Antoine Cisek recently achieved his greatest fitness challenge to date, and he did so by not taking no for an answer. The marketing manager of Greif’s Rigid Industrial Packaging and Services division in EMEA completed his first half Ironman of 70.3 miles in less than five and a half hours. The event, in Les Sables d’Olonne, France, started with a 1.2-mile (1.9 km) swim and was followed by a a 56-mile (90 km) bike ride, and a 13.1-mile (21.1 km) run.
“Training for the half Ironman has been one of the hardest things I have ever done in sport,” said Antoine. “It has required perseverance, motivation and a very positive mental attitude.”
Antoine began his fitness journey in 2013 by taking up running. The activity quickly took a toll on his body as it led to a knee injury. Antoine was told to hang up his running shoes by eight separate doctors. However, dissatisfied with the diagnosis, Antoine sought the opinion of a former doctor from the French Federation of Triathlon. After some rest and treatment, Antoine was back up and running. Soon after, he picked up cycling and swimming, which helped him discover his passion for triathlons. Six years and several sporting challenges later, he finished his first long-distance triathlon race, the half Ironman.
“The training is the most difficult part because it requires such a huge amount of discipline, commitment and physical strength,” said Antoine. “For example, I was having to wake at 5 am to train, swimming some days in sub-zero outdoor temperatures before going on to do a full day at work.”
It was a difficult challenge, but it has led to some rewarding results in many aspects of his life.
“It has been a personal journey which has highlighted my own strengths and weaknesses and had a hugely positive impact on both my personal and professional life,” said Antoine. “I’ve had to keep moving forward despite facing various major challenges and setbacks and always keep my end goal in sight – these are valuable skills that I am able to transfer across every aspect of my life, including work.”
Antoine’s next challenge is to improve upon his performance in Ironman 70.3 Barcelona in 2020, one of the most demanding Ironman 70.3 races in Europe. He would also like to complete a full Ironman within the next five years.