Portraiture, Running / 20 Feb 2018
Why do runners run?

“Many many many years ago, it started out when I stopped smoking, and I needed to not put on weight, and that’s where it started. So, I was just a social jogger, but I come from a mountianeering background and a rock face climbing background, so I was always active, and running just became the thing. Even as a kid I remember I always wanted to do comrades one day, but that wasnt the goal at the time, the goal at the time was to not put on weight. So I started running, got invovled, met people on the road, because thats the type of person I am and my personality, I always talk, and then I got invited to my first time trial, my first race, sort of, and then I enjoyed it, and that was it – I was sold. The person I am, I’m just highly competitive, and thats what it is, it was always just about improving my time, bettering my time and bettering my distance and then one thing lead to the other.

I’m a very motivational person, I like to inspire people, I’m not the sort of person that needs people to do anything, in the sense of they don’t make me tick or anything like that, but I do also enjoy seeing people fufil and accomplish what ever it way be, not even neccissarily running, it could be anything, but if they set their mind to something and I could be apart of assisting them to accomplish that, it gives me just as much joy as it gives them to actually fulfil them and that was the one thing, when I could not do it the same way I used to (run),I knew I would be back someday so it started out that I didnt want to lose that pattern, that habit, because its easy to just roll over and sleep, and just accept things as they are, but I didnt want to lose that for the day that I can come back, and all I would need to do is just start the running, I didnt realise it was going to take that long, but still, by then just going there and setting people off and just being around them and keeping that alive, staying awake that time of the morning and keeping that routine, keeping that awake, I then started seeing that my actual presence there just motivated people and when they come back from there run and I would ask them and question them how their run was, I found myself actaully motivating them, and just telling them from experiences that I had in certain runs, especially in those long distance runs that we do when you going through patches and things like that, you know for a fact that all you need to do is talk to yourself and get yourself through it and work it through, and those experinces are what I was inparting to some of these people, and saying do this, do that, get on with this, just keep going it gets better, and so on and thats when I found and discovered that I was actually motivating them and that was the one thing, becuase I could no longer do it I kept myself living through other people and just getting them fulfilling their dreams. ”

“I started running just because I wanted to do the Two Oceans Marathon and I thought that’s where it would stop and then I carried on – so that’s how it started. But the main reason I continued to run, is because I just feel that this actual sport just keeps you always moving forward in your life, it doesnt matter where you are in your life or what you are doing theres always something you can do better and that’s how running works, you can always take it to another level, always! There’s always something better, you are never going to get to a level where you are just going to stay there and say, ‘that’s it, that’s the best I can do’ and I just feel like that mirrors everything in your life, that’s why runners, when they can’t run, when they injured or sick, or whatever, get so misrable, because they just feel like they standing still and they feel like they are not getting that momentum and I think thats why. It’s about moving forward always, and always trying to improve yourself in whatever it is, it’s not just about getting better, sometimes it’s just about getting through something, so lets say you are going through a hard time or a rough time, if you can get through that, then it means you are coping, so it’s always about moving forward with something.“

“I used to adore the comrades runners, my mother took me one day because we grew up in Durban, so she took me to the Comrades starting line up and when they sing that Shosholoza, can you see how long hair I have, I go bald headed when they sing that, gone, no hair. That’s where the love developed. One day, one kid at school, I think I was in grade 9, came back with these entry forms, I think it was 10km, that was when I was like, ‘here is my opportunity to get into this and meet these people’ and from there, after the race I went to my aunties flat on the 10th floor and I stayed for the entire weekend because of that pain. I couldn’t walk down after that, but that pain, once it is gone you will feel like you want it more and more and that vibe along the road and people can not run and you run faster than someone, not because you are better but because it’s just that it is within you, that spirit. From there the love just developed and developed and when I did my matric and then I met my friend Steve, that time I was still in Durban, that’s when we started doing Comrades. I used to do one race a year, because I thought that was the only race, and Comrades, oh and Spar Ladies, so for Comrades, I entered Comrades and they were like, ‘you need to qualify’ so then I came up here for Gauteng Marathon, from 10km to 42km I did 4h10m, it took me about 2 years to beat that time. So that is how the love began. But remember, once you start Comrades the rest is easy, the only thing you need to do is start comrades and thats it.”

