Running: I’m not a runner, but I run

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From the time I was young, running was never my thing, ever. I started walking at 18 months people, just a day before I was scheduled to see a specialist (I think a healer was the next option). In primary school I would’ve fallen in the ‘excuse from sports’ category, but to my misfortunes my dad was the school principal. And so I dragged myself through sport. I remember I even played hockey at some point. As to what

position, I’d be lying.

My first encounter with gym was when I was in University. Peer pressure got to me and I ended up eating less and less, and overexercising. I lost so much weight that I weighed 45kg. That to me, was the definition of perfection. In my mind I had made in ‘the cool kids club’. Years passed and I had an on-and-off relationship with exercise.

It was through Postnatal depression that I learned to love and appreciate exercise. It was my saving grace and the only thing keeping me alive, literally. So I would go for walks just to change my mood, and most times it worked. Other times I needed to top off the walk with a glass of wine.

My life changed when I joined Unilever. Under the mentorship of great leaders, I thrived and became the person I was meant to be. A week after my manager joined the company, he announced that in 3 months, we’d be running a 21km race as part of team building. Hilarious right? How do you get this group of 30 non runners to complete a 21km. And that’s not even the disturbing part, the blow was that I, YES I, was appointed Team captain. Me, the nun runner, the ‘chest pain after 1km’ girl…. had to make sure that we complete a 21km run. To cut a long story short – We all finished the race in target time, in less than 3hrs. This was the most humbling experience in my life. I realised then that I can do anything I put my mind to. Anything. And so I started running.

Do I love to run? There’s definitely a fine line. I mean there are days when I want to call my husband to come pick me up. Days when I think to myself ‘Are you mad’. These are the same days where I walk more than running. And I eat an entire slab of chocolate because I need to reward myself for surviving. And some days, well some days are just perfect. The music, the air, the sun, everything feels in sync. And my legs just keep on going and going. I recently did the Soweto half marathon. I felt a bit intimidated at first. So many experienced runners. But then I got into my zone, and I soaked in every bit of the experience. I persevered and conquered. For me it’s not about competition but getting to the finish line. I’m not a runner, but I run.

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