Less than three years after she tore her Achilles tendon while pulling a 15 ton Dakota aircraft, a 43-year-old woman from Table View calf-pressed 87 tons in 30 minutes.
Why would a person do such a thing? For charity of course!
“There’s so much you can do for others. You don’t need to empty out your bank account. You don’t need to lift 67 tons in 67 minutes,” says Liesl Schoonraad.
She then proceeded to lift 67 tons in 16 minutes. While she was at it Liesl pushed 20 tons more.
That’s apparently equivalent to lifting a boeing and a half.
Her superhuman effort on Mandela Day, the first of this kind of accomplishment in the world, was her way to help those less fortunate.
A gym in Khayelitsha will be richer because of Liesl and Virgin Active, which promised to donate equipment to the gym if Liesl managed this outrageous feat.

“At first I thought lifting 67 tons in such a short amount of time was impossible, but after thinking about it some more I realised my calves are pretty strong, so with more than 300 kg a rep, this would indeed be possible,” she says.
Surely this was big talk, perhaps even too big, for someone who snapped her Achilles tendon in December 2011?
“I was busy with my second pull of the aircraft when I heard this loud snap. It sounded like a cracker went off near my heel! Doctors said I will forever walk with a limp, but I didn’t listen to them. Four weeks later I was in the gym again and today, I don’t have a limp at all,” she said.
In front of a small crowd cheering her on in Virgin Active gym in Table View, she defied all the odds.
Her determination has left a lasting impression on those who are facing difficult times.
The fact that she did it on Mandela Day makes it all the more significant.
“I have so much respect for the old man. For someone who has also been through so much in his life and still always managed a smile is a big motivation to me. Why don’t we all do more for others? We get so involved in our own little lives. It doesn’t take a lot to help someone else! Go out and give the neighbourhood watch volunteers a cup of coffee! Go read stories to old people in retirement homes. Just go out and make a difference!”
The great man himself said it best: “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”
Liesl joined forces with Virgin Active and Guts2Glory Trust Foundation, a partnership that now sees equipment sent to Big Bones Gym in Khayelitsha.
Liesl hopes people will get off the street and rather go to gym.
She concludes: “I’m ready to do this all over again! It inspired me. The next morning I went back and thought to myself that I’m not quite sure what I’m training for, but I know there will be something again.”