A journey I guess is best measured in moments and friends, rather than miles.


A journey I guess is best measured in moments and friends, rather than miles.

I just returned from my amazing trip to Canada, and this trip, like the rest of the moments I have in life, forms part of my own personal journey and once again I managed to live out my own personal motto, “MAKING MILES AND MOMENTS COUNT”

This trip to Canada led me to new places, led me to meet new people, make new friends and allowed me to create new memories, memories I will cherish for a lifetime.

Someone once said that traveling first leaves you speechless and then it turns you into a storyteller, and this is so true. One of the best parts of traveling is coming home, enriched by all the moments and experiences and then to be able to turn these memories into stories and share it with everyone here. I guess every trip has it highlights and lowlights ( if there is such a word ) but all these forms the basis of the stories one get to share with everyone else.

When we travel some of us do so to seek out and discover new places, others to seek out and discover other people and cultures and some of us are blessed enough to also discover new souls; individuals who touch our lives in such a special and unique way that we will never be the same again. I was blessed enough to have many of these moments during my trip to Canada and it would be wrong to mention names, but I returned home, blessed, enriched and changed. Thank you Canada.

It is when you return home with a new level of modesty and humbleness that you know for a fact that your life has not only been touched but changed also, because you return home with the realisation that as an individual you occupy such a tiny place in the world. It is what we do with this realisation that matters though. For me, I am now even more determined to live my life to the fullest, to continue to try and make a difference in people’s lives and to help others reach their personal dreams and goals and to live their best possible lives every day. It is about paying it forward I guess.

I want to end with the words of Ray Bradbury, “Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.”


“There are no mistakes”

In one of my previous posts I mentioned the name of a lovely lady I met, Jennifer Monteith. A quick recap. I met Jennifer at the Exhibition Place when I went there to register for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Here is a quick recap.

I was walking around at the exhibition centre looking for a WiFi spot. One of the volunteers at the expo directed to a shop just outside the exhibition hall. She told me the lady working at that shop is there every day and she would know best. So that is where I went and this is where I got to meet Jennifer. She gave me directions to where I was able to connect to WiFi and after I send the message to Karen I returned to the shop just to thank Jen for her kind assistance and this is when we started to chat.

Jennifer was born in Kingston Jamaica and hailed to Canada in 1964. She started out in the fashion industry and was the first black model to appear in the Eaton’s catalogue in the 60’s. Later, she appeared in other catalogues such as, JC Penny, Sears & Roebuck, King Patters and Bride & Groom Magazine. Jennifer also enjoyed a successful runway career doing Eaton’s Young Toronto Shop shows across Canada.

We ended up talking and sharing the wikipedia version of our own stories and I realized once again, we all have a story to tell, sometimes we are just in too much of a hurry and or don’t care enough to listen to people.

Anyway, I am flying back home tonight and am spending the last day at Karen’s work before we leave for the airport later. I was on Facebook doing some catching up on everything and everyone back home and I ended up on Jennifer’s Facebook page and as I glanced over to the right top part of the screen I noticed something, “Born on December 21”. This is my mom’s birthday too and there, at that moment I had an aha moment.

When I met Jennifer the first time, she said goodbye and we shared a hug. That hug was different, it was special, it was somehow personal and connected. I actually do not have a better word to describe it as being “familiar”.

Anyway, I boxed that and thought I’m being silly. Well, suddenly, when I saw Jen’s birth date, I recalled that first and second hug and I realized, Mom was here with me; she found an angel in Toronto, Canada to deliver a hug from her, a hug I so longed for, for so many years since her passing in 2000. Now I know that Mom is watching my every move, she is with me, wherever I go, and I now know she rejoices with me in every moment of joy and excitement, but also shed her tears with me when I am sad. After so many years Mom found a willing soul to deliver this very important message to me, 13,300kms from home.

I shared this with Jen and this is what she had to say about it in her reply to me this morning:

“Thank you for that share, December 21st ! “Wow” I do remember that hug very well, and can say I wondered how different it felt, to hug a stranger with such comfort and familiarity.”

This just underlined that what I felt was different and that connection was indeed there. I firmly believe that the sign I saw that morning was part of Mom’s plan to lead me to the angel she had lined up for me to deliver the message; the hug and the assurance that I am never alone.

I did some digging into the meaning of Jennifer’s name and look what I found. I think this is so awesome and true.

