20 days to go !


Today we have twenty days to go to Comrades 2017, and by this time in three weeks it is all over. Can you guys believe it ? It feels like yesterday when we started the count down with 100 days to go and here we are, three weeks out.

In three weeks I will line up for the forth Comrades. Even that sounds unreal…

Five months of really hard work, commitment and preparation will play out on the 4th of June when around 20,000 athletes will line up in Durban for the 2017 Comrades Ultra Marathon. This year it is an up run between Durban and Pietermaritzburg, for me personally this is more of a challenge than the down run.

My preparation went well and I am happy with where I am and I know that I have the potential to maybe have my best Comrades Marathon ever. My training went well, my times are on point, actually better than I expected, and I am determined and mentally strong and focused.

The best part still is that I am again able to do this to support the Bible Society of South Africa, to support their Run4Bibles charity assisting in Bible distribution. When the going gets tough, that is when I focus on the cause and the reason why I am doing this and then things become manageable again. This year I am joined by Thérèse Doman and together we will run #Comrades4Bibles.

Remember, there is still time for you to support this amazing cause. Every R50 we raise will enable the Bible Society of South Africa to make available a FREE Bible to someone who really needs it most. This way we can change not only a single single life but potentially a whole family. You can find more details about this charity on my web page at www.myownjourney.co.za/comrades – this is where you will get more info about the charity itself and also the details on how to make your donation.

I want to take this opportunity also to wish all my friends the very very best for their Comrades marathon. I really hope that this Ultimate Human Race will give you all an ultimate experience and leave you with the ultimate feeling of achievement. Go out and do your best and remember to be awesome.





Comrades 2017 for Bibles – and more…

We are less than 80 days away from the running of Comrades marathon 2017. This race over the past four years became an integrate part of my life. After I managed to shake off 53kg I found myself on the road, became a runner and in 2014 lined up with thousands of runners to take on my first “Ultimate Human Race”

Over the ninety something years Comrades became part of a South African tradition and over years became one of those items on any runner’s bucket list, one of those must try items. Comrades Marathon definitely is, without doubt, an ultimate human race, the ultimate test of one’s character, challenging the human spirit, which explains why complete strangers from local and abroad and from totally different backgrounds help each other to conquer this hilly course.

This year’s theme is ZINIKELE, It takes all of you.

It does.

My Comrades journey, the decision to do it, started with a t-shirt I bought at the 2014 expo in Durban and the words, “Don’t promise, commit” sort of snookered me. I was a supporter that year, but when I left the expo in Durban I told my friends that I will run the down run in 2015 and the rest is history. Conquering that first Comrades, I remember coming into that stadium in Durban overwhelmed with a mix of emotions and with tears in my eyes and that indescribable feeling of achievement. That year I hang on to a favourite quote by Madiba, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

Since then I’ve gone back for more and this year I will run my fourth Comrades Marathon. The first one was special but really tough, so much so that I was one of those who said, “Never again” just to find myself back at the start line in 2015 to try to secure my back to back medal, and I did.

To me Comrades never comes easy. Getting to the start line takes all of you, hours of training, endless early mornings, races, places, dealing with injuries, fighting off the flu, sometimes more than one attempt to get qualified and get your seeding right. Preparing for this iconic race requires hard work and ultimate commitment, just to get to the start. On race day, before you can experience and enjoy the moment you cross that finish line before the 12 hours cut-off, the long road between Durban and Pietermaritzburg is often lined with pain, discomfort, desperation, confusion, questions without answers, uncertainty, fear, self-doubt. But it is not all doom and gloom, there are also moments of sharing, solidarity, encouragement, comrade and even humor and laughter as runners navigate their way towards the finish line. It is the encouraging words from fellow runners and total strangers that push you forward towards the end.

