Ashley van Rooyen

A near death experience, amongst other things, keeps @ashley.debruin active, daily.

The 62-year-old can often be found in the cold ocean outside of Ons Huisie, encouraging others to join her. When not happily submerging herself in a freezing Atlantic Ocean, she runs or cycles.

What started as running for a slim body, she now uses her active lifestyle to deal with life.

“Owning an events and branding company comes with high stress levels. I find if I exercise, I can tackle any obstacle in my day.”

In 2018, Ashley was pulled out after the bike leg at her first 70.3 Ironman. She went back a year later and made it by 3 minutes.

“It doesn’t matter how tired or down you feel, if you turn up – that’s a start. Even if you don’t finish, just start.”

In the 2000’s, she participated in numerous half and full marathons. Her first Ultra Two Oceans Marathon being in April. Just a couple days after completing the race, she booked into hospital for a day surgery, only to wake up two months later.

“The doctor had perforated my bowl and caused septicemia. I suffered with multi organ failure, my lungs collapsed, and I was put on a ventilator. I woke up 2 months later, not knowing what had happened, with my father beside me. The Doctors had called him in from Durban and said he needs to come as it doesn’t look like I will make it.”

Ashley survived because of her fitness. Her lungs were strong from the training.

“I learnt to never give up. I fought with everything I had left in me, and I was given a second chance. I want to use it to make a difference in people’s lives, to be a better person, to achieve more than what I thought I could achieve.”

Her biggest dream is to run the London Marathon and in March she’ll run for Asics at the Paris Half Marathon.

She has also been selected by SHE CAN TRI & Global Events Africa to participate at the Ironman 70.3 in Rwanda in September 2024 along with four other ladies from Kibera and Kenya.

Her role will be to help them cross the finish line on their first triathlon journey.

“You really get that life has a purpose when you have a near death experience, and you realize that you need to live every day to the fullest.”

Don’t Stop Here

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