This is what we live for!! An inspiring letter from Nick Schild, a member at UFO Lonehill!

Talk about a change in lifestyle


So here I sit, with just over three weeks to my first Comrades Marathon and although the butterflies are starting to swarm, the support I have received from family and friends has been inspirational! The following paragraphs tell the story of how I got to today:
So 19 months ago, and before the comments start I was still in my twenties (Just), when my gorgeous fiancé, Taryn/Taz, at the time decided that this overweight (not obese, picture a little more to cuddle), lethargic, mal-nourished over-worked and not to mention 30 cigarette a day smoking, drinking lump to Urban Fitness Outdoor SA.

What is it this Urban Fitness OutdoorUFO SA”, let me explain it a little further, according to the Web Site ( you “take control of your body and lifestyle” as well as “Become a Healthier, Fitter you”.

Heard it all before? Well I sure had and the idea of joining a bunch of healthy over-achievers was not my idea of fun! Needless to say, the trial class showed me how unfit I truly am, but also introduced me to individuals who were all on the same goal path as me, to be a better me. I still managed to enjoy the cigarette straight after class! (Only smokers can relate) Taryn had signed us up for the following month in preparation for our wedding and honeymoon (Beach Body) that happened in April 2011. We had 5 months to get into shape, child’s play I hear you say, but it had been a good couple of years since any form of exercise had graced my body, the challenge had been set.

UFO SA has three categories Green/Yellow and Red, and I was more than willing to start at Green, knowing that my lungs and lump of a body would be pushed to the limit in this category. The first class that I attended was given by Jono Cloete (Founder) and as I am sure that Jono will testify, I was a challenge to get moving as the running was just not an option for me. I remember having to run 20 meters after burpees, with arms on my head saying, how the hell am I going to do this. Jono would tell me to rest when I needed it and to run when I didn’t want to because I was being lazy. It got easier…

The progression to yellow and red followed when, as my body was getting fitter, my mind was also growing in confidence to tackle one of the biggest vices that I have ever had, and that was to quit smoking. I stopped smoking on the 7th January 2011 and have not looked back since. I now understand what the website means with “take control of your body and lifestyle”.
UFO SA has given me the confidence to tackle obstacles that before November 2010 were not even dreams, but more like distant “in another lifetime” type challenges.
Before I continue rambling on, let’s put some timelines out there:

  • Started my lifestyle change 19 Months Ago
  • Quit Smoking 17 Months Ago (Yesterday)
  • Got Married 13 Months Ago (Tomorrow)
  • Ran my first race (10 KM) 12 Months Ago (Next Sunday)
  • Time since my first Half Marathon 7 Months Ago
  • Time since my last Ultra Marathon (Two Oceans) 1 Month Ago Yesterday

Some numbers that you may find interesting:

  • Total Running Kilometers Since 1st January 2012 1012 KM – Recorded
  • Total Running Kilo Calories since 1st January 2012 89 000 – Recorded
  • Total hours run since 1st January 2012 112 Hours
  • Total Kilograms Shed since lifestyle change 8 KG
  • Total Body Fat Reduction since lifestyle change 11 %


Natural talent has very little to do with moving forward, I believe that for some, the get up and go is easier in certain aspects, but overall it is managing the “micro steps” each point of the way that makes us who we are and get us to the endpoint we desire.

My running started by running 1.5 km in January 2011, not really running I would say, but managing every 3rd lamp post or tree, jogging one, walking three, and slowly but surely starting to turn all that around into running 3, walking one.

As mentioned above, I ran my first race in May 2011, it was a 10KM monster (NOT REALLY) but I can remember the sense of accomplishment was unbelievable, it was a schlep and coming in at 1HR 12 Minutes was amazing to me! It progressed to my first 21 KM in November which was a challenge and a half, coming in at 2HR 15 minutes, man oh man how I hurt!

I have pushed on since then to complete 3 Marathons and 1 Utlra Marathon (Two Oceans one month ago) and will keep taking up new challenges and improving on ones already done.

My only advice to anyone who sets out to accomplish anything, start with the baby steps, and keep looking forward, the Comrades guys tell you, whatever you do, keep moving forward, and this is true in everyday life. We are blessed to have this time, make the most of it!

