Comrades is something of the past, what now…?

So Comrades 2017 is something of the past. Some runners started training again, others are still lying low and taking it easy.

Image result for guy resting

I have learned during my years of running that recovering from a marathon or ultra-marathon is a critical component of a perfect training plan that runners often neglect. Unfortunately, if you don’t properly recover from your long run, you’ll increase you injury risk and limit your long-term potential. Simple as that.

For those who have done a marathon or two before will know that these events are really tough on our bodies. From muscles and tendons to hormones and cells – almost every system in your body is pushed to the max and undergoes extreme physical exertion during these runs. It therefore makes perfect sense that we should do everything you we to help your body recover once the long run is over.

I am not going to tell people what to do and what not to do, there are a lot of resources out there that can help with that, all I can say is do not be in a hurry to get into the full swing of things too soon. Give your body a chance to recover and especially, like before your marathon or ultra-marathon, avoid being around sick people. Remember putting your body through the paces at these endurance events gives your body’s immune system a massive knock. Athletes who participate in endurance events like marathons and ultra-marathons, are therefore at an increased risk of picking up minor illnesses or infections – most commonly upper respiratory tract infections.

I personally know a lot of runners who fell ill after Comrades, some serious and others not so serious, but it just underlines the fact that it is a reality.

You can try to limit this risk by avoiding deficiencies and ensure adequate intake of carbohydrates, proteins, fluids and micronutrients like iron, zinc, Vitamin B6, B12, Vitamin C and Vitamin E. Also make sure you stay hydrated.

For the past week I’ve been dealing with an ankle injury, yes nothing to do with hydration or stacking up on the vitamins, but it is simply because I did what I decided not to do, and did a half-marathon as my first post-comrades race. Stupid ! So now I am taking it easy, making sure I get rid of this injury so I can start with my proper training at the beginning of August. I am already back in gym for about four weeks now, but beginning of August the focused training starts so I can be ready for the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon on the 17th of September 2017 and hopefully this will be my Comrades 2018 qualifier race.

Well friends, time to sign off. I hope all of you are doing well and are still on track with your training plans and busy doing what you have to to make those dreams come true.

Happy weekend everyone !


Two Oceans Ultra Marathon is here !


We are four days away from running the Old Mutual Two Oceans Ultra Marathon in Cape Town on Saturday 15th of April 2017.

The Two Oceans Ultra Marathon is the most beautiful marathon in the world and it is definitely a race very close to my heart because it was my first ultra-marathon I did, way back in 2015. I’ve certainly had my ups and downs at this race, but thank goodness there were more ups than downs, band by “ups” I don’t mean Chappies and Constantia Nek.

My best time was 05.50.14 and I am going to try, with the emphasis on “try” to better this time, even if it just with a few minutes. I just want to finish strong, without any issues and also without injury because a week later, on the 22nd of April I will once again line up for another race, this time the Loskop Ultra Marathon.

My plan for Two Oceans is to get out of the bundle as quick as possible without having to sprint necessarily. There are ways to free yourself from the field without having to do the 100m dash. Then I also want to find my rhythm as early as possible in the race. It is important for me to hold back and run easy and in check during the first three to five kilometres because this is where the speed traps are. It is easy to get sucked in by the fast stream and to start too fast will be the wrong thing to do. I maintain what I always say, “Fly now, pay later”. This is also warm up time, to get the blood flowing, the muscles warmed up and breathing settled.

In the first 28km I want to run a bit on the conservative side and see how it plays out because the challenges are mainly for me in the second 28km and those two iconic hills, Chapmans Peak and then the dreaded Constantia Nek. To prepare for this I have up my average pace a little on the first half to make up for the time wasters on the second lap.

The second half is a challenge, mainly because fatigue is kicking in and you have to navigate those constant climbs and also keep enough fuel in the tank not only to get over Constantia Nek but to be strong to endure the last ten kilometers to the end. This stretch is mostly down but what makes this part a challenge is the twists and turns and the camber that really get to your ankles The final three kilometers should be a breeze for any other event but after 53km you usually feel it and just to make sure you face one more little challenge, that final little uphill leading runners to the finish venue at UCT. The support here is usually very good and the cheering really helps to get runners home.

Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon is one of the nicest finishes for me, coming into those grounds with that sharp turn to the left, a quick straight and then the right turn into the final stretch with the finish line in front of you welcoming everyone home after a long morning on the road.

Well, that is the plan. This is a stepping stone to something bigger, Comrades 2017. It is important for me to just have a good and comfortable Oceans, most of all just enjoy the time on the road with fellow runners from all walks of life, the gorgeous scenery and enjoying the warm support from the side of the road. We love the crowds who come out to support us as we feed of their energy, equally so also all the amazing volunteers making sure we stay hydrated, fed and entertained along the route. Shout out to all of you !

Good luck to all my friends and strangers who will be taking on the 56km Ultra run this weekend. May you all be safe and may you all get the results you were training for. Go out and let’s all Run As One !

Going for your first marathon ?

ctmOften as runners we want to push those boundaries a little more, try harder, go further. That is part of human nature.

I remember when I did my first 5km. Just thinking about it left me with instant doubt. But, I did it, moved on to 10km later, followed by 15km, 21.1km, 25km, 32km and all the way upwards to Comrades, the world’s toughest ultra-marathon, the so called “Ultimate Human Race” and right now I am training for Comrades number four. Sometimes I feel like I have to pinch myself when I think about it, I’ve definitely came a long long way.

But here I want to share some thoughts on training for that first biggy, the full marathon. Believe me, your first 42.2km run will not come easy, it is a challenge and it requires hard work and proper preparation from you, but the reward is amazing. Trust me; crossing that finish line however will put you in a different place, a place where you’ve never been before.

First things first. If you want to conquer that 42.2km challenge you will have to learn to love those long runs. Long runs are undoubtedly the most important workout for aspiring marathoners. Long runs help to build endurance and because the marathon is more about aerobic and constant rhythm, this is exactly the kind of workouts you need. When you start to pile up the kilometers, beware of running too far too quickly, build your kilometers slowly, don’t go out too fast ( think LSR – long slow run ).

Also, it is very important that you run by pace and not by how you feel.

Before I get into this, let me share this quote by Bill Dellinger, who said.

“Good things come slow, especially in distance running.”

Many runners take on a marathon like they would a half-marathon – BIG MISTAKE. You have to pace yourself, for the long run. If you run on how you feel, you will feel great at the start and quickly find your way through the crowd, just to slow down later and be passed by that very crowd you passed earlier. Pacing is key to get you through a marathon or ultra-marathon for that matter. I always use this phrase when I try to explain this to novice runners, “Fly now, pay later…”. Believe me, this is the truth. Remember there are various things that can determine how you feel on race day : temperature, lack of sleep, stress, travel or training fatigue, even dietary related matters. All these can determine how you feel on race day and when you choose to run by how you feel, you can pretty much sink your own marathon in a matter of kilometers and turn what is supposed to be a great day into a not so great day. Because you want your first marathon to be a memorable one, be cautious of how you approach it. Again, pace vs how you feel. Pace should always be your number one priority on the long runs.

Something else to keep in mind is to absolutely go for those back to back runs, but be cautious of the distances. A good weekend distance is around 45-50km, 90-100km per week. That should be adequate. Doing more than this can lead to training fatigue and ultimately also injuries, so allays keep this in mind. Also try to train with a group of training buddy who runs more or less your pace as this will help all of you to adapt and learn to pace more effectively, adapting to various paces to accommodate all. This also trains the mind to be the overriding factor when you “feel good” and just wanna race your way to the end.

One last thought. Remember this; lost mileages are just that, “lost” Do not try to catch up on it. In the event when you get sick, get tied up with business or family life and cannot do your runs as you planned. Let it go. Do not try to catch up. Just slip back into your schedule or training plan and carry on where you left off. Trying to catch up again can lead either to training fatigue or again, injuries. It is better to toe that start line healthy and with less long runs behind you instead of showing up fatigued after playing catch up with your training runs. Your running schedule should always be a work in progress.

