STRONG & COURAGEOUS
Leanda Du Bruyn is not only a talented runner but an amazing fashion designer. She is both one of the most talented and creative people I know. She overcame all the obstacles in her way and created her own clothing brand, DADA ACTIVE WEAR, as well as becoming one of the top runners in the Western Cape.
I met Leanda at a 5000m time trial I ran when I was 17 years old. We cooled down together that night and immediately got along really well. Soon we met again at the track during the WPA 0/19 and 0/23 combined 5000m race, where both of us managed to secure a spot in the WPA team that night booking our ticket to the ASA Youth, Junior & 0/23 Track and Field Championships. During this trip, I was privileged enough to get to know Leanda a bit better. We also had a second opportunity to represent WPA together at the ASA Senior Cross Country Trials in 2015. We became close friends and I have so many great memories both running and just spending time with this special girl.
Proverbs 16:9 (NLT)
‘We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps’
If I were to have a motto in life, I think God would have chosen this one for me.
I am a crazy runner whose dream it was to become a fashion designer, so that is exactly what I went to study after I matriculated. I graduated with a National Diploma in Fashion Design from CPUT in 2015 with no idea what was going to happen thereafter…
I believe it is by the grace of God that I got the opportunity to begin my own sportswear business, Dada Active Wear, with my mom. Soon after we started the business in 2016, I received a scholarship from California Baptist University (CBU). Never in my wildest dreams did I think that something like that could happen to me, even more so because I had already completed three years of study, meaning I only had two years athlete eligibility left. I didn't have a lot of time to get all the necessary documents ready and so I prayed that if it was meant to be that it would all work out in time, and if not then it was not the plan for me. I realized that God really wanted me to go because against all odds my visa and the rest of my documents were completed in time. I am super thankful for the support of my parents in handling the bulk of the business while I was away. I did, however, still, have a finger in the pie as I was able to complete designs and forward orders from the US. Sometimes my parents and I would have a good laugh over an order that came from South Africa to the US and then back again to my mom in South Africa.
Wearing my Dada Active Wear crop-top. Both very comfortable and fashionable.
It was challenging to balance my university studies and handle business-related work, especially with the nine-hour time difference between South Africa and the United States. As well as studying graphic design and maintaining the business, I also worked for CBU’s sports information department on campus, which involved keeping the CBU athletics website up to date and communicating the latest news from CBU’s sports teams to the public. I can honestly say that over the two years I spent in California I learned so much about so many different aspects of life regarding friendships, training, teamwork, design skills, photography and how to be more independent. I also learned a lot more about myself.
I returned to South Africa from California mid-2018, due to the fact that I had only two years of eligibility to compete in the US. Soon thereafter I started working part-time at RUN specialist store in Belville. Working at RUN has provided an incredible learning curve. I gain more knowledge each day and I am so thankful for the amazing people I get to work with.
I am currently also studying for my BTEC (degree) in fashion design at CPUT, while working part-time at RUN. One of my biggest dreams is to represent my country in my sport and to be able to compete in a South African vest. My running goal for this year is to try and qualify for the Student World championships on the track, which will take place on 4-13 July 2019.
I believe that people come into our lives for a reason, some are there to stay while others just pay you a visit, but the key is to learn from each person. I am super thankful for my dad who set me on my running journey and coached me for ten years. Thereafter I was welcomed to the Speedster family and was coached by Cecil Roffey; it was during this time that I received my scholarship to CBU, a situation which speaks for itself. I had two amazing coaches in California, Andy Ponce de Leon and Ben Gall. At the moment, I coach myself due to my busy schedule and the fact that I found a certain training program that works for me. I do most of my runs on grass or trails (off road), except my weekly long run in Sea Point along the promenade, which also happens to be one of my favourite places.
Even though I love running and have been competing since the age of ten, it hasn't always been easy. I was born with scoliosis which was diagnosed when I was 13. Scoliosis entails a curvature of the spine, usually creating the shape of an S or a C. This caused the muscles on the left side of my back to over development in order to compensate, meaning that they are pulled into spasm very easily. The curvature of my neck is also abnormal and therefore my neck and shoulders tense up frequently. Not only does my spine curve sideways, but it is also twisted which makes it difficult to do certain exercises and sometimes causes trouble with breathing. My scoliosis has forced me to deal with discomfort, pain and disappointment, but also shown me that it is possible to rise above your circumstances. I am extremely thankful to have met Anneline Roffey who is my Lyno therapist. She has helped me to organize a good maintenance plan by seeing her for appointments once or sometimes twice per week. Therapy with Anneline has made a big difference in being able to train consistently and race better.
Running has allowed me to travel the world, experience new things, meet people and make friends for life.
- Leanda Du Bruyn