“I run to keep fit, to take care of my body and obviously running gives me time to reflect, to basically shut down from the noise, just focus on myself for a moment, reflect on my goals, reflect on what I want to achieve, and come up with solutions to challenges that I am currently facing and so on.”

“I used to go to gym, just go to gym, train, trying to lose weight. I felt I was too big. Then gym started getting boring. Then I decided, let me just add a 5km run in somewhere in my life, and it took very long. Then I met some more crazy runners, I decided, let me do 21km, just like them. Then I just started to build and I started to enjoy running, now I use running just to build my life, build my strength, keep fit and keep going. Comrades came to mind, then my plan was to run comrades, that was more reason why I don’t have to quit running, until I did Comrades. That was the reason why I changed from just keeping fit to running Comrades, that was when I decided to now be a runner. Then I started running and eventually did Comrades, then I happened to meet Graham who has helped me to improve my running and my times in Comrades. Comrades is now my driving force, I want to do at least 10 Comrades before I can think of any other longer distances. So that is why I run.“

“I have an interesting story, the reason I run is because I had 3 choices, I had a hip replacement and I was told I can’t play soccer anymore because of the hip replacement, so I had to run, swim or cycle. So swimming, I’m too old for swimming, can’t be competitive, then I started running. My first race was Soweto in 2015, because I did my hip replacement 2014, so I thought I was checking the healing process, so I ran 21km, then I finished 2h10m, then everybody was impressed, and I was like, “ok, did I do well?” and they were like, “Yeah, that was good”, so I thought. “Oh, ok”, then I registered another race and I was 4min better, so I was like, “Ok!” Now the interesting thing is, I didn’t belong to a club, so I’d run with a temporary, but I was passing the club people, so I was asking myself, “Whats wrong with them, whats wrong with me?” So, after that I joined a club. Then from there I realized, well my healing was a miracle, because my specialist said I can only run up till 21km, then I ran 42km, my first 42km was last year Kaapsehoop, then I finished, and my leg was still fine and I registered another 42km and I finished! Then I registered for Comrades, and I went for Comrades, then I finished! And since then I’ve been hooked!”
“I’m from Brazil, I live in South Africa since 2010. I think my running story started when I was at collage, I was sharing a house with friends, they used to run. I was not a runner, so I went for like a half an hour run or a maximum of one hour and then I started running some 10km race, but not very often. Running in Brazil is not as popular as in South Africa, and I lived in a very crowded citylike Johannesburg downtown, its very far to get to a place where there’s space to run and not so much traffic. I moved to South Africa and slowly I started doing some races like 10km and 15km races, but I think from the beginning, the initial thing of why I started was basically to keep fitness and lose weight, before when I was a teenager I used to cycle a lot with my Grandfather, so I was more a cyclist and till now I do Triathlons, so it now all fits together. I think why I do that is because it makes me feel good after the event and it gives you this feeling of accomplishment and self confidence.”

“My late son always encouraged me to run, he passed on in 2011 and he always said to me, “Mommy, even just do 5km, you can do it!” He had so much faith in me, and I always thought, ‘Me run?’ it’s something I never thought I could do, but for me it was more about dealing with the loss and the pain because nothing else could help me to get through the pain. Last year in October 2016 I decided, ‘you know what, I’m going to do this. He had so much faith in me that I can actually do this, I’m going for it’. My first race was Wits Kudus 15km. I did it. It was hard. It was raining. After that I never looked back. I got off antidepressants, because now I found another way of dealing with my pain and as I’m telling you now, running has been the best decision that I ever took. Then in September I decided to do my first marathon, I didn’t think it was going to be so hard, I went all the way to Cape Town, first flight, first everything, and yeah I finished in 6h15m and for me it was just tears because all I could think about is my son, he believed in me so much that I doubted myself.”