The fourth of June is going to be another tough day on the road. It is again an up-run and this is a real challenge for me. I prefer the down run, but this is part of the magic I guess of Comrades, to always challenge you on some level. For us, the so called “normal” and non-elite athletes, this is not a race, and if it is, it is only a race against time, a race against that clock that “seize to work” at twelve hours, when the final cut off gun with sound and determine whether you made it or not. I have learned over the years that a Comrades runner can only claim success when success is achieved.

During every run so far I met my runner’s wall between 60 and 65 kilometer. This is where I go into mental overdrive where it becomes all about mind over matter, the will to carry on and finish what you’ve started arguing against your body that wants to stop. Fact is, the battle now becomes more with your head than your body because your head refuses to believe that you can make it. This “battle” also drains you mentally, emotionally and saps your body of what is left so I try to get this battle over as quickly as possible so I can carry on with the business of the day, getting to that finish line, in time.

In 2016 I started to run for charity when I joined hands with the Bible Society of South Africa and ran my first Comrades for Bibles. I read a lot about people supporting charities through their sport and I decided to give it a go, and this was without doubt the best move I could ever make. That runner’s wall again came at around 60 kilometers, but the battle was short lived. When the going got tough, I reminded myself why I was doing this, so someone somewhere can get a free Bible and then suddenly the tough got going again and I had my best Comrades ever. I really think this is a tradition we as runners need to make part of your running journeys, running for something more than just a medal or personal achievement, but to also support a local charity and bring change to people’s lives.

This year I will again run Comrades for Bibles – run the 87 kilometers raising funds for Bibles – sowing my support for Bibles, one kilometer at a time.

However, there will be an added challenge. I have committed to run Comrades 2017 with a friend to try and ensure that his Comrades dream becomes a reality. Christo Lourens will be by my side on race day. The special challenge here is that Christo has a hearing impairment and has a cochlear implant. For fear of damaging the sensitive and expensive transmitter unit, Christo chooses to compete in his runs without it. When he runs, he is thus literally deaf and totally cut off from the outside world. The main challenge for hearing-impaired runners is always safety. Deaf runners have to be aware of their surroundings constantly. This includes not only motor vehicles but pedestrians and other runners as well. It all revolves around safety. For this very reason I have committed myself to assist Christo and be alongside him – hopefully all the way. Although Christo and I will be taking on Comrades together and hopefully navigate our way to the end together, both of us will run our own race and we as individuals we will have to get to that finish line at Scottsville Racecourse in Pietermaritzburg. [ …read more ]

People say what I do is very noble, but to me this is all about Ubunto, meaning, “I am what I am because of who we all are.” Running for a cause and this year, also for a friend, is a real blessing to me and means so much to me that it is not just about me, it is not just about my medal, my personal goal, dream or challenge, but it extends over boundaries and horizons much further than that.

My Comrades for Bibles charity drive is now open and you can show your support by donating to this cause. Every R50 donation will make available one FREE Bible to someone who really needs it most and goes to the poorest of the poor.  It was Paul who said, “I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow.” ( 1 Corinthians 3 :16 ) Each Bible we can place in the hands of the Bible Society of South Africa and ultimately in the hands of a stranger somewhere will not only bring a single person, but potentially a whole family, one step closer to a living relationship with God.

Today I am so glad that I am not forced to support one of the official and accredited charities associated with Comrades, so I decided to dedicate my kilometers to the Bible Society of South Africa. I have a dedicated web page for my Comrades for Bibles charity drive and I invite you to visit this page to learn how you can support this cause. I tried to make the process a little easier and hopefully we can top last year’s R14,323.40 ( 311 free Bibles ).

Thank you for your support and for being part of my journey to Comrades 2017 !

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As a Team – We will tackle his dream!


I (me Douw) was more walking than running when I survived my 5 km race way back in January 2011. That experience was, however, enough to convince me to lace up permanently and develop into a full-fledged runner. I loved it. Here I am, six years later and still enjoying this wonderful sport.

