A blog post in the celebration of Women's Month: The Totalsports Women's Month campaign, a race report about successfully defending my Totalsports Ladies Race 10km title, and call to all women to chase their dreams.
I competed in the Totalsports Ladies Race two times as a junior athlete. The Totalsports ladies race, that use to be hosted in my hometown Stellenbosch, has always been something I dreamt of winning. The race is very special to me as it was the race in which I completed the 10km distance for the very first time. I was only 13 years only and had never run that far before; I entered just for fun. At the time I didn't even have a watch, I found someone to run with and talked the whole way.
I fell in love with the sport, the vibe, the crowds, the adrenaline and the sense of accomplishment after crossing the finish-line. The next year I entered another 10km road race with the goal to race it. I clocked 38:17 that night. In 2012, at the age of 16, I entered the Totalsports Ladies Race again and won the Junior category. I started to dream of one day being one of those top Senior Women on the podium.
Last year, I finally got the opportunity to line up at the Totalsports Ladies race again after I returned to South Africa. I didn't compete in road races for three years while running on an NCCA D1 scholarship in America and the Totalsports Ladies Race 10km was my first race back in my home country. Breaking the tape in 2018, I finally reached my goal: That childhood dream came true winning the 10K Totalsports Ladies Race Title.
"Little girls with dreams, become women with vision."
The past few weeks I was privileged to be part of the Totalsports Women's Month Campaign.
Totalsports celebrates women in sport this August with women influencing others in their sport. Head over to their website to hear our stories of perseverance, commitment to overcome obstacles and ultimately influencing others to starting our sporting journeys.
"Don’t limit yourself just because you have a disability/illness or some sort of adversity holding you back. Dare to chase your dreams and don’t let others tell you what you are capable of doing or not. If you have a goal or a dream write it down, put it somewhere where you can see it every single day and then do something every single day to work towards it! Don’t do it for someone else, do it for you! This is your dream and your story! Make it worth telling!"
The Totalsports Ladies Race is a run in honor of women and support of PinkDrive. Suffering from a chronic illness myself - I have hypopituitarism and celiac disease - I understand the financial strain and stress associated with fighting for your health. I think it is amazing that they made this initiative to hold this event in honor of the PinkDrive. It is a great way to create and promote awareness about cancer in South Africa, and potentially beyond. It was amazing seeing so many women in pink to support this cause!
The things I enjoyed most about the day was the vibe, and the thousands of women coming together to celebrate Women’s Day. Totalsports did a fantastic job at organizing the event and I feel so privileged to be part of it. Seeing so many women unite on one day and compete together in something I am so passionate about. It was great competing in my home city, conquering the Cape Town hills and enjoying the beautiful view from the top!
It is a very hilly course with a lot of sharp turns and steep climbs. However, I came prepared having run the course last year. I try doing most my long runs on hilly courses and supplement my running with a lot of strength training in the gym. This is one of those tough courses where you have to break it up into pieces. I just run it hill by hill - trying to focus on my form - engaging my core, using my glutes and arms to push me up to the top!
While warming up, coach Garth came to me and gave me a small note saying:
"Someone may beat me, but they are going to have to bleed to do it."
Suddenly, I felt at peace in my heart that even if I don't win - I will go out there and give my absolute best!! I came to this race with the burning desire to defend my title and I did show up ready and focused to do it. I knew I was stronger and faster than the previous year, but I also knew others also work hard to win. I just stayed relaxed, concentrating on my own race and continuing with my drills, while soaking in the amazing vibe at the start.
I went with a mission to break that tape first and I ended up leading from gun to tape. I ran hard up the the hills and were able to complete the race about 30-seconds faster than I did last year!
My fondest memory was seeing my support system standing there waiting for me when I broke that tape:
My parents - who is not pictured, because they took all the pictures. Haha
My brother Francios - who has played such a big role in my preparation; really going the extra mile for me, biking with me on almost all my long runs up-and-down between the mountains.
My best friend and gym training partner Jana Du Preez - who made sure I ran the last kilometer the fastest by shouting her heart out when I came around that last corner!!
My fiancé Heinrich,- who has stood with me through all the ups and many downs this year
My coaches Bennie Stander and Garth Dorman - who has helped me become stronger and faster than ever before!
Behind a successful athlete there’s a whole group of people contributing to that success.- My sponsors Nedbank Running Club, Nike South Africa, BiogenSa, FutureLifeSA, Nick Bester, and Oxygenate plays a big part in getting me to the start-line geared up, fueled, healthy and ready to run. I am thankful to have a support network behind me that is routing for me every step of my journey of pursuing my passion and chasing my dreams.
I am busy preparing for my first marathon; and considering the high mileage I have been running in training, I feel good about my performance. I have been training hard - my long runs has been further than ever before, my tempo runs have been consistent, and track workouts have been faster than ever before. Most importantly, I am feeling stronger and healthier than ever before!
Running is my biggest passion. I had to overcome a lot of obstacles to be able to run - rising above my medical condition, many unfortunate accidents, and setbacks. However, somehow every setback I had made me come back even stronger and more determined to succeed in the sport.
Running is what makes me happy and feel free, strong and beautiful. I would like other women to also experience this feeling and share in the joy running has brought me. Road running unites people from everywhere. It's for everyone - not just for the elite runners - anyone who dares to take a step forward can participate and become healthier, fitter and stronger.
I would love to hear your story and how running/sport has changed your life. Email me at email@example.com to get your story featured as one of my guest posts on the blog. Don't be afraid to share your journey; it may just help and inspire others going through the same struggles.
Happy Women's Month