Training for a marathon will mean that you will have to up your weekly mileages. I touched on this above, but it is important to remember to do this over time. A sudden increase in distance is not advisable. For beginner marathoners, the most effective tool you have to get faster is to run more, but this you have to do over time.

The closer you get to the big day it is important to keep MP in mind, “marathon pace”. Decide beforehand to yourself in what time you would want to finish your first marathon and then work out your average marathon pace which will get you there and then start to train at that pace. A month or so before your first marathon, this is the pace you will focus on. This is a mental workout too because any half-marathon runner will easily get frustrated at running slower to hit that marathon pace, but this is what will get you through race day. Guaranteed.

Combine your marathon pace with your tempo or rhythm and you will have a successful marathon. Deviate to either side and you will put your first marathon into jeopardy. Don’t do that. Remember, you want to cross that finish line feeling tired but not drained or completely fatigued or hammered. Remember, you want it to be a good one so you can go back for more and then once more move that comfort zone and reach out for that ultra-marathon.

“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a lion or gazelle – when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.” – Unknown

Happy running everyone and may your first marathon be awesome !

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram : @myownjourney_sa

The Marathon Club – Get your own bragging rights when you complete your first marathon. Also available for half-marathon achievers

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity

difficultyIt was Einstein who said, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

I have read these words a few times and keep on thinking about it and evaluate how it has meaning in our lives. Time and time again my mind goes back to last year’s Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon.

A quick recap. This time last year I was in a really bad spot, dealing with a rather severe onslaught and good dose of plantar fasciitis. Doctor advised me to do a proper long run before Comrades, to see how my foot will react to the distance and the hammering. Well, I lined up for OMTOM and although I expected it to be a difficult day on the road, nothing could prepare me for the bad day that was going to unfold. In short, the race was tough, the road was long and the pain was severe. Although I did not finish in time, I did finish the full 56km, but came in 7 minutes after the official cut off time. I was devastated; I was disappointed and needless to say, very very upset. But in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.  If it was not for this really bad race, if it was not for this very difficult day on the road, I was not going to know what to expect from Comrades and I think it is maybe a bold statement, but if it was not for this middle of difficulty situation, I was not going to finish my Comrades to secure my back to back medal. OMTOM 2015 gave me a proper reality check and amidst that very tough moments, the challenge of difficulty made me think differently about Comrades and forced me to rethink my strategy for race day. It worked.

I guess this “lesson” can apply to all areas of our lives; work, relationships, friendships, whatever. When we end up in a seemingly bad spot maybe we should make it a priority to immediately remind ourselves about these wise words by Einstein, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” If we find ourselves in the middle of a difficult time, let us try and look beyond the dark clouds and seek out that silver lining. Let us look and look hard for the opportunity that might be waiting for us just around the corner.

I really hope that if you find yourself between a rock and a hard place right now, that you will find the way out, the answers to those obvious and difficult questions, so you can lift yourself out of that bad spot and carry on living your best possible life. And remember, when the going gets tough, the tough gets going!

Be blessed everyone!

Having a Plan A, B and possible C


Recently on the route with friends and running mates Mercia and Naomi at the Johnson Crane Hire Marathon I thought about this topic, a lot. I was reminded about words Lindsey Parry said at the Comrades road show – about having a plan B, and even a plan C on race day.

I think most people are going into a race, especially the longer ones, having some idea of how they want race day to play out and with this the finishing time they wish to achieve. Nothing wrong with that. We enter into these races with a good idea of how our training runs have been, we have a general good idea how our bodies responded to certain things and what we are capable of on race day, but this can all change in a split second.

Friends, you need a plan B, and sometimes a plan C. Often I see that runners have a really almost undoable plan A, a plan that is almost doomed from the start, maybe a too fast finish time compared to your training averages, maybe an idea to race someone else to the end, maybe to set up a PB knowing you’re not really there yet, but believe me, and I have said this over and over again, “Race day is your day”, and especially when it comes to the big brother races, Two Oceans, Om die Dam, Loskop and of course, Comrades.