Throughout my running years I have learned that runners and walkers are not made from a single blueprint. We come in a variety of shapes, sizes, sexes, ages, colours and abilities, each one having his/her own strengths and weaknesses.

During Comrades 2016 Cornelia Hutchinson and I ran for more than our own medals by supporting the Bible Society of South Africa’s Run4Bibles charity drive. We were overwhelmed by the love and support we received from our friends, family and even strangers. In the process we managed to raise a stunning R14,000 plus for Bibles.

This year my journey will be somewhat different. I have committed myself to run Comrades 2017 with a friend and to try ensure that his Comrades dream becomes a reality. Christo Kris Lourens will be by my side on race day. Our special challenge is that Christo has a hearing impairment and has a cochlear implant. When he runs without the transmitter unit, he is literally deaf and totally cut off from the outside world.

The main challenge for hearing impaired runners is always safety. Deaf runners always have to be constantly aware of their surroundings and watch out for traffic, not just cars, but pedestrians and other runners too. It is all evolves around their safety. For this very reason have I committed myself to assist Christo and be alongside with him – hopefully all the way.

Due to many factors, first and foremost the length of the events and the resultant exposure to numerous hazards, disabled athletes comprise a small minority in endurance sports. Christo and I decided that he can use this opportunity to inspire and motivate others and afford him the opportunity to serve as an ambassador for this minority group. It’s a role he shied away from at first, but he now understands that having overcome the odds for himself, he now has the added responsibility to defy stereotypes that exist about deaf people in endurance sports.

Christo is such an inspiration to me, because he is living his life to the fullest while he just happens to wear a hearing aid along the way. He has successfully completed various road races, half and full marathons and he has also hiked the Fish River Canyon trail twice.

Sport is a great equalizer. We may not all finish at the same time, but our efforts and the end results are often not far apart. Our times may differ considerably but that is not the final benchmark. We have to embrace and respect the diversity of everyone’s own challenge, and refrain from judging other athletes by ingenuous criteria alone. When we truly find out about the other person’s challenges, the chances are that they may just surprise you.

Christo runs all his races without wearing his transmitter. Cochlear implants are sensitive pieces of electronic equipment and they are at risk of breaking if they fall out of the ear during vigorous activity. Furthermore, it is not only the transmitter that can be damaged, a sportsman with a cochlear implant is always at risk of suffering a blow to the head on or around the site of the internal package – which may damage the internal package or external parts or the skin around the area. This can happen during a fall or a collision with another person. These risks may seem small, but they are certainly real and any injury would have severe consequences.

I met Christo through mutual friends and we ran our first race together at the Castle Walk 10km on the ninth of August last year. Little did we know how our friendship would develop and what was lying ahead. That single certainly led to an amazing journey towards Comrades 2017. Another proof of the unique ability of this wonderful sport to create meaningful friendships.

When the entries for Comrades Marathon 2017 opened last year, I told Christo that if he entered for this iconic and amazing race, I would commit myself to be at his side and assist him in any way possible on this journey to make his dream come true. And here we are in 2017, Christo has entered and we are on our #Road2Comrades2017. The TeamVitality and Magnolia Road Runners duo is now pushing forward towards the forth of June 2017.

To date we have run various races together, most of them half-marathons – but we are literally only days away from our first joint marathon, the Johnson Crane 42.2km on 29 January 2017. Needless to say, it is important for us to get the qualifying race out of the way first so that we can then start working on the finer details of seconding someone. As a running duo we have to work on our communication, figure out how we will get one another’s attention, how to keep eye contact while communicating, work out brief and simple instructions and start using pre-agreed visual signals to navigate our way safely though the massive crowd on the road. On all the races, but more so on Comrades race day, I have to be sensitive in order to pay attention to many aspects: how we run as a pair, our pacing and running conditions, and the physical and emotional state of my running partner. The responsibility rest firmly on my shoulders to get Christo safely over that finish line in Pietermaritzburg and I am determined and motivated to do just that.

