Hanli Bezuidenhoud

How long have you been training with the Sterk Span Academy?
Since August 2010 (almost 8 years)
2. Give us a short background of your sporting career?
At school I mainly competed in track (hurdles and 400m), hockey and squash (best achievement was at
age 12 th when I was ranked 6 th in the country). My hockey and squash continued through Varsity where the
highlight was the yearly SAU’s…where socialising was mostly the reason for attending.
A year out of Varsity I set my goal on the Argus (that was 1997) and from there on I was hooked on cycling.
Slowly I migrated to the Radio 5 Triathlons…! When this became boring, I met up (via triathlon) with crazys
that were doing Adventure Racing. And my first Adventure Race done in 1998.
Due to work changes, I could not train long hours anymore and started kick boxing for 3 years up to 2001 . I
was selected for the Springbok Squad for an international with USA, but on a training session before this, I
busted my rib so never actually achieved my colours. But loved the sport never the less.
From early 2002 to 2005 it was a bit of a blur…the only club I was a member in was the Standard Bank
Wine of the Month Club! My son was born in 2005 and basically, I was enjoying this phase of my life up to
2009 and did not much care about training. Mid 2010 I started chatting with a salesperson at Fritz Pienaar
Cycles (at Southdown’s Mall), and he knew a young coach that could help me with my swimming and
triathlons if I wanted to do Ironman. As the discussion went around me wanting to buy a Tri-bike for that
very reason….
So, it was ordained that I went for an “audition” with Nico Sterk at Centurion Virgin Active in August 2010….
the rest is history;
 Sabie Extreme – December 2010
 2 x 70.3’s East London (2011 & 2012)
 2 x Ironman Port Elizabeth (2011 & 2012)
 Sani2C 2013
 2 Oceans 2015
 Warrior Race Elite x 2 and 2 with Hubby
 5 x Xterra Buffelspoort (podium in age category twice)
 Doublemoon x 3
 Kinetic Sprint Events x 4
 Full Moon x 6
 Brauhouse 2016 – 45km (Trail Run)
 Crazy Store Magalies 2016 – 30km (Trail Run)
 Magalies Monster x 2 (MTB)
 Expedition Africa 2014
 Canoe Triathlon x3 (Winners of the Ladies Teams Category with Erika Vercuiel)
 Rockman X 2 (podium in age category for both)
 Wartrail 2017
 Gauteng Canoe Marathon 2017 – 2 nd in Age Cat
 SA Canoe Marathon – 4 th in Age Cat
 Expedition 2017 – 8 th Team Overall and 4 th South African Team.
3. What has been your biggest achievement thus far?
I want to select 3 events that I think shaped my weekend-warrior life attitude:
 2012 Ironman Port Elizabeth – this was a great mental race with the bad weather and unexpected
challenges all through the day…Now, looking back I think this was a race that put me on the path
for even a bigger mental challenge…Expedition 2014 (or anything I didn’t have to do a swim leg).
 2014 Expedition Africa – this race, although we thought we knew what we were doing, we really
didn’t. We had a real rookie race. With many rookie mistakes. All the basics of training was
forgotten and we got stuck on logistics and hype of the race. At the time, it was a very low point in
all the team members racing careers. I experienced a few life lessons that is invaluable:
- “real life is never as bad as a bad adventure race“,
- “all the small things matter, attention to detail is crucial “,
- “always race in the moment, the finish will come eventually”
- “the race is REALY never over until you get to the finish.”
- “eat”
 Wartrail 2018
I found hell on the mountain, then on the bike hell found us and then on the water hell swallowed
me and spit me out (10 times) – was a mental race from start to finish. In terms of conditioning for
Expedition it was a key preparation race.
4. What inspires you most about training with the Academy?
Like-minded ordinary people chasing out of the ordinary goals. Living forward with positive attitude has
made many of my bucket list events come true, and with such great team spirit I experience at Sterk Span,
even the difficult training days ends in smiles!
The best is the coach(‘s) is able to adapt to your needs and current day science is always applied for the
athlete’s benefit. Nico Sterk at first, and the team now…is a “rudder” in my life and helps me navigate the
complicated obstacles of lives’ little and big adventures. And because drugs are illegal, my daily dose of
endorphins is dished out without hesitance by Sterk Span.
Other than your own family’s support that is the basis for achieving the training time and giving courage for
every race, the Sterk Span family is always there ready to encourage, support, chant and praise your
  • Sterk Span Coaching Academy specializes in tailor made training programs, coaching session and advice for triathlon, swimming, learn to swim for adults, cycling, running and related sports such as adventure racing. Our athlete base range from lifestyle orientated individuals to national level athletes who compete at the highest level possible. We also offer services and training sessions for weight loss and lifestyle management.