The Mental Battle with Donovan Geldenhuys

Donovan Geldenhuys, aka 'Donovan Dutch', 'Frank the tank' or the 'Wattbazooka!', is probably the most intimidating amateur athlete in South Africa.


He's the reigning Ironman World Champion, he's a Chartered Accountant, he runs 3 businesses, and he has a wife and 2 kids. The 40 year old's publicly available training regimen is enough to scare off opponents before the start gun. He trains harder, longer and more consistently than some pro athletes half his age.

10 years ago Donovan was a 125kg, plain cigarette smoking, nightclub bouncer. Today he's a global endurance sports world champion. Fair to say the tattoo'd giant of a personality is an overachiever. He never races to win his Age Group, he aims to wind-chime overall, always. Now into mid-life crisis stage, Don is facing his childhood demons. Introspection and reflection have led him to decide to speak up on a deep and frightening truth. He had extreme body dysmorphia, a mental illness which we are learning is far more prevalent among sports people, especially in modern times. He's chosen to share that very dark period of his life, 24 years later. He decided to open up on this deeply suppressed life experience with us. We're grateful for the enormous bravery this very personal and traumatic revelation required. We have no doubt that people of all ages, genders and cultures will benefit from hearing his story. Coming from this guy it's an even greater shock and thus no doubt a reflection on society which suppresses mental illness among other historically frowned upon conditions. Try to find an hour or more to switch off the world and tune into this moving story. It may help you, or someone close to you, deal with their demons.

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