“From a Cornish form of the Old Welsh name Gwenhwyfar (Guenevere). Jennifer’s are an extremely rare beauty inside & out. They are loyal to friends & family & will stand by you as long as you will let them; very supportive. They know how to love no other way than hard. Jennifer’s have a deep passion for life & the things that are important to them. Sometimes their passion can be mistaken for attitude but, let it be known, it’s only because they are misunderstood by some; their passion is real & for no other purpose. Jennifer’s are naturally beautiful – making some green with envy of their natural features; so it is only fitting that they have keen interest in the nature around them & preserving natural beauty. They were born with it & are wired to love & care for things in their natural state as well as all creatures big and small. Jennifer’s will be there through the good times & the bumps along the way. Their friendship does not thin, it is not a fair-weather friendship. It is as real as the Jennifer you encounter. Strong & supportive; beautiful & timeless. Should you come across a Jennifer make them your best friend and hold onto them forever; I know I will.”

A last thought. The other night at the “Wild about wellness” event in Hamilton, Karen Schmutz said, “There are no mistakes” This statement lingered in my thoughts for a few days, and now I know why. It was part of the bigger plan, I just did not know it yet.

I made a promise to Jennifer to stay in touch and I will because there is a reason why we met and it is about more than just the here and now. I am excited to see how this will unfold. All I can say is be open to what life throws at you and embrace every day, grab every moment and make the most of it, because like the sign said, “My life is all I have

Running The City Of Toronto


Part of the total race day experience started with the expo and registration on Friday and then the international friendship run on Saturday. It was great to be there and mingle with runners on an informal platform. I found the registration process to be well organized and the process was seamless. Well done ! I was just a bit disappointed because I could not find race day memorabilia, race day branded items, and if there were and I missed it, well then it is my loss I guess. Rest of Saturday was feet up and early to bed.

On Sunday, 18th of October I was up early and we soon made our way to the start line of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon at City Hall. I was goad we left early because traffic was hectic getting i to the city. However I was filled with excitement as this was going to be my second international run. The first was the Bangkok Marathon. Although I was in a different country and in a different city with a different crowd, somehow race day excitement seemed familiar to me.

First impressions, well organized, festive and loaded with excitement. The race started in batches, and we had to line up on different coral color blocks. The national anthem, “Oh Canada” was sung and the race started. The green batch were I was in started at 09:00am sharp.

The route took us through sections of the city and then lead runners out to the waterfront area. We also passed through a industrial area, not too pretty to look at and especially so late in the race, then one wants to see something nice to take your attention of the tired legs, but the run down Beach Village sure made up for it. The support along this stretch of road was amazing. Actually throughout the race the support was amazing and I just loved the original and clever signs supporters had out there for us. Some of the signs were familiar but others really funny, so much so that I had to stop and take some pictures. I have a running motto of “MAKING MILES AND MOMENTS COUNT” and this is what it is about, the memories one get to create by being part of the bigger picture. I am not a fast runner and did not come to do this race to break any records, I came to be part of the total experience and to create memories. Looking at my race day pictures I think I succeeded. The route itself was very easy and a true fast and flat affair. It was great to share the marathon with 3,750 athletes from all over. I finished 2,489th out of 3,750 and crossed the finish line at 04:24:41. I was happy with this time given all the photo op stops I made. I always remind myself that it is not about the race but about the journey.

My journey started way back in 2009 when I weighed 133kg. I realized that I had to change my life and that is where it all started. I lost 53kg all together and got my life back and now I have dedicated my running to count for more, to make a difference every time I am out there running. I dedicated my running life to make a difference in people’s lives where and whenever I can and in reality I now run for more than just myself. My charity of choice back home in South Africa is The Bible Society of South Africa and I am supporting their Run for Bibles project. I also started my own running charity program within this project called Run4BibleRands where I give one South African Rand to the Bible Society for every kilometer I do in official races every month and I am challenging other runners to do the same. This is just another way to make sure that my running counts for something other than just myself. This race in Toronto I ran in support of the Steve O’Brien Foundation and to show support for what Steve is doing to make a difference in the lives of the young people of Canada. I also got to meet with Steve during my trip and also did two events with him and the one was to run with him into Fredericton where we met the deputy Mayor of Fredericton. This was just for me to meet the man behind the Cross Canada Relay and to show my support and solidarity in trying to make a difference in peoples lives, even in the smallest possible way.

My friends Chris and Karen also got to be part of this race by supporting me and it was awesome to see their faces at various points along the route and at the finish line and even better to hear them shout “Go TeamVitality” and ai knew, that was me. They sure got first hand insight into the sometimes weird and always wonderful world of us runners. They always follow me on Social Media, seeing what we do back home, but because they are Canadian, they never got to be part of my race days, and this time they were there. It was great to have them there and glad I got to share this with them.

I am grateful that I had the opportunity to be part of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. It was an honor for me to represent my awesome club, Discovery TeamVitality, and also my country at this event. I was proud to pull out my South African flag and finish with it blowing in the wind as I came into the final stretch doing the home run.

