Running

Running my own race- The Mandela Half Marathon

By: Sarah- Lee Naidoo (21 years old)

5324cfde-6901-4a8e-9b02-280bfb868cd7.JPGAs a new member of Stella my fitness levels have steadily improved.

Thanks to the club’s weekly training schedule, which includes various training routes, my running techniques have improved, and I am definitely feeling fitter and stronger.  I have completed three 21km races and my latest achievement was the 21Km Mandela Marathon, which was the toughest race to date.  My finishing time was 2h24min. It was a challenging race which consisted of many up hills. However, in the weeks leading up to the race, Stella’s hill training equipped me well making the race manageable and enjoyable.

Stella has taught me to run my own race and do it to the best of my ability. The camaraderie amongst club members definitely motivates one and prepares you for the next challenge.

Larson Time Trial League – Westville AC

By Therese Hurly

2c5ff06c-cbc8-4938-979c-b2c8873b5704.JPGIt was so good to have had a wonderful Stella presence at the Westville Time trial league race on Tuesday 21 August.

Cool nights might make people want to stay home, but they are perfect for running and walking.

The two walking teams, led by Michael, their styles perfected by Frankie, are all very motivated, and are still on top of the walking league ladder.

Having some good runners now as well, we feature quite prominently on the running charts – with most categories represented.

The beginning of the year started off badly for Stella running teams – with only one or two runners in the men’s and women’s teams for Queensburgh and Savages time trials. Since then, thanks to the committee for their encouragement, and Stella stars, more runners are joining us.

There is a really good spirit at the time trials, and it is always a lovely change running in a different area with lots of people running along the way; the serious runners, the jokers and the moaners who are relieved afterwards that they did it.

Everyone doing Westville time trial had heard about Heartbreak Hill  there was a lot of talking about it along the way, and the whole run was geared towards conquering the hill the last 750 m, which left us all with a great sense of accomplishment at the end.

Hoping all Stella members can join in these enjoyable races. The next race is on 20 September at Sydenham, there are some challenging hills there and it is also a very enjoyable route.

My 6th Two Oceans Ultra

By: Thozi Mazibuko

TwoOceans1.jpgOn the 31st of March I ran my 6th Two Oceans 56km Marathon.

Background: I picked up running in December 2010, and my sole motivation was to shed some kilos after the scale told me I was 98kg all by myself. I proceeded to complete a few 21km’s, then 42km’s and ultimately managed to complete Comrades 2013 and 2014 for my back to back medal. Out of all these races in my 7 odd years of running, my favourite remains the Two Oceans!

2018 Change:  Last year I decided that 2018 will be the year that I venture into a new challenge, the Triathlon… guess my Mid Life Crisis is right on time. So I have joined a Tri Team with their 7 day training programme (just awesome.. NOT).  Anyway long story short, due to this Tri Training, I have far less running mileage then I would have normally had this time of the year.

The Race:  It is mostly because of the 2018 training change that I decided not to chase any time at the race but rather to just go ahead and just enjoy the race, if ever there is such a thing in an Ultra.

I started out at a quite an easy pace until about the 5th kilometre then increased to a steady pace until Chapman’s Peak where I slowed down for obvious reasons. Usually I start battling after the 42km mark but this year I was happy that I felt strong-ish, even up Constantia Nek (maybe cycling had some part to play there). At 6km to go I came across a friend of mine who was struggling and since I knew he was aiming for his PB, sub 5:30, I decided to try and help him get it and I am happy to say that we got in at 5:28!!!

To all my Stella Stars who have not done the 56km yet, you better put this race on your To Do List quick… because they don’t call it ‘The world’s most beautiful marathon’ for nothing. Just be warned that after about the 44km mark you will most definitely need your mental strength to take you to the Finish.

My First Two Oceans Half Marathon

By: Belinda Cresswell-George

18920405_10160258472415603_511053123278252057_n.jpg I had always thought that the TWO OCEANS was for serious athletes or other people. So had never really given it any thought until an old walking friend invited me to join her to do the Two Oceans Half Marathon in 2018. After a bit of consideration I thought WHY NOT!

We began planning towards the end of 2017 and started to train. I got input from experienced athletes on training and what races to do on route. Unfortunately along the way I picked up an ITB injury about 6 weeks before the race, not ideal. I was very frustrated. But I got through it.

Arriving in Cape Town was super, there was such a buzz.

The race day had officially arrived it was a cold, dark and daunting morning. Daunting as I was still unsure if I was going to be able to complete the race ahead of me.  We arrived at  4.15am and made our way towards the front of E Batch, which is the last batch to be sent off. It was fantastic watching thousands of athletes getting ready to run their races. I saw a chap who was doing the race on crutches. Later I googled to see if I could find out who he was and how he did. Well he finished with the help of fellow runners. His name is Ipeleng Khunou. That’s the spirit of the Two Oceans.

