“Actuarial Analyst in the Actuarial & Insurance Solutions Department at Deloitte & Touche in Johannesburg and Motivational Speaker” does not sound like the CV of a C6 Quadriplegic.
(He holds a BSc and an Honours Degree specializing in investment management from the University of Johannesburg).
And, neither does “World record holder over 10 000 m, Ironman world record holder or having successfully completed the 8 km swim from Robben Island to Cape Town”.
Add “Husband and Father” to that and you begin to see the CV of a truly remarkable man.
Yet these are only a few of the highlights in the career of Nicolas Pieter du Preez.
Growing up in Randburg, Pieter was an avid athlete, swimmer, and triathlete. In 2003, at the age of 23, he was hit by a car which left him with a broken neck, femur, and knee.
Pieter spent 42 days in ICU, unable to move anything. Over the next two years, he regained the use of his wrists, biceps, and shoulders. He now has 15 percent of the functionality of an able-bodied person.
“I’m now a C6 quadriplegic, which means I don’t have any triceps, I can’t move my fingers or hands and I’m completely paralyzed from the chest down”, he is quoted as saying in a 2017 interview with In the Bunch.
Pieter competes in the Athletics T51; Hand Cycling H1, and Swim S1 classes.
Here are the highlights of his remarkable career:
- SA wheelchair rugby team 2005,
- National Champion hand cycling 2006-2019,
- National Champion wheelchair racing 2009-2019,
- Multiple Africa record holder 200, 800, 1500, 5000, 10000, marathon,
- World Record holder 10 000m,
- 2 x Midmar mile finisher,
- First C6 Quad to swim Midmar receiving Courage Trophy,
- Silver and bronze medallist Athletics World Champs 2011,
- 7 x Berlin Marathon champion (T51) 2012 –2018, course record holder,
- 5x Padua International Marathon champion (T51) 2011, 2014 –2016, 2019, course record holder,
- 3 x Oita International marathon champion (T51) 2015–2018, course record holder,
- London 2012 SA Paralympic team, 6thplace 100m 2012 Paralympics, London,
- Paracycling4 x World Champion, 8 x World Championship medallist, Multiple World Cup medallist,
- Paratri2014 Silver medal at SA and African champs,
- 4x Finalist at SA Sports Awards (2014, 2015, 2017, 2018),
- World First Quadriplegic in history to finish & current World Record holder of IM70.3 and IM triathlon,
- 4x Ironman finisher as a quadriplegic,
- 2016 Laureus World sports award finalist,
- Robben Island Swim 8km –World first SCI (Quadriplegic) in history.
The Robben Island swim was particularly challenging as he is unable to regulate his body temperature in the icy water. Hypothermia set in with 2 km to go, but he was determined to finish.
“I always want to be the first. Everyone knows who the first guy on the moon was; nobody knows who the second guy was,” he told In the Bunch.
In the same interview, Du Preez explained his ventures were not just for himself and that they often inspired others with disabilities.
“It’s not that I want other quads to go do an Ironman, but, by doing the impossible things, others can start to see it is possible. We all have that power to create hope, inspire and create a better life for those around us.”
But there’s more to come, Pieter is determined to swim the English Channel, break the marathon world record and finish the Ironman in under 12-hours.
“I won’t make this years’ OCC for the first time in 14yrs as the date falls over UCI Para-cycling world champs in the Netherlands, so very sad. I have won the 42.2km quad hand cycle race 12 or 13 times now if my memory serves me correctly.”
The Outeniqua Cycle Challenge
The 17’Th OCC, a wheelchair race which attracts athletes from all over the world, will take place in George on Saturday 14 September 2019!
A wheelchair race exclusively for disabled athletes!
And – every year it is getting bigger and better! The number of entries has increased dramatically, with disabled athletes and other persons in wheelchairs flocking to this annual event.
The Challenge is not only unique as being the first and only event exclusively for the disabled in South Africa, but it is staged in the picturesque town of George, in the heart of the spectacular Garden Route in the Western Cape, situated at the foot of the splendour of the Outeniqua Mountains.
Athletes in racing wheelchairs, adapted bicycles, hand cycles, basketball chairs, and ordinary wheelchairs have made this into the premier sporting event for the disabled on the South African sporting calendar. It undoubtedly has the potential to develop into one of the best events of its kind in the world!
Apart from the George Municipality, Lancewood and the Department of Cultural Affairs & Sport is supporting the event. Halfway Toyota is the venue host for the event.
Event Organising Body: Disabled Road Race Foundation (DRFF)
Race Organiser: Alewijn Dippenaar
Mobile: 082 457 5675
Headline Sponsor: George Municipality
Golden Tear Sponsors: Dept. of Cultural Affairs & Sport and Lancewood
Venue Host: Halfway Toyota George
Product Sponsor: Safari