Siphiwe Baleka, a former lease operator with Prime Inc., gave new meaning to the phrase “Driver Health and Fitness.” In April 2012, right after completing a three-year lease with Prime, Baleka competed in the Ironman South Africa triathlon, finishing the 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run in 11 hours 59 minutes and 14 seconds.
His new book, "TriBlackAlete," details how he managed to become one of the few competitive African American triathletes and Ironman finisher while working as a long haul truck driver.
Between July 2008 and December 2011, Baleka set out to become the Fittest Truck Driver in America. Not content with simply driving his truck and sleeping, his daily workouts increased from just fifteen minutes a day to two or more hours a day.
“When people hear that I drive a truck and do triathlons, their first response is usually, ‘How do you do it?’" says Baleka. “At first, it is hard to image doing all that swimming, biking and running as a truck driver. I just had this desire to stay fit. It didn’t matter where or when, but somehow I was going to stop for 15 minutes and workout.”
Within a year, Baleka had perfected the high-intensity 15 to 20 minute workouts and was in pretty good shape. “I worked out every day. It became a habit. I was then able to grow that habit, realizing that I could reasonably stretch workouts to last up to an hour or more. I was always intrigued by the Ironman competition and admired triathletes and now that I was a ‘fitness trucker,’ I thought what better way to prove my fitness than to do a triathlon.”
In 2011, Baleka did just that. He competed in eight triathlons, winning two. His training was grueling. In addition to driving 125,260 miles, Baleka managed to swim 325,372 yards, bike 3,034 miles, and run 671 miles in preparation for the 2012 Ironman South Africa. Baleka also won two U.S. Masters National Swimming Championships.
Now, Baleka has documented his journey to become an Ironman triathlete in his new book.
"TriBlackAlete: The experience of a Black Triathlete From America at the 2012 Ironman South Africa" is available at Amazon.com.