“I run now because I enjoy it, I enjoy the challenge, but I started off running to lose weight, to get fit, get healthy. I started in August last year, I started off walking Park Run, then walk , run, walk, run kind of thing. Then my sister said she is training for Soweto Marathon, she is going to go do an 8km run, do I want to go do it, so I thought, ‘Ok, cool’, 8km sounds hard, but let me try it, it was actually quite easy, I actually found running 8km was a little bit better than 5km, so it was actually quite an enjoyable run. Then from 8km moved to 10km and 15km, then we started running with Graham, then I did Soweto half marathon in November last year and ever since then the bug has bitten, I’ve done 15 half marathons this year and one full marathon, Cape Town Marathon and then the next big thing is Kaapsehoop and Soweto Marathon, so a back to back marathon”

“We were overweight, very overweight, gigantic, we were unhappy. I think unhappy is a big word. We also never really saw each other, ever. So I started with 200m. I couldn’t breathe, but we ran, and then we just started building up and she said to me the one night let’s go do a trail run, 5km, and I said ‘Ok, cool’ but then it ended up raining, so we did it, but it took like 1h40m or something and then afterwards she said do you want to do another one and I said, ‘ok, in like a month’ so we started doing every month, just a 5km fun run, typical house wife runs and then it just grew and grew and then out of the blue, I dont know if it was by accident or on purpose she entered the 10km, and it just got worse and worse, we went from one a month to one a week, to 2 a week and then 3 of us entered our first half marathon in November last year and then after that we entered more and more half marathons and we did a 32km in April/March so we went to Cape Town with the Two Oceans, it’s just grown and got bigger and bigger and bigger and we decided to do our first marathon, we entered Cape Town Marathon, and we did our first marathon in September and now Comrades is next, yay!”

“I think, if you want to be healthy, or call yourself healthy, you need to be fit, you need to also be able to run a 10km without dying, so that’s really the goal, that’s me, that’s my aspiration, just 10km. “

“In October last year I decided I would start running because I wanted to do a triathlon, Iron Man. I’ve cycled and I’ve swum. I used to do cycling for charity, cycle, Johannesburg to Cape Town, Johannesburg to Maputo, Johannesburg to East London, raising funds for orphans, so I said to my husband if I can do Tough One, which is 32km, I can do a marathon, and if I can do a marathon then I’ll do Iron Man. So I did Tough One, first time i had ever run over 20km in my life and I did 3h02m for that, then I signed up for a half marathon and my marathon in January, I did the marathon at the end of January, Johanson Crane Marathon, and I had only done a 32km and a couple of 21km runs and a 25km and I did 3h39m, in February I did a half marathon. I did my second marathon, I did 3h27m, then in March Candis convinced me to do Two Oceans, so I got an entry to Two Oceans, I did my third half marathon, and I did my third marathon, 3h30m, then I did Two Oceans in April, I had never run more than 32km and that I had only done 3 times I had done one 32km and one 30km, I did 4h56m.

I podium every time And I’m going to Dublin on Thursday so I’m doing the Dublin Marathon on Sunday. I love running. My best is just going out the house and just running and I love it, I really love it and what motivates me is my ice cream, I go to Pauls Homemade Ice Cream, I’m going there now! I think I picked the right father, my father is the only person ever to have gotten a silver medal in Comrades in his 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s, no person has ever done that.”
“I wanted to do a triathlon and I didn’t want to get too much older and I hated running, but I hate people in general, so then I would go to the gym and then have to do a class and then we would have to depend on other people. I wasn’t too into that. I knew if I ran, it was something you can do my yourself, turns out I hate doing it by myself, so I started to run thinking eventually I’d hate it less and then I could do it instead of doing the gym classes, and eventually I hated it less, so now I run and I like running and turns out I’m quite competitive, so I want to do better. If I’m doing something, I want to get better at what I’m doing, so I run so that I can get better and I want to beat Candis!”