Our running together is based on commitment and dedication but as we got to know one another better and started doing longer runs, I have noticed how the bond of trust has grown between us.  I realised that Christo entered Comrades on the basis of this trust and if it wasn’t for me he would have not done so. I am feeling blessed and so fortunate to share this amazing journey with him and to help him achieve his Comrades dream.

Meeting this amazing individual has forever changed my life and in the process added a new dimension to my own personal passion for running. Last year was a special Comrades Marathon when Cornelia and I ran for Bibles, this year will be double the blessing, running for Bibles again and helping a friend to realise his Comrades dream.

It seems that the above account carries two very important messages for everyone out there. When I started my own journey way back in 2008 I never thought to be living the life I do now. I literally afforded myself a second chance, gave myself a new lease on a happier and healthier life; started to run; lost 53kg; completed various half- full- and ultra-marathons, including three international marathons; and I will line up for my 4th Comrades this year.

In the words of Nelson Mandela, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” The impossible is possible! Through my running I also hope to inspire others to improve their lives. Sharing my humble wisdom and experiences through my own personal web page www.myownjourney.co.za and other social media interactions is aimed at achieving this. Christo also has a simple, but powerful message: “I love challenges and nothing needs to stand in your way to make your dreams a reality. I’ve been dreaming about doing Comrades for a long time, and this year I am going to do it with my friend and wingman Douw next to me.”

You will be able to follow our journey through my web page at www.myownjourney.co.za or find me on social media, Twitter and Instagram ( @myownjourney_sa ) You can find Christo on Facebook and Instagram


2017 is around the corner…


Are you ready to welcome the New Year ?
Are you ready to step out and take a new chance on life ?
Are you ready to push your boundaries and challenge yourself to living your best possible life ?

People, this is probably going to be my last post for 2016 and I want to take this opportunity to first thank everyone for being part of my life and my journey throughout this past year. Thank you for your love and support and for believing in me, even when I didn’t. It is so amazing to always feel the love and support form everyone, whether it is in person or via social media, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. I really appreciate all the support.

This year was a good year for me with so many wonderful moments and experiences and the good definitely outweighed the not so good. Thinking about all the races I did, it all went well and I was blessed not to have too many injuries or stuff holding me back.

I did my third Comrades Marathon this year and it was an honor to do it this year for the Bible Society of South Africa’s Run For Bibles project and Cornelia Hutchinson and I managed to raise more than R14,000 for this awesome charity. We were so blessed with the awesome support we received. This was also my best Comrades run to date – it was just a really good day on the road.

I also won the Discovery Vitality #MyVitalityPB competition during September and the trip I won to Athens Greece made it possible for myself and Pieter Venter to not only travel to Greece but also to run the Athens Authentic Marathon, celebrating 120 years of the marathon as we know it. What an awesome opportunity ! Feeling so blessed !

There were many other races, Two Oceans, Forever Loskop, Cape Town Marathon and many more – all wonderful events where I was able to share the road with my awesome running family and friends. Part of the highlights of all these events are always the people we get to share the road with. Thank you guys for making each event a special one.



During this year, a very special individual also entered into my life in the form of Christo Kris Lourens. I single this out because Christo has entered for his first Comrades Marathon and I will be his wing man during this special event. The #Road2Comrades2017 has started and you guys will see us on the road at around 40 official races as we train together in preparation for the big one scheduled for the 4th of June 2017. Together we will take on Comrades 2017 and I trust that we will be blessed with a great race, Christo’s first Comrades and my fourth. Also once again looking forward to share the road on that day with so many other passionate runners from all over – turning ordinary into extraordinary !

This year will be another year of #MakingMilesAndMomentsCount and I cannot wait to share it with you all; lots of races, loads of early mornings, traveling, hundreds of traveling and running kilometers and off course lots and lots of photos !