A last thought. One of the great things about running a city marathon is that one get to see more of what a city has to offer, and this prompted me to go back to downtown Toronto for two days and explore the city a little more. This is when I got to see St Lawrence Market, the Toronto Islands, CN Tower, Kensington Market, High Park and all the wonderful places in between. Toronto is a really beautiful city with so much to see and so much to explore.

A BIG shoutout to all runners who have taken part in this great event. Keep on chasing your dreams and make the impossible happen. Remember, Mandela said, “It’s always impossible until it’s done.” Remember, you can make the impossible happen.

Thank you Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon organizers, sponsors and awesome volunteers for a great event and for adding another chapter to my running memories and for helping me to MAKE (my) MILES AND MOMENTS COUNT.

[ myownjourney.co.za ]
[ walkrunandroll.ca ]

Two days to go to the ScotiaBank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Today I registered for the #STWM at Exhibition Place, downtown Toronto. Registration went smooth and was really well organised. I am glad I went today because they expect a busy day tomorrow.

As I walked around looking for a WiFi spot, I was directed to a shop to ask the lasy there if she knows of a free WiFi spot at the centre and that is where I got to meet an amazing lady, Jennifer Monteith.

Born in Kingston Jamaica, hailed to Canada in 1964. Jennifer Monteith started out in the Fashion Industry and was the first Black model to appear in the Eaton’s catalog in the 60’s. Later, she appeared in other catalogs such as, JC Penny, Sears & Roebuck, King Patters and Bride & Groom Magazine. Jennifer also enjoyed a successful runway career doing Eaton’s Young Toronto Shop shows across Canada. We ended up talking and sharing the wikipedia version of our own stories. She shared with me her short version of the heart transplant she had and I was so touched by what she had to say and tonight I thank God that He have this amazing woman a second lease on life. I guess both of us has something to celebrate today, a new life, an opportunity to live again and to make every day count. To quote Jennifer, “I look forward to my every day.” While I walked down church street today, I took a picture of words someone wrote in a pole, and this is what it said, “My life is all I have” and I guess these words lead me to this amazing woman. I feel so blessed to night to have met her. My promise was to stay in touch and I will. There must be a reason why we have met.

Tomorrow morning I am doing the international friendship run for the ScotiaBank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, just a short run to welcome all international runners to Toronto and to the race, and then the marathon is one Sunday. Cannot wait !

Today was a good day, tomorrow will be even better.

What’s lined up next ? The Canada journey continues…

Tonight we are leaving for our road trip to New Brunswick. First stop will be Lachute, Quebec, where we will meet Steve’s wife to pick up some foundation shirts for him.

Tomorrow morning visit Montreal, QC on route to Fredericton. We will go across the TransCanada Highway and stop at Saint-Louis-du Ha!Ha! Quebec. We will then join Steve in Tracadie and spend time with him on the road until we get to Fredericton. On the 13th I will join Steve on the road between Fredericton and St. John for my solidarity run with him. Cannot wait for this to happen.

On Wednesday we will return back to Ontario for my last few days before the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. I will first do the International Friendship Run on the 17th, and after the run go register for the race and pic up my race pack and visit the expo. On the 18th it is time for the big run. More about this later.

Before I sign off, just a reminder to visit walkrunandroll.ca and support my marathon effort and donate to the Steve O’Brien Foundation. Any amount is welcome.

Later guys snd remember, be the best you can be.

Getting to Canada

Flying always has it’s challenges and this trip was no exception to the rule.

Emirates Airlines Airbus A380

Emirates Airlines Airbus A380

The flight leaving Johannesburg was delayed because of the late arrival of the inbound flight. Approach into Dubai International was also delayed because of thick fog around the airport. We had to circle around for a while before we were allowed to land. As a result of this fog all outbound flights were also delayed and we were only allowed to leave about an hour and a half later. Arriving at Toronto Pearson International Airport was also delayed and we missed our normal landing slot and had to hold back arrival to make it in timed for the next available and assigned landing slot. We first went through border control and that was quick and easy and the officer who processed my arrival was so friendly and has such a great welcoming personality and the bit I liked was, “Welcome back to Canada Mr Prinsloo” I have to say the rest of the process was a mess to say the least as we waited forever for the bags to be offloaded. And when it finally started to arrived at carousel 13 it was a mess; people scrambling to get the bags because of already waiting arrival flights. Anyway, I finally got my bags and then had to clear the second customs check. That went smooth.

I knew behind the sliding door leading passengers into the arrivals hall my friend Karen was waiting for me, the new Karen was waiting for me. The doors opened and my eyes searched the crowd and to the right, there she was. Needless to say, tears flowed as we met. Melanie, Karen’s cousin was also there to meet me and give me a warm Canadian welcome.

I was here in 2009 and I have to say, it is great to be back.

Today I am with Karen at her work in a little town called Norval and will be exploring the town in a bit. As the days progress I will keep updating this blog as the time goes by.

Later guys.