Location, Location, Location

It seldom gets below freezing temperatures in the majority of South Africa, and I was based in Durban and Pietermaritzburg on the North East coast for the vast majority of my time during training. With South Africa fighting in the rat race to become a first world country, the performance training facilities were spread out across the country. The most popular facilities are based in Cape Town and Johannesburg, but it would serve as a huge endeavour for any self supported athlete outside of those two cities to embark on the journey. Then, with the economy taking a knock from the global recession, sponsorship’s were few and far between, and, unless you belonged to an existing team or had wealthy parents to fit the buck, preparation for racing became even more difficult. I was a student, at the time, and I often sacrificed healthy meals to save money to enter races; I believe the term is “Paniagua”, racing on “bread and water”. I trained without the help of a coach and other major athlete support systems, which I believe was the cause of my delayed results in the sport. To some extent I was young and naive, so perhaps I just didn’t do enough to secure the support structure I now have in the USA. It certainly was a learning curve in my early 20s. Since arriving in the USA I have found a coach/mentor. Last season I posted several podiums and was featured at Xterra National and World ChampionshipI now train out of Texas, when the climate allows for year round training plans, but when it heats up I will be moving to Colorado for a month or two. With last seasons success, my coach and I have decided to chase the dream of Rio Olympics 2016. It will be a journey for sure. 

Grayson Keppler