People, as per my previous post, I hope it will be a year of growing, evolving, taking on of new challenges and pushing on to make dreams come true. Always remember this – this means we will have to make mistakes, we have to fail sometimes so we can succeed later. Don’t be afraid to try new things, don’t be afraid of challenging yourself and don’t be afraid of making mistakes, because this will make the difference between staying where you are and rising from above the rest.

Here is to wish everyone a blessed 2017 !

Visit [ http://myownjourney.co.za ] to link with me form there on all social media platforms

Comrades 2016 for more than just a medal


There is a reason why we refer to Comrades as “the ultimate human race” because it will push those who take on the challenge to the very extremes. Bruce Fordyce says, “The Comrades is a selfish race and the race rewards those who dedicate everything to it.” This is so true. It requires hard work, hours of dedication and commitment, loads of early mornings, late nights, traveling and social sacrifice and come race day your training is a mere part of the Comrades journey between the two cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban. At some stage you push your body beyond training, beyond races done, beyond kilometres on the legs – then it is will power, determination and a deep desire to succeed that takes over and carries you from around 60km to the end.

Running has become my passion and for those who knew the “old me” this statement will sound absolutely ridiculous, but it is true. Running became my way of life, my routine. Comrades on the other hand became more than that, it became to me the only way I can show my courage and mental strength and capability. Taking on any ultra-marathon is as much physical as it is mental.

This year I decided to do all this for more than myself, to make it a Comrades for more than just a medal. Don’t get me wrong, the medal is important as it symbolizes success and for me were going to be the proof of a third successful Comrades marathon. But I took a step back and got in behind the Bible Society of South Africa, supporting their Run4Bibles project. My Run4BbleRands-friend Cornelia Hutchinson joined me this year and together we embraced the opportunity to run for something more than just ourselves.

Myself and Cornelia had an amazing Comrades race, we had a great day on the road; for me personally, my best Comrades run ever and even got to run a personal best. It was just a good day. What made the difference I believe was the fact that we were constantly reminded that this race was for more than just a medal, it was to support the Bible Society of South Africa, to support their Run4Bibles project, it was about the people who have given so generously towards our cause, but it was ultimately about those lives that would be touched and in many cases changed because of a free Bible they are going to receive. When the going got tough, when the body started to complain, I kept on reminding myself of one thing and one thing only, “By doing this charity run you are helping real people and real lives can be changed.” That was all the motivation I needed to carry me to the very end, to the finish line at Kingsmead Stadium in Durban.

For those of you who have followed our Run4Bibles charity drive on social media will know that Cornelia and I have been blessed with so much love and support, so many open hearts and open wallets. People got behind us to support this awesome cause and together we managed to raise a staggering R14 323.30 for the Run4Bibles project. With this money the Bible Society of South Africa will be able to make available approximately 311 free Bibles to those who need it most which includes grade 7 learners attending schools in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods, prisons and the poorest of the poor. We cannot thank everyone who have supported us enough – and a plain “Thank you” seems to be so insignificant, but if we think of those lives that can and will be changed because of your generosity, then a heartfelt “Thank you” has to be enough.

Photo : Cheque handover with Shaun Verster, Store Operator of Eagle Wing Spur. They donated  R2750 to the Run4Bibles Cause. Thank you !

Cornelia and I will continue with our Run4BibleRands project where we donate R1 for every kilometer we do in races every month to the Bible Society of South Africa. If you want to join us on this exciting and life changing journey, then get on touch with me or visit my web page for more details on how to sign up. Together we will continue to show support for Bibles, one kilometer at a time.


[ Join us and Run4BibleRands ] [ Bible Society of South Africa ]

Canada’s 1st ever National Relay for Youth and South Africa joins in…

I visited Canada visited Canada in October last year where he did the ScotiaBank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in support of a local Canadian charity, the Steve O’Brian Foundation.

I also had the privilege to meet and spend time with Canadian pro athlete Steve Obrien and joined him for a short charity run which ended in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Whilst I was there I was also awarded the special shirt of the foundation as an honorary member for my contribution to and support of the foundation. I was involved with keeping the web page up to date as Steve progressed on his cross Canada relay.

