• By : Gordon Graham
Let me introduce myself, it has been 2 and a half years since I left the beautiful city of East London to pursue a new career in sports announcing. I must say it was an extremely tough decision to walk away from the comfort or a radio show on Algoa FM which was home for over 20 years and the majority of those spent in East London host the Border transmitter split.
The afternoons from 3 – 7 pm was where I spent my working hours working with the most incredible people, I met and made so many friends over the years that it’s impossible to list them all but suffice it to say that the Eastern Cape and East London played a massive role in my life and it was there where the sports announcer in me came through.
I remember announcing the annual Colour My Run (pretty much my first race type announcer job) from there it was Triathlons and Merrifield Mile where that passion for what I do now was developed.
My first Ironman announcer gig was the Ironman 70.3 South Africa which has been hosted for many years in Buffalo City and it was also a race that I had attempted as an announcer after having started the race 5 years in a row. Paul Kaye the Voice of Ironman was the man who decided ‘let’s give this guy a chance’ and wow how that moved my life in a new direction.
For the past 3 and a half years, I have travelled and seen countries that I never dreamed I would. The first time I left the shores of SA was in 2016 when I decided to attempt Ironman Barcelona as an Athlete. I remember the excitement of getting on an international flight and the complete nervous energy of being in a foreign country, the truth is 20 plus trips since then and I still feel the same way.
Since then I have travelled to the Middle East (Bahrain and Dubai) numerous times, I have ventured to Hungary (Budapest) which was one interesting experience with a mixture of the old and new world in one incredible city.
I have made the journey to Croatia twice and visited Zagreb and Pula (stunning coastal town) where the Ironman race finished inside a Roman Arena as used by gladiators in centuries past, also the scene of the filming of parts of Game of Thrones.
My travels have taken me to Austria twice to visit the stunning city of St Pölten and of course some sight-seeing in Vienna which is amongst the most beautiful cities on earth. Headed off to Slovenia to a place called Koper on the coast of the Adriatic Sea which is the most crystal-clear water I have ever seen. I have ventured to Kazakhstan twice now and this country is extremely unique and the host city Astana (now called Nur Saltan) is a purpose-built capital city that is mind-blowing. The city is only around 20 years old and did not evolve organically but rather was commissioned by then-president and its collection of skyscrapers and stunning architecture will amaze you.
I have toured London on layovers on my travels and explore this old and amazing city.
Recently I did the Scandinavian tour to Norway, Denmark and Sweden as part of the Ironman European Tour and all three of these countries are absolutely stunning with a mixture of stunning landscapes and history that combine to form the way to the north of our beautiful planet.
With all this travel I have learnt some very interesting lessons, firstly is that we as humans are with all our diversity very similar in what matters most to us, it’s about family, friends, education for our children, care for our elderly, a chance to succeed in life. I have also learnt that I Love my country with a capital L. South Africa is one of the most unique countries in the world, we are a beautiful people with stunning landscape. No matter how far I go in the world, coming home always makes me smile.
Travel whenever you can but always remember home is the best!