Commitment and perseverance is key to success


2016 Comrades done & dusted !

Towards the end of April I introduced you to Bernita Bornmann, “The Butterfly Lady” Through that article people got to know her a little better and the butterfly trail now make sense to many. But at that time Bernita was only weeks away from her first Comrades and now Comrades is over, something of the past.


On 29 May 2016 Bernita successfully completed her first “Ultimate Human Race” in a time of 11:13:58. I decided to catch up with her again to find out little more about her Comrades and this is what she had to say.

I asked her to share with me how her first Comrades was; how she felt before, during and after the race and if it was what she expected from this iconic races.

“Before the race….you and thousands of other runners listen to Chariots of Fire…. I still find it hard to describe that feeling. I felt anxious, excited, scared, determined but also very proud to finally be part of the Ultimate Human Race.  I felt proud to have the guts to actually pitch up for the biggest challenge I have ever set for myself.”

“During the race your every emotion follows the massive crowd of people going up and down the hills.  Your legs hurt in ways no one could prepare you for, but then you look at the supporters cheering, shouting your name and you think of all the reasons you started this challenge in the first place.”

“When I got to Cowies I was in a lot of pain, but quitting was not an option.  I remember saying to myself, ‘Don’t stop no matter what!’  Other than hurting, I had no medical issues or cramping.  One of the challenges was not to worry too much about the time and cut-offs as this can add a lot of extra stress. I knew I had to make it, I knew I had to be there in a certain time, but because I was ahead of time I did not let it get to me. A lot of the thinking and planning was done by my running partner Paul who ran the whole race with me, something I am very grateful for. I learnt a lot from this Comrades and will apply it at next year’s race.”

Hours later, you along with many other runners entered Kinsmead Stadium in Durban. Can you remember the first thing that went through your mind when you entered the stadium knowing the end is only a few hundred meters away ?

“I cannot really pinpoint a specific thought or feeling… it all happens so fast, those final few moments.  I know that I was overwhelmed by an array of emotions and feelings when I looked up into the crowd and realised that I made it. This is the finish I always saw on TV and then I realised, now I am part of it, not from up there or from my coach, but as a Comrades finisher. I realised I did it, I completed my first Comrades Marathon. I was filled with pride, joy, thankfulness and yes, relieve that it was over. Believe me, there was a lot of tears at the finish line.”

Bernita, Comrades is a tough race which test athletes on so many levels. I am a firm believer that Comrades is not just a single event, it is not only about race day, race day is to me the conclusion of a journey that started months ago. Obviously your training has paid off and you successfully completed this iconic ultra-marathon, but now in hindsight, is there anything that you would have done differently if you had the opportunity ?

“No, I don’t think so. One can only train up to a certain point. I did plus minus 1300km from in training from the start of January and did not have any injuries that required physiotherapy or anything else. Just a niggle now and then, but then also rested when I needed to. I am so thankful for this. I also think the fact that I also focussed on stretching and weight training helped me during the down run.”

What have you learned about yourself on this road to Comrades ( before, during and after the race )

“Like I said previously, if I set my mind to something I will complete it.  Commitment and perseverance is key to success.

The next obvious question. Will you be there on the 4th of June 2017 to take on the up run to secure your back to back medal ?


Okay, so you are going back in 2017, in that case, is there anything you are going to do different in preparation for that race ? …and if so, what and why ?

“I have already heard from various Comrades runners that hill training is key to have a good up run, so yah, hills, hills and more hills will be on the training agenda for sure. For those who know me it is not a secret that I am not very fond of running hills so I have a lot of hard work to do for next year. I have to change my road work to also incorporate hill training. I think it will also altogether be a new challenge for me, mentally.”

In our previous chat you mentioned that the butterfly trail will continue to Comrades. So tell us, is there a little black and white butterfly at Kingsmead ?

“Yes!  I actually had the opportunity to put then up along the route, before the race. What an amazing sight to see them while I was running.  And also, every 10km one was thrown up in the air!”

What will you say to anyone who is considering Comrades but who are maybe hesitant or scared to do it ?

“Visualize how you would feel at the end.  Many of my running friends told me this before the time, and I did it. If you train correctly, give it the right amount of respect and give it your all you can complete Comrades.”

So friends, there it is, “the Butterfly Lady” has spoken. Will you be joining her in 2017 maybe for your first Comrades ? Remember my favorited Madiba quote, “It always seem impossible until it’s done.”


Be true to yourself

Today’s #simplifyyourlife image is all about being true to yourself. But what does this mean.

In short, it is all about being you, who you are and what you believe in. If you are at peace with yourself you will find being true to yourself will be much easier than it is for those who are not.

Don’t be afraid to be who you are.

Like many things in life, this is something you need to take care of yourself. You need to give that first step forward to make this happen. A good start is to learn to accept yourself for who you are and not for who others want you to be. Don’t act on what others want you to be, not even so you can feel accepted and or to fit in. I always say, we are not here to fit in, we are on this earth to stand out. Being different and unique is a gift; embrace it.

It is when we start doing the things that are not genuine and or a real and true reflection of who we are, what we believe in or stand for, that we will guide ourselves onto a road we were never supposed to travel on. You will end up unhappy and confused.

Respect yourself and others will respect you too. People will see you as a strong and capable individual with a true identity. It will boost your self-respect and others will also get to respect you more.

Always remember that you are unique in so many ways and when you start to be true to yourself that uniqueness will shine through. Being true to yourself however does not mean that you are superior to others, it only means that you are true to who you are and what you believe in, but you should still respect the opinions of others without necessarily conforming to it. Yes we can listen to advice and we should, but we should make up our own minds.

Being true to yourself takes a whole lot of courage and it will require from you to be honest with yourself about everything. It will also require from you to do some serious introspection to find the true you. This will define who you are and it will mean that no one will make decisions for you. You are in control.

Live your best possible life and be true to yourself, to the very core of your being embodied by your highest possible values and beliefs. Learn to express yourself in creative and inspiring ways and by doing this touch lives and inspire people to follow your suit.

I encourage you to be true to yourself, discover who you are and who you were meant to be and then go out and live your best possible life.

[ Join me on Instagram and Twitter and be inspired ! ]
[ Find the other #simplifyyourlife images HERE ]

Live Your Best Possible Life

I stumbled upon these words and really wanted to share it with you all. These words of Jackson Brown Jr. are really inspiring


Hope you enjoyed it. Share it and let’s all live our best possible lives.

If you are on Instagram, follow me on @myownjourney_sa and share in this month’s special “simplify your life” images I share. Our lives are so cluttered with stuff we often don’t need, so this is to help you add a little simplicity to yours.

Join me as we try to ‘Simplify Life’

Confucius said, “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”

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First “Simplify Your Life” image : 04.07.2016

Believe me, when Confucius made that statement he was certainly not confused.

It is the truth.

Most of us are trapped in a race against time and often not even knowing where we‘re heading. The key to a more simplified life is to do what’s right, the right way and at the right time, but it is not always that simple.

Well, today I am starting a social media drive called “Simplify Your Life” I will be posting simple life hacks to help you simplify your life. To be part of this you can follow me on Instagram or Twitter using @myownjourney_sa or you can join me on Facebook where the posts will also appear. Feel free also to chat along, post, comment and share your “simple life” tips using the hashtag #simplyyourlife

Enjoy the short journey with me as we try to create a more simplified life.