Key Individuals

Below is a list of individuals who have and continue to motivate, guide and inspire me to keep going, so in no particular order:

Jono Cloete

Jono’s Bio:
Jono Cloete has been in the health and fitness industry for the past 6 years. In 2005 he started his career with USN as a nutritional consultant and spent 2 years learning more about the health and fitness industry and has been working in the industry ever since. Jono’s passion is to see full health, body and lifestyle transformations. Jono is a personal health and lifestyle coach. He believes that being healthy is not only looking good on the outside but also
looking good on the inside – Body, mind and soul. Jono started UFO SA in the beginning of 2010.

The passion Jono shares for his clients and his lifestyle is remarkable, in addition to the group classes, Taryn and I started taking private training classes with Jono twice a week, which meant that the training was pushed to 4-5 times per week. Jono worked on the weak core that I had “developed” through the long hours in front of the computer, late nights and general lack of any activity! Through the months, Jono showed me that things that seemed impossible were achievable if we focus and work towards a goal.
Well Mr Cloete, here we are 19 months later, we have many more to go, so look at the “Where to from here” section for an understanding of the next steps in the lifestyle change…

Brad Brown

Brad Brown is a friend whom I worked with at RAU Radio back in my varsity days. It wasn’t till 2010 that I heard of Brad’s remarkable achievements in his lifestyle change, which showed me that the only thing that is holding anyone back is themselves!

Brad weighed in at 165 KG in 2009 and within the space of three years has completed Comrades, Half Iron Man and Full Iron Man, a truly remarkable individual who not only changed his life but continues to inspire and help other individuals through his motivational talks, chats as well as the amazing charity work that Brad undertakes!

I will be supporting one of the charities that Brad supported in his first Comrades, being the Pink Drive, who’s aim is to improve breast cancer awareness as well as providing mobile screening facilities to the less fortunate.

More about:
Brad Brown:

The Pink Drive:

My Charity Page for Comrades:

Dylan Burgess

Dylan Burgess is a friend and colleague whom I have known for the last 12 years and who has shown me that through dedication, the impossible is possible, that in actual fact, the sky is the limit. Dylan has completed Two Oceans (SAINSBURY MEDAL), Comrades (BILL ROWAN MEDAL) as well as half and full Iron Man in remarkable times, it is the determination and self-belief not only in the physical but also in the personal sphere which is one of the attributes that Dylan possesses and has motivated me to pursue some of my endeavors. Thank you bud!

Ross Thompson

Ross is my business partner, and one of my best men. Ross has taught me that there is no such thing as “CAN’T”, and this was evidenced when we started our company. When I said that it can’t be done, I was summarily corrected and told that it can be done, we just not sure at this time, but that should not hold us back.
Ross has also started to get fit and has committed to do the Midmar Mile with me next year… man I can’t swim! Sorry Ross, I can swim, just need to put a little more practice into it. I’ve put your commit in writing, so no turning back now…

Taryn Schild

There is also another person who has always been there for me and stood by my side from the start. Taryn and I have been together for 8 years now and been through a lot, from taking over my bachelor pad which never had time to be a bachelor pad, to diving the world, to unifying our vows last year, couldn’t have done it without you babe! Love you long time 😉

UFO SA Team, Friends and Family

Lastly to my family and friends, the last 19 months have been a massive change in lifestyle and the motivation and belief that everyone has put in me has been humbling, from the UFO team pushing me to my limits (You haven’t hit them yet boys) to work colleagues including my mad bunch in “The Gutter” to my family and friends, all of whom have had the belief in me, even when there were doubts in my mind to continue on my pursuits. Thank you all!

Where to from here

So you say all nice and well, congratulations, I say hell no, we’ve just started, and with the help of all the people concerned the following is on the cards:
1. Comrades 2012 in three weeks
2. Midmar – With Ross Thompson
3. ½ Iron Man – January (With the bunch from UFO)
4. Two Oceans – Seeing as it rained the whole race this year, I would like to experience “The world’s most beautiful marathon”
5. Iron Man 2013 – shew!
6. Comrades 2013 – Got to get back to back medals!

Till the next one…

Would you like to comment?

Leave a Reply