Springbok Legend Stefan Terblanche Is Stationary Rowing 1460km For Charity

Joined by local adventure athletes Bruce Hughes and Mike Morris, Stefan will take turns, stationary rowing non-stop, day and night, for a full six days.

Nadim Nyker |

Springbok legend Stefan Terblanche loves a challenge. Combine that with a good cause, and he’s in – especially when it comes to pushing his body to the limit. On Tuesday he started a 1460KM non-stop stationary rowing journey (the equivalent to the distance from Durban to Robben Island) to raise funds for Ingane Yami Children’s Village.

Joined by local adventure athletes Bruce Hughes and Mike Morris, the team will take turns, stationary rowing non-stop, day and night, for a full six days.  And here at the Men’s Health HQ, we couldn’t be prouder of their efforts.

Ingane Yami is a safe haven for children in the Shongweni Valley in Kwa-Zulu Natal. It provides a permanent, loving home for vulnerable, orphaned children from the surrounding area. The Village comprises individual homes that are cared for by carefully selected foster mothers, each of whom have six children in their charge. The families are also supported by a village pastor, qualified teachers and a dedicated support team on-site.

We caught up with Stefan about the challenge, and talked fitness and rugby while we were at it. See our Q&A below:

Related: How Rugby Player Stefan Terblanche Builds Muscle In His 40s

You’re no stranger to a fitness challenge and just last year you completed the world’s biggest expedition adventure event, GODZone. Tell us how you are prepping your body for the non-stop stationary rowing you are about to endure?

“It’s a really unfamiliar type of fitness and again, like with GODzone, takes me completely out of my comfort zone. One obviously needs to prepare for what lies ahead and sitting on a stationary Concept2 rower for four hours non-stop is not easy to do, but it’s part of the prep,” he says.

“Doing that a few times is great prep but you’re still not sure how your body will react when you will be doing that for six days in a row.”

What does your fitness routine look like at 44? How do you keep active?

“A normal week, depending on my work and travel schedule, consists of 4 gym sessions with a trainer, combined with 2-3 running sessions. With the rowing challenge ahead the running was replaced with rowing. I will every now and then swop running with training on the watt-bike as well, it’s brutal!”

What is your plan to keep hydrated and fuelled during the challenge?  

“November is already hot and humid in Durban and we will lose a lot of body fluids. We will drink loads of water and some electrolyte replacement drinks. For Bruce, Mike and I its all about eating well and replacing the energy lost with good, healthy and nutritious food. That’s always been my regime and my two partners share the philosophy.”

At the end of the day, the aim is to raise funds for those in need. Tell us why working with charities is so important to you?

“The three of us really enjoy pushing our own bodies to the limits and extremes and if we can do that while raising funds for such a great cause it’s even better. It serves as motivation and that’s much more rewarding at the end when we cross the finish line together.”

Siya Kolisi’s story has inspired our nation, more so now than ever before. Why is it so important to develop rugby at a grassroots level? 

“I get so cross when I hear coaches and South Africans say that we can’t compete with The All Blacks, England or whoever on the rugby field as we don’t have enough talent,” he says. “Sorry but that is utter rubbish as we have the most and best talent in the world – now and always have.

“We just need to find these youngsters, give them a structure to play rugby in and then most importantly look after them and manage them to become great rugby players and more importantly, great South Africans.”

Related: Siya Kolisi’s Remarkable Journey To Fatherhood Is The Real Reason He’s A Hero

As a Springbok legend, how do you feel about the Boks’ performances during the World Cup? How do you feel about South African rugby right now?

“Rugby is so important in our country for obvious reasons. Looking at the pride and unity this World Cup has brought back into our society is heart warming and wonderful to see. In our country we need to do this every day, and through sport we can!”

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