PwC George Claassen Memorial Road Race 2017 : My Six Year Anniversary Run

This morning’s PwC George Claassen Memorial Road Race marked my six year running anniversary. This is where my running journey started, on the 29th of January 2011.

Let me take you back to that day real quick. There were more than 3000 athletes lining up that morning for the 10km and 21.1km races, but there was also the walkers and more specific, the 5km fun run group; I was lined up there. Although I was already two years into my weight loss journey, I have never done a single race in my life, and there I was, hoping to make the 5km with a combination of running and walking, hopefully no crawling. Well, I did finish with an ‘accomplished’ time of 00:30:20. For me the time was not important, I was just very happy to finish. I loved the whole vide of this event so much that I joined the Running Inn running club, bought my first running shoes, got my first ASA license that very day ( after the race ) and I guess I could then call myself a ‘runner’.

That morning Pieter Venter was also there, doing his first 10km race and also he never stopped. That day marked the beginning of new chapter for the both of us.

Following this event I started doing races on a regular basis and looked forward to every weekend because it meant, like I called it then, ‘races and places’. That gave birth to my current slogan I love to use – ‘Making Miles and Moments Count

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This morning, lining up for this very same event, I was overwhelmed with so much gratitude, feeling so blessed, that I can still do what I love and love what I do, running, sharing the road with so many awesome people and maintaining my healthy lifestyle and in the process encourage others to do the same, to live their best possible lives. Standing there at the start of this morning’s race I was taken back in time for a split moment to thàt first 5km fun run just a few blocks away from where we were this morning ( back then the race started at the back of Menlyn Park Shopping Centre ) and then an announcement by Pete brought me back to this morning’s event. I looked at Christo Lourens standing next to me and immediately thought of the #Road2Comrades2017 we are on, the road to his very first Comrades Marathon, my fourth. I thought to myself, ‘Here I am, six years down the road of my very own running journey and in a privileged position helping a friend to realize his very own Comrades dream.’ On the 4th of June I am determined to cross that finish line at Scottsville Racecourse in Pietermaritzburg with Christo Lourens next to me.

My message to everyone reading this is simple, ‘Let no one ever tell you that something is not possible, because it is.’ My favorite quote, the quote that carried me through my very first Comrades, are these words by the late Nelson Mandela, ‘It always seems impossible until it’s done.’ If you dream it, chances are pretty good that you can achieve it. With hard work and commitment the impossible is very possible. It is always within your reach to achieve extraordinary things. Believe it. Always remember, there are always something out there to help you achieve your goals, you just have to find it. For me, joining Discovery Vitality made a huge difference, helping me to stay focused, committed and determined to carry on and then also rewarding me for doing so. Never was it so simple to work out and get rewarded all at the same time.

Let me also take this opportunity to just thank everyone who was and still is part of my journey for your love, support and encouragement. No, it was not always easy and no things did not always worked out as planned, but, I never gave up, never quit, never opted for second best, I worked hard, pushed on, set new goals, leaned forward and reached out for what was ahead. All of you made that possible for me. If I had to do this alone, I am not sure that it would have played out this way at all. I’ve learned to never underestimate the value of a friend of fellow runner, because they are the people who lift us up when we need it most, when we are tired, discouraged and weary.

Happy running everyone and have fun chasing your dreams !

[ Read more about my journey here : http://www.myownjourney.co.za ] and follow me on Twitter or Instagram @myownjourney_sa ( links on my web page )

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2017 – Dream it. Believe it. Achieve it.

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I have just updated my Facebook banner ( above ) and this is my motto for 2017 and also my wish for each and every one of you out there.

Make this year a year of dreaming bigger than ever before ! Have a dream, set a goal, whatever you do, just #challengeyourself to do something extraordinary this year. Remember the word extraordinary means exactly that – something other than the ordinary. For this you will have to leave the safety of your comfort zone. So set that goal, then believe in yourself and then go out and do it. Make it happen. Achieve it. You might even want to revisit 2016 – have a little glimpse back of what lies behind and see what target, goal or dream you have NOT realized last year and make that your challenge for this year. Whatever you do – go out and be awesome, go out and be EXTRAORDINARY !

Feel free to share your dreams and goals with me by commenting on this blog. I welcome your chats and feedback.

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2017 is around the corner…

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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.