“I’ve loved running since I was 10 and I used to watch Bruce Fordyce run and I used to always say, ‘I’m going to run comrades’, and then when I was in standard 7 I was in a very bad car accident and I fractured my spine in 3 places, so the doctor said, ‘you’ll never run again, just get over it’ and then I believed them. When I turned 40 I said to my daughters, ‘I’m going to run comrades’, they looked at me like, ‘what? Ok mom” And I started running, I fractured my femur and missed my first Comrades that I wanted to run, but I’ve done two in the mean time. Last year I didn’t think I was actually going to make Comrades, but Graham here, sat me down and gave me a good talking to and I made it. I don’t think anyone believed me that I was actually going to run comrades, but I believed me, I believed I would do it!”

“I think to some extent I wanted to just lose a little bit of weight and I though, why not do this, I’ve never been athletic in my life, and I just thought take this as a challenge and lets see where it lands us. A sister of mine registered me for the Two Oceans half marathon and it was a challenge of mine to just go and finish it, so I started doing a couple of 10kms and then I went to run a couple of 21kms, and thats what happend. It’s just feeling like you can concur something, so running was never really my thing, anyone who knows anything about me, running and sports are not really my kind of thing and I suppose its venturing into wanting to concur something in life and I think a lot of things are going to come through my way in my life and I want to start now, start with something that really terrifies me quite a bit.”

“I had always set certain targets and at some point I said I wanted to do comrades, I want to do these big challenges, so that I can tick it off. I think as a South African its almost like patriotic, ‘you must do a comrades’, or it doesn’t justify your South Africaness. The next thing I knew there I was standing at the starting line of a comrades. “

“I just started enjoying how it (running) challenges my mind and my body to levels everytime, and how it helps clear my mind and literally where it’s just your mind, your legs and the road to reaching whatever you want. It’s about challenging myself to the next level, thinking how far can I push my body this time”

“11 years ago I had twins and after having twins I gained a lot of weight and I was really unhealthy. I couldn’t play with my twins, I couldn’t do anything, I was constantly tired. So a friend of mine convinced me to start running and I said absolutely not because I don’t want to and I am fine the way I am, and for 5 years she tried to convince me to run, eventually I just gave in because she just kept annoying me and just kept going at it and eventually just to make her happy I started running. I struggled, I started with like 5km and I just couldn’t finish 5km. For about a month I struggled. Eventually it got easier and I kind of increased the distance to 6km and I was like, ‘Hey, I can do this’ and eventually it went up to 10km and I actually started losing weight, because I was big after having twins, I was really really big. I went from a size 42 and I lost weight to a size 38 when I was doing 10km. And she said to me just enter a race, have a feel of what it feels like to run in a race. Of course I refused, but eventually I entered a race, and for the first time in my life I was given a medal for doing something physical, and for me that was the best feeling ever, just crossing the finishing line and getting a medal. And from then on it just became a lifestyle for me, and I actually got addicted, so everyday I would wake up and do a small 5km, 7km, 10km and started entering races. It just became the best feeling ever. I started feeling good about myself. I had energy to play with my kids, I had energy to live. From then on I started increasing the distances and started doing the 21km and it moved on and progressed into marathons and I was like, if I can do a marathon, I can definitely do Comrades, and next year 2018 will be my first comrades.

“For me it is definitely a life style. I don’t think I will stop running ever. It improved my life, the running. I went from being a grumpy fat person to being this smiling, happy person who can do things with her kids. It makes me feel good. I’m healthier. I’m happy. I realise now I can achieve a whole lot of things in life, and not just running, it has gone into other parts of my life as well. When work gets really hard I just think of the running and think of the hills, and how I know I can run the hills therefore whatever problems comes my way you can definitely solve it. It has brought on a whole new perspective of life. I’m a much happier person than I was before. “

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