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Amadeus is lucky to have some very inspirational women working at the ACOs in Africa, and Marisa Van Der Linde is definitely one of them.

On September 4, Marisa will be participating in the prestigious Ironman 70.3 World Championships, which will be held on Australia’s Sunshine Coast at Mooloolabe Beach.

We sat down with Marisa and chatted to her about what motivated her to participate in such a trying event…

“One day, while I was driving in my car, I decided I wanted to do something interesting,” she says. “I thought a triathlon would be a nice, so I bought a bicycle and decided to start training.”

Marisa doesn’t believe in half measures. She immediately took the leap and entered Ironman 70.3 East London. “I realised this was quite a big thing and that I might need a coach, so I joined a training group.”

To date, Marisa completed 4 Ironman 70.3 races, also known as the half Ironman. This triathlon consists of a 1.9km swim, a 90km cycle race and a 21.1km run. Without a doubt, however, the World Championship will be the biggest race of her life, says Marisa. “Of course, I have done the distance before, but for me to go and compete at the level of the World Championships with people from all over the world, that’s really special.”

Marisa VD Linde

Before heading to Australia in September, Marisa continues to train hard despite the cold Johannesburg winter temperatures. “I train about 12 to 15 hours a week. I get up at 4.30 and get two hours of training done on my indoor power training before heading to the office. After work, I go swimming for at least an hour. The biggest challenge is without a doubt getting up early in the morning.”

Marisa’s husband is very supportive and proud of his wife’s achievements. “Fortunately, my husband used to play rugby on provincial and national level, so he understands the dedication required to actually achieve something. He motivates me and kicks me out of bed in the mornings, even if he doesn’t get up himself,” she laughs, adding that during the weekends both her husband and she ride mountain bikes to train and spend time together.

Marisa’s husband will be at her side to support her in Australia, and to take her to watch the rugby after the Ironman 70.3. “Of course, we’re going to go watch South Africa play the Ozzies in Brisbane a week after the triathlon. When I qualified, the first thing my husband googled was the rugby in Australia.”

Which qualities do people need to participate in such a trying event? “I call it the three Ds: you need to be Dedicated, you need to be Driven and you need to be Demented,” laughs Marisa. “Add a good measure of self-belief. If you don’t believe in yourself, you’re never going to do it.”

How have these qualities helped her in her professional life? Sometimes, you don’t want to get up and go train. Business is the same, sometimes you don’t feel like doing something, but there are people who depend on you.”

Marisa explains it’s important for anyone to realise that if you don’t challenge yourself, you won’t grow, you won’t get better, you won’t learn…