When the cannon boomed and it was our time to get cracking I actually got quite emotional and had to tell myself to get a grip. It’s an awesome experience running with soo many people, it truly was a privilege. Don’t underestimate the race it’s a toughie. Train hills. Along the route I’d asked someone “Does this hill ever end?” to discover it was the famous Signal Hill which went on and on. I was very glad to get through the 18km cut off. I think there were a few more hills before the end, my legs were finished but just soo chuffed to have finished the race. I’d love to do it again with more training.

I want to thank Dave and the Newbies for all your input I wouldn’t have been able to do it and Cindy for flying the STELLA flag was super seeing a familiar face.

 

 

Drakensberg Northern Trail

By: Maureen Lyons

#DNT2018

Oliviershoek Pass, Northern Berg

March 24th 2018

Trail shoes – check; Water packs – check; Emergency kit – check

Two Stella ladies, Samantha de la Porte and Maureen Lyons ready to tackle the 20km Trail hosted by KZN Trail Running.

With two days of continual rain prior to the race we knew all the elements would come our way.

Fully kitted out and apprehensive we approached the starting line.   It was windy, cold and misty to begin with but no sooner had we started the sun made an appearance and we were presented with glorious running conditions.

With a 1900m elevation, numerous icy river crossings and wet/muddy conditions it called for cautious running but added to this adventure.

The scenery was insane and the rock formations humongous.

A few sightings of vultures and the calls of wild cats were some of our spoils.

We were welcomed back to the finish line by the well organised kzn trail team and awarded a well deserved medal with a difference.

Put this event on your “to do”list.

Roll on #DNT2019……..

Persevering through my first marathon: The Deloitte Challenge

By: Bongeka Cele

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I loved my first marathon. I went into it with an injury (which was not a good idea, it was awful), but I really wanted to run, and I don’t regret it. Even though I was still elevating and rubbing and stretching over a week later.

I started feeling pain early on, before the 10km mark even, but I had told myself that no matter what, I was going to finish. Once that decision was made, although I was in a lot of pain for most of the race, I really enjoyed it.

The race was eventful and fun! There were the stunning views along the way, which I took in. The weather was amazing, and I loved the little bit of rain that come down along the way. There was also the confusion around which bus was the real sub 5 bus, because the 4:30 bus was lagging behind! Lots of laughs, cheering and random conversation. I think though, one of the most enjoyable parts of the race is running with people you know! The first 18-19kms or so, I ran with some awesome people from the club. Marie-Claire, Kwenza and Mbongeni really made that part of the race awesome.

At some point obviously, my knee eventually started to really affect me, and I had to slow down considerably at around kilometre 25.I don’t really remember much between the 25km and 32km marks, except cramping and a lot of pain. But then I hit the 10km-to-go mark and I told myself home-stretch. That was hard, the whole time I kept thinking, this is crazy, why am I still doing this? I should just stop running!

But I couldn’t. I couldn’t stop running because in my mind, I was GOING to finish! That was the agreement I had with my legs, my body, my heart and my mind! I’m pretty sure I looked crazy giving myself pep talks in that last stretch. But that’s what needed to happen. And I wasn’t alone either. There were so many people along the route in the last 10km who were walking, hobbling, limping and mumbling like me. But the determination to finish was intense. Medics would stop, and they would be waved off with “I’m fine thanks, I just need to stretch it out”. That was cool. I loved the fact that at the end it was a few people, in pain or not, just wanting to finish. I didn’t get my sub 5 this year, but next year, I’ll smash it!!!

Running with the Chameleon at the 2017 Ultra-Trail Cape Town World Tour 100km

By Prodigal Khumalo

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It was all systems go at 4am on the 2nd of December 2017. Lining up with the world celebrated trail blazers with the likes of Ryan Sandes, Scotty Hawker, Bongumusa Mthembu, a 2 times comrades marathon winner, and many more.

“You can’t stop the rain but you can learn to dance in the rain.” This is one of my favourite quotes when I have to face a challenge. The competition was tough and nobody could predicted the outcome. Having missed the press conference on the Thursday, I arrived on Friday to hear that trail runners were saying Comrades runners didn’t stand a chance to make a podium finish in a field of quality seasoned trail runners, and I would have agreed.

To the others it was the excitement of the outcome but for me it was a privilege to be in a race with these lads and to see what I could do. The Ultra-Trail Cape Town (UTCT) is where Comrades marathon runners and ultra-trail runners meet to compete in one event. My 2016 win was a rewarding experience, but I was better prepared for the 2017 race, and I knew what was coming.

