Outside the comfort zone is not an obstacle ~ Stompie

How do you know your potential if you don’t seek it?

Jacques Pienaar, or ‘Stompie’ as he is more well known as, is very familiar with what the comfort zone is, and living firmly outside of it.

The warehouse stock controller from Johannesburg has always enjoyed sport; as a school kid he played rugby and cricket, and hooned around on his mountain bike for fun.

Stompie was born without a lower left arm and hand. He describes himself as ‘one of the lucky ones’ because he did not suffer a traumatic accident, and never had to learn to adjust.

“It’s all I’ve ever known, to have one and a half arms.”

It was the end of 2013, and his boss had a spare entry going for one of the Warrior races and offered it to Stompie.

So along he went, with some fellow work mates, and had a go at the Rookie.

“Somehow we got through it, we just threw ourselves at the obstacles.”

From then he’s been hooked, and promised himself in 2014 that he’d put money aside to enter more Warrior races.

“I’d gather up friends and family to come with me and take part too. I really enjoyed helping them as much as taking part myself.”

So for the past six years Stompie has travelled a few places around South Africa, constantly improving his level of competition in Obstacle Course Racing.

Within the Warrior competitions, he’s progressed from Rookie, to Commando, and is now tackling Black Ops.

“I love pushing my limits, and never knowing what the challenge on the day will be. I never look at course maps before they ay, I’d rather just take it as it comes.”

This sport comes with more challenges for Stompie than it would for most who partake.

“I’m really trying to get the races amputee friendly – because at the moment there are some of the obstacles I just cannot do.”

He’s had conversations with race organisers about potential alternative obstacles on some sections.

“It’s disheartening when I can’t finish a race because I can’t complete the obstacle.”

His friends, the atmosphere, the encouragement, the buzz; these are all the factors of OCR that keep Stompie coming back for more.

“There’s so many people just like me out there – doing it for the fun of it, helping each other.”

Pushing his own mental and physical limits is what Stompie loves best.

“If I run in the mornings for training, I wait until it gets a bit warmer, because that’s closer to the conditions we race in.”

He even uses his job as a place to slot in some extra training, such as lifting plumbing fittings around the warehouse.

“It keeps me fit moving gear all day, and we works long days which are very physical. I do extra lifting whenever he can, for extra fitness.”

This year he’s begun a sponsorship deal with Battlerush, an OCR gym in Johannesburg. Stompie is very grateful for that, as he’s provided with a place to train and help with race entries.

“I train there on Saturday mornings. I’m also focusing on my running, as I want to do a Spartan race in the United States next September.”

Stompie’s also aware of the importance of family time and making it a priority amongst his busy schedule of work, training and racing.

“Weekends are for family, my partner and her five year-old daughter always spend time together.”

Living outside his comfort zone is Stompie’s norm that he wouldn’t swap for anything though, and he encourages all those who are considering OCR as a sport, to get involved.

“Just put yourself out there and get out of your comfort zone, because until you do, you don’t know what you’re capable of.”

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