Now South Africa gets involved, once again. This time Magnolia Road Runners agreed to dedicate their pre-Comrades Long Run, which will happen this coming Sunday, the 24th of April 2016, as a solidarity run to show support to the Steve O’Brien Foundation’s great cause. On the 28th the foundation will host their very first National Youth Relay where they challenge children all over Canada to match or exceed the 13,225kms Steve completed in his cross Canada solo relay. [ Read more here : http://www.walkrunnroll.ca/ ] It is important, actually vital, to get the youth moving earlier in their lives rather than late and with this solidarity run, we as Magnolians and friends of Magnolia Road Runners, although we are 13,300kms away from Canada, will #RunAsOne to show our support. The kilometres we do at this long run will be forwarded to the foundation in Canada and will be recorded in their logs.

Let’s run together whilst #MakingMilesAndMomentsCount

solidarity run


Why run for a charity?


I think this question is asked a lot and people will without doubt have different answers to it. Here is my take on it.

I have been part of the 1000km Challenge for three years now and have already entered for the 2015-2016 Challenge cycle too. This year at Comrades I joined another charity, the Run Walk for Bibles initiative, driven by the Bible Society of South Africa. Both these initiatives support a charity in some shape or form.

The 1000km Challenge in the past supported The Salvation Army, Wet Nose Animal Rescue Centre, Meals on Wheels, Stop Rhino Poaching and last year, the SA Guide Dogs for the Blind. The Active for Bibles initiative driven by the Bible Society of South Africa enables athletes to be just that, active for Bibles, and in my case I joined, Run for Bibles.

First and foremost for me it is about the athlete who commit to the challenge, so I believe the biggest motivating factor behind running for a charity is to help an athlete to stay motivated; there is a level of obligation on your part to get up and go out for a purpose, for your charity. The motivation factor can be a huge help just at the times when your training is getting tough and you’re thinking of slacking down a bit. Fact is, at the end of the day, your effort makes a difference, a real difference, because money raised by runners at hundreds of races throughout the year provides invaluable funds to their chosen charities. This brings me back to my own motto, “Making Miles and Moments Count”. To support your chosen charity is also a way for you to say “Thank you” for what they do, in a more personal and tangible way. It is not always just about raising funds, that is definitely a big part of it, but it is also about creating awareness for your chosen charity in your community.

Whatever your charity, make your every step count and help a charity in need to reach their goals. Here is a quick recap.

The 1000km Challenge is about the joy of running and walking as many races as you can or want to attain a set goal. You will have fun, meet new people, see beautiful places and experience great races. This is a message from the page, “If you are ready, step over your boundaries into the future!” Also, each challenge season a charity is chosen and will receive a R10.00 donation from each entry received for the 1000km Challenge. This is a great way to support a worthy cause. This year The African Pangolin Working Group will benefit from the 2015-2016 1000km Challenge.
Run for Bibles is my second charity choice this year. I have joined them at Comrades and now have a member number which people can use to make donations to the Bible Society of South Africa and this money will go towards the very important mandate of the Bible Society of South Africa to fulfil its task of making affordable Bibles available for everyone.

I want to encourage you to make your runs count this year. Join a charity of your choice this year and help them make a difference in your community and beyond. Join thousands of athletes in this beautiful country and make a difference by being active for more and some and something bigger than yourself. Show your gratitude for being healthy and fit and touch a live somewhere today, tomorrow, this week, next week, this month, this year.


Join me and #Run4BibleRands and make your races count !

You can still support the Bible Society of South Africa by using my fundraiser number for the Run for Bibles & Run4BibleRands, if not running yourself, but by matching my donations every month or whenever you feel like it.

Bible Society of South Africa
Branch Code: 632005
Acc Number: 4058269909
Use Ref #: 684851

[ 1000km Challenge ]