Most of my training was done at the Inanda Valley, that is my playground. I run along the valley through dirty roads and trails and I like to run on the grass as well so my preparations were done there.

Back to the race… As the light started to come up I switched off my head lamp. It was while I was packing it away that Ryan, Bongumusa and Scotty came past me. I heard the sound of their feet pounding in the same time in rhythm with each other. It was just after Signal Hill that I knew they were working together. I said in my mother language “Nansi impi lyeza” meaning the war is coming. I don’t like to run somebody else’s race, I like to pace myself, so either I run by myself or stay behind. My plan was to make sure I climbed Table Mountain first, which I did. I had good speed, which I think is a result of my improved strength training that I do on the hill sessions with the group I coach at Stella Athletic Club.

As we headed on to the top of Table Mountain we were all together again so I let them pass and I stayed behind waiting for Sandy Beach where I would attempt to take the final lead. I knew that very few runners train on beach sand and luckily I’m one of them, so it was my strongest point. I opened up a 300m gap and felt strong. My opponent’s strength was on the technical parts which is my weakness so I played my cards right and it worked.

John Hamlet, my coach, I call him the Colonel, was there on the route most of the way with my Fiancé Lihle assisting me with information, drinks, food and making sure everything was going well.

John would say “please stay in the fighting zone” and it was at Hout Bay river where I was told I was 6 minutes ahead of Ryan Sandes. So I kept it at 6 minutes ahead until 80km where I stretched it to 11 minutes at some points.

At Constantia’s last fuelling table I was starting to feel dizzy and I had nothing left in the tank, but I was taught that I have to finish what I have started no matter how tough the circumstances are. Soon after the water table there was a long very steep climb and I was left with 10km to go, which felt like 50km. I was told that Ryan was closing the gap. At this point I thought of the hill sessions that I was doing at Inanda which are 1km x10. So I said to myself I only need to climb once. I walked/ran/walked/ran until I reached the top. If I gave up I was not going to forgive myself after all this hard work. I thought of all the hard work I went through in training so I couldn’t afford to give up so easily. It’s true that hard work can beat talent if talent is not working hard enough. I see myself as not talented in trail running.

Trail running is a different ball game to road but I enjoy trail more than road. I get time to appreciate nature, the mountains, rivers, sea and the forest. Whilst on the road I run to see how much I can push myself. There is no time for all that fun I have on the trails!

I started to hear the MC calling my name when I was 1km from the finish at Garden Tech Rugby Club field. I looked at my watch a couple of times as I entered the grounds to the finish; I was a proud winner and a record breaker. The feeling was out of this world! I appreciated it more because I didn’t plan to win but it happened . “Chance favours a prepared mind.” 9 hrs 51 mins was the winning time. I took off 50 minutes from the previous record. Ryan wanted it more, he wanted to win the race for Cape Town. He was the local, familiar with the route and we ran hard from the gun. We both ran under 10 hours, he was just unlucky on the day. I waited for Ryan Sandes to come through and I congratulated him. Then we both waited for the 3rd runner Scotty Hawker from New Zealand, and that was the wrap up for the day.

I was disappointed by journalists asking how I felt after beating Ryan Sandes and I answered that I have never run to beat anybody but rather to beat my own times. I gained the name “chameleon” after winning my first UTCT because my friends and fans in Cape Town were shocked to see me performing in all areas. If you put me in cross-country, road, track or trail I will surprise you. My secret is that I prepare for every race differently. I train according to the terrain that I will race.

UTCT 100 Km 2017 is one of my career highlights. As I went to bed closing my eyes I remembered these words from my first coach “Success is not an accident but is a result of preparation, discipline, hard work, correct training, loving what you do, dedication, focus, and patience.”

Prodigal Khumalo

2 Time Ultra Trail Cape town World Tour 100km winner

2 Time Comrades Marathon Gold Medallist

ASA Level 2 Long distance, Middle distance and Race Walker coach

Magdalena breaks SA 800m record for 75 age category

By: Magdalena Tomlinson

6acc0df9-bf29-4a43-a3c8-8f010fd8806a.JPGMagdalena Tomlinson of Stella Athletic Club competed at the KZN Senior and Masters Track and Field Athletic Championships held at Kings Park Stadium on 23 and 24 February 2018. In the women age 75 category she won Gold in the 200metres Sprint event. In the 800 metres event she broke the SA Record by 25 seconds. This record had stood for over 15 years. The President of KZN Athletics, Mr Sello Mokoena, presented her with the Gold Medal.

