, simulated the entire triathlon at their house — a 3.86km swim, a 180.25km bike ride and a 42.20km run – in that order.

“Phillip is a friend of mine who has been passing my house for seven years [in his wheelchair] and he is always very friendly and stops for a chat,” Raubenheimer says.

“At one point I didn’t see him for a while as his wheelchair, which he operates with his chin, had a broken battery.”

“I was devastated but then I remembered the saying ‘work with the one in front of you’ and he was in front of me.”

She contacted Cheshire Homes’ Deidre Burger, set up a Back A Buddy fundraising page and began training.

When the  Ironman organisers announced the African Championship would moved to November, Raubenheimer was undeterred. 

The race goes ahead

On Sunday the mum of two swam, cycled — on an exercise bike — and ran around her house while cheered on by her husband and sons Jeanré, 11 and Leo, 6.

Charlotte with her family who supported her through her on Sunday

“Running was definitely the hardest. I had 133m [of space to run on], she says. 
“My husband measured it and I made 1,580 turns.

“I woke up this morning [Monday] and prayed this could be a story of hope as people need that now.”

“In a time of being locked in and in lockdown it’s important to support each other.”

Her husband, Jean, had this to say: “We felt he couldn’t wait until November [to get Phillip’s new wheelchair] so she decided to go ahead and we are very grateful to everyone who contributed [donated].

“We tried to simulate it [the race] as close to the real thing as possible.

“She kept her chin up and her sense of humour for most of the day.”

Jean Raubenheimer

Burger says Raubenheimer was incredible. “There are some people who make commitments and those are never fulfilled but she did,” Burger says.

The plan is to hand over Phillip’s new wheelchair on May 7, lockdown dependent.


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