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#Road2Comrades2017

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

Making Miles and Moments Count

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I’ve been using this tag on social media for quite a while now and I still appreciate the value it adds to my life and to the lives of others.

#MakingMilesAndMomentsCount obviously refers to my running, but it involved more than just running, it represents the whole “package” if you will; races, places, people, medals. It is about getting there, the people you meet, the event itself, the medal. There is always a story to tell after every race we do and these are the memories, the miles and moments we get to remember. I also love taking pictures and sometimes going through the pictures it fires up lost memories and rekindle stories almost forgotten.

[ Click on the images below to enlarge ]

Today, a year ago, I was in Toronto Canada for the ScotiaBank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and this morning when I went through my photos to put together a Tweet to all runners, to wish them well, it brought back so many memories. The interesting things about going through these pics don’t just bring back memories about the marathon, but also about days preceding the race, the days before, on and after the race. I remember so many wonderful moments with new friend I’ve made, places I have seen and the city of Toronto I got to explore by myself for three days. My pictures tell a story of so many wonderful moments. For me also to get to share this event with my friends Karen and Chris, who for the first time attended a marathon event like this and because I was there and I was part of this, they also got to make memories of their own. This to me is what it is about.

In a few weeks I will jet off to Athens Greece. I won a trip for two, a competition run by Discovery Vitality during the Rio Olympics, and the prize, a trip for two to Athens Greece. Winning this prize opened the door to new opportunities to go and gather more memories. When I started to plan for this trip and was busy on Google and searched for races in Greece and I discovered that the Athens Authentic Marathon was coming up in November and better even, entries were still open. I was entered for this race even before we had any flights and or accommodation booked and confirmed. I just had to do this. So this means that Pieter and I will be in Athens for the 34th Annual “Athens Marathon. The Authentic” which will take place on November 13th, 2016 – marking 120 years from the first contemporary Marathon race, an event inspired by the ancient course of the legendary Athenian soldier hemerodromos (courier in Ancient Greece who would run for a day) after the Battle of Marathon. This will definitely be another awesome #MakingMilesAndMomentsCount opportunity.

I guess what I am trying to say is that we have to live life to the fullest, savour every moment and make every moment count. Today is all we have and it the gateway to tomorrow; make the most of it. And yes, if you can, take pictures, lot of pictures. These become so important later; when we go through them they trigger so many memories.

Have fun making memories !

Greece is calling !

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Acropolis, Athens Greece

In the beginning of September I was informed by Discovery Vitality that I was the winner of the competition they run during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and the prize, a trip for two to Athens, Greece. The prize includes flights, accommodation for six nights, seven days, transfers and a full day city tour including a visit to The Panathenaic Stadium also known as Kallimarmaro.

So, right now, excitement is building as I count down the days to 9 November 2016 when I will jet off to Athens, Greece for this amazing trip. I have decided to also extend my time in Greece with a few days and will only return on the 26th of November 2016.

Like a typical runner, when I started to look at possible dates of travel I consulted “Doctor Google” for some help in this regard and saw that the Athens Authentic Marathon will happen in 13th of November 2016. Needless to say, even before my dates for the trip were confirmed I was entered for the marathon. Pieter and I will run this very iconic marathon between Marathon and Athens on the 13th of November 2016 in the colors of TeamVitality. We are so excited about this. We will run this race with tired legs because the week before we will be in Nelspruit for the Kaapsehoop Marathon, but hey, maybe this will force us to hold back and take in all aspects of the Athens run. Many runners describe The Athens Marathon as the ultimate Marathon experience; recreating each year the incredible run that started it all 2,500 years ago. This year we will be part of this amazing experience.

During my trip I will definitely keep everyone updated and you will be able to follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

As a last thought, during the Cape Town marathon two weeks ago I managed to qualify for Comrades so that one is also ticked off the list. Now I can just hope for a better seeding sometime, somewhere. Kaapsehoop is a good opportunity for that, but will see what happens there on 5 November 2016. During Cape Town marathon I was once again reminded of two realities of running. Firstly, you should always run your own race, and secondly, race day will look after itself; you can be well prepared and in top form and have a terrible run and you can be uncertain and in doubt and not so prepared and have a great day on the road.

Friends, I will touch base with you all again soon. In the meanwhile, be inspired to live your best possible life and make every moment count and have no regrets !

Be true to yourself

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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 ]

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.