I think most people going into a run have an idea of a finishing time they’d like to achieve. They know what their training runs have been like, they have a general idea of what their body is capable of and a great run is a great acknowledgement of that training. Sometimes you want a nice achievable goal and sometimes you want an aggressive one.

I think plan be should be the most reasonable and doable plan – the one you are most comfortable about achieving. That should be your target plan for the day. Going into a race with an injury, with a possible viral infection, a simple flu or an almost sure possibility to cramp ( if you tend to cramp ) then you are almost guaranteed to end up settling for plan B or even C in a worst case scenario. Most of the times it is the things you have very little control over that force you to lower gear and settle for the alternatives.

Remember, if you start ticking off your race plans, A, B and get to C, this is where you are getting into trouble because after this there is nothing to fall back on and that is why plan A must always be the most doable one, so the ones you fall back onto don’t increase the stress levels too much allowing your goals and targets to slip away from you too far. I have heard many runners say things like, “I will take race day as it comes…” or “I will see what happens on race day” or “I am just going to run”. That is maybe so, but you need some idea of time, average pace, what to do in order for you to get to that finish time, on time, I mean, that is the main goal of race day, right, to finish.

Let me use Comrades as example. Believe me, when you hit that runners wall, wether it is at 40, 50 60 or even later, you are so tired and it feels like you running through quicksand. It is hot, your legs are tired, they are heavy, it is really hot and you are really doubting yourself and wonder why the heck you are doing this, asking yourself all those questions Lindsey referred to. Well, that is where you will have to regroup, rethink and this is where you race plan will change and believe me, there is at this time no time to figure out a plan, you needed one already.

My A plan went to C plan in no time – “Do your best and see how it goes” soon changed to “slow down and walk the hills” and again changed to “now I just have to run an average of 8 minutes per kilometre to finish.” And it was not plan A or B that got me to the finish line, it was plan C. I finished my comrades with a nerve-racking 3 minutes to go to the 12 hour cut-off time, but the point is, I made it and the back to back medal is in the bag. I cannot express enough the importance of a Plan B or Plan C. It is so important. If I hadn’t had that I could have never reached the finish line or maybe by grace gotten to the finish line and been disappointed. And how awful would that have been? Reaching the finish line disappointed is never a pleasant experience, believe me, I was there before. My plan C was great. Under the conditions, Plan C was something I could be very happy of and I could be proud of what I’d done crossing the finish line.

Friends, learn the ABC of running and increase your chances of having a better experience at the end.

Happy running everyone.

Note :


This week I launched The Marathon Club where marathon runners can give a R50 donation to The Bible Society of South Africa and then get a plaque the virtual wall of honour and some great bragging rights that goes with that. This is currently only available to South Africans and more specifically only for marathon runners ( who have successfully ran and competed a 42.2km race ) ; this is because of internet payment issues

BUT, we have a great feature where we invite marathon runners from all over the world to  share with us their first marathon stories and these might feature on the web page.

You will find details on the web page at

Reflecting on 2015: A year On The Road

As the Christmas holiday will soon give way to a New Years, I am reminded that 2016 is right around the corner. This causes me to stop for a moment, and quietly reflect on 2015 as it nears its end.

For myself, in 2015, there has been a definite shift from the life I led prior to it, and as I “turned the pages” of my photos I am filled with so much gratitude for a year made up with so many wonderful moments. I am glad that the great moments once again outweighed the less great ones and I still feel blessed for the life that I have lived this year. If you look at this collage it reflects on yet another year on the road and it is embroidered with a golden thread called “friendship”.

It is impossible to capture all the moments, so these are just some, but they are all equally important to me as are the people adding colour to it and meaning to my life.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone who has been part of my life during this year. Thank you for your love and support and for believing in me when I and some others didn’t.

Those who fell by the wayside are history and belong to the past, and that is perfectly okay, because they made way for more meaningful and precious relationships. I have always believe in this – “Regardless, life goes on !”

Wishing you all a blessed Christmas and a prosperous New year. See you all on the road as we start yet a new chapter, 2016 and I will then continue living out my motto, “Making Miles and Moments Count”


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.

[ ]
[ ]