Up and coming triathlete Lauren Dance had every reason to be despondent at this weekend’s national championships in East London, writes Mark Etheridge.
Well, let’s make that reason to bee despondent, after she was forced to withdraw and was hospitalised after an allergic reaction to bee stings while on the cycle leg.
Dance, 23, is an accomplished performer at Under-23 level and in 2011 represented Team South Africa at the All Africa Games in Maputo, Mozambique.
“I was a little behind on the swim, 25sec to the main pack of 10 girls that I was chasing alone but I wasn’t too concerned, thinking I could bridge it alone. I started losing time so went to Plan B which was to keep damage to a minimum.”
Little was she to know but it was soon going to be Plan Bee that provided the sting in the tail.
“Midway through the bike I felt a sting in my neck which I flicked off and then a few seconds later I felt another in my quad and I saw the bee on my leg but couldn’t get the sting out while riding. I’d been stung before with no reaction so I ignored things and just carried on.
“But I slowed drastically and on the last lap was caught by the last pack of girls and I just sat and tried to recover. My training had been going well and I was confident of reeling in a few girls on the run.”
But that was not to beÔÇª “I lasted about 1.5km on the run, my vision became blurred and I battled to see the volunteers handing out water. My lips and fingers started tingling and then I saw my coach [Mike Moriarty] on the sideline. He’s tall of stature so very hard to miss.”
Dance ran directly to the coach who got her to lie flat on the ground. “Paramedics were there in seconds and started treating me for dehydration and allergic reaction to the bee stings.”
She was then admitted to St Dominic’s hospital in the city as a precaution. “My vitals were monitored for three hours while they gave me medication and treated me for anaphylaxis. Once I was stable they let me go. It’s all good now, just a bit drowsy still with a nice big lump on my leg.. more war wounds.”
Next up for Dance is the African Championships in Troutbeck, Zimbabwe on 12 April. “Then, if I get a slot, I’ll hopefully race the WTS in Cape Town later in the month and then follow the Africa Cup circuit around Africa to try and improve my points standing.”