A newspaper clipping below from the Rising Sun newspaper on Magdalena’s achievement

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Hillcrest Marathon 2018

By: Travis Graham

I woke to the sound of drizzle at a quarter past TOO EARLY on the morning of Sunday the 11th February. Like many of my fellow participants, it was at that vulnerable moment that I was forced to wage an inner war against my shameful desire to slam the snooze button. Luckily on that day, the little common sense I have did prevail.  After first wolfing down a bowl of Jungle Oats, and then lubing, tubing, picking and sticking a variety of odd body parts, I was off into the progressively worsening rain in the direction of, the then still dark, Hillcrest.

At the intersection of Old Main and Inanda Roads, I was pleased to find that the rain hadn’t deterred many, or even dampened the usual lively spirit. A many hundred, if not thousand, strong field waited in anticipation. The Hillcrest Marathon, is a well-established local event that attracts many due to its key timing in the annual race calendar – it serves as an official qualifier for both the Comrades Marathon and the Two Oceans Marathon.

The double-lapper marathon route can, in essence, be divided into distinct quarters. Quarters 1 and 3, predominantly downhill through leafy Winston Park, and quarters 2 and 4, predominantly uphill on the way back to Hillcrest town center. The start of the run, although congested, went off without a glitch. The large field had plenty of space to regain order on its way down Old Main Road past the old Heritage Market. As we entered Winston Park, passing family supporters and local residents who had set up temporary camp outside their houses, I was filled with short-lived elation – “could running getting any better than this?”

Surprisingly for me, this happiness lasted throughout quarter 2, in spite of some sharp uphills (many of you will know the exact NASTIES I am referring to). I passed my own posse of family supporters at the Engen garage on Old Main Road, remembering to don the poses of some Kenyan or Ethopian marathon great, just in case they had their Instagrams on warm-up. A warm hug but no photography ensued. After munching on a fruit bar whilst nearing the halfway point, I rounded the Hillcrest corner at 21km for the start of the second trot down toward Winston Park.

Luckily, quarter 3’s downhills were sympathetic to my tiring sticks. I was able to bank some time with a quicker-than-planned quarter. This margin gain would soon prove critical as my legs, very quickly, began to shout like the EFF used to in parliament – pre Cyril.  No ‘honourable members’ these! At the end of the first quarter, I rounded the beaconed hairpin bend like a light-footed gazelle. This time around I was more like a Maersk oil tanker – I even saw the Marshall take a step back as I approached as she clearly feared being taken out.

The marathon’s new catchphrase, #Whatthehill, took on new gravitas as I dragged my legs (read: concrete) up the last hilly 11km stretch. I had to dig deep, like past the remaining oats deep! I eventually made it back up onto Old Main road. I passed my posse looking like Timothy Traddle – somehow this time, amazingly, they all had their Instagram’s in full force as I waddled by! I continued, gritted teeth, for the last 2km to the finish.

I crossed the finish line utterly exhausted and ravenous, but ecstatic to have my Ultra qualifiers under my belt, to be greeted by a warm Stella welcome and at the smell of some wicked brekkie buns!

Was it all worth it? …..HILL yeah!

#WhattheHILL Hillcrest 21 km

By: Kim Flack

Kim Flack Hillcrest 21Km

A few months ago if anyone had asked me to run 5 km I would tell them I could run and walk it only.  Once I got to running a full 5km I thought, well I could actually run 10km.  After running with the Stella Newbies for a few months I was able to run 13km.  Dave announced at one of our weekly runs he would lead a bus on the Hillcrest 21km and aim to finish between 2h:40min – 2h:45min.

I thought this could be quite fun and how much further than 13km was it really? Come the night before the race I was worried I wouldn’t wake up, checked the alarm a few times and when I heard the rain come down at 12:30am I was starting to panic a bit.
The run started off wet from the rains the night before and it did rain a bit in the beginning which was great to be cool, but I had wet socks and shoes from the get go – my pet hate!

But our bus was in good spirits and with Dave leading us I started to enjoy the run – even the few up hills in the first half.  Sean and Al pranking along the way and Dave always checking we were all ok, the rest of the team jovial – there were no worries.

At about 16km in my body felt like the end should have been near but with 5km left to go I told myself that there was only a park run left to go, only a park run left to go…
Then it dawned on me those lovely hills we so enjoyed running down until about halfway we were now having to climb to get to the end. With my ITB giving me warning signals I did end up walking unashamedly up some of those hills. But thanks to Dave and the rest of the Stella bus encouraging me all the way to the end I was elated to have finished my first 21km.

I intend to be stronger for the Deloitte Challenge and with all the advice from Stella members I know I will succeed!