Stella Socials

Road Captain’s Review

by Sandy Mullins

It is hard to believe another crazy year has gone by, one I think most of us can’t wait to say goodbye to. Yet despite all the bumps, we have learnt a lot and grown in many respects.

Running, and leading the runs has been a challenge as we have had to take safety and load shedding into account as well as lockdown restrictions. Choosing routes that had enough light, not too many intersections, holes and cracks, less traffic… has had us either being innovative and climbing a few Kilimanjaro’s, or boring and pounding the same streets of Glenwood until every pothole could be named! Winter caused us more consternation with little light, which resulted in a few tumbles, kissing the tarmac, a cracked bone or two and entitled runners to be christened ‘a real runner’ as you’re not a runner until you have scars to prove it!

The unrest in July also intensified the already exasperated COVID conditions, yet we still found time to meet and run with a sense of surreal safety as the community stood together and guarded the roads and the neighbourhood. The way people pulled together to help will be a highlight in a very bleak time of our history.

Meeting at the club to run has been the glue that has kept us together. A bond of unity and a common thread to not only stay fit, but sane has made our gatherings and pounding the roads an essential part of our daily lives. The chats and banter in that hour or so has been beyond beneficial. The friendships that are formed are priceless.

On a more serious note, with the passing of Steve Webber, it has highlighted the need for us to be real and understanding, to listen and to be there for each other. There are so many of us fighting inner battles, and the past two years has been exceptionally hard on all of us. Life is a daily challenge. Running is a good analogy where you get days where running is a breeze. But there are days of hard slog and it’s a case of putting one foot in front of the other. Moving forward! There have been times when going running is the last thing you feel like, yet after a run the sense of peace and calm filters through. Perspective!

We have changed the Gillies Saturday run to allow for variety and a change of scenery. This has been very successful, and the coffee spots afterwards being the reward, as the weekly photos testify! The last month or two have even seen a few races taking place, which has been amazing.

Life has been tricky, but together we can start the New Year with purpose and comradery and set a few new goals. So, wishing you all a happy, safe, peaceful Christmas, and may the spirit of the festive Season continue into 2022.

A new perspective

Kirsty Grobler

After being in Lockdown, which seems to be forever, some dreams and goal have had to be put on hold. 2020 was supposed to have been the start of reaching my dreams, my plan was to run The Two Oceans Marathon that year and then go on to run the Comrades Marathon in 2021. However, the universe had other ideas.

After being injured I was unable to qualify for the Two Oceans Marathon up until the very last qualifying race, which was the Deloittes Marathon (no pressure). I really did not have a good day out there, I fought hard because I was adamant that I was going to qualify. With only a few minutes to spare, I crossed the finish line and qualified! I was broken, but I had done it and so I was one step closer to making my dream come true. Whilst sitting at the Stella tent after the race, with a happy heart knowing I had qualified, I was told that the Two Oceans Marathon had been cancelled due to Covid-19. I honestly thought that they were joking, I had fought so hard to finish the race and to qualify only for it to be cancelled. I felt so defeated. Lots of negative thoughts went through my mind but once I had time to process everything, I realized that I had gained so much from running the Deloittes Marathon. I learnt so much about myself on that day and I am forever grateful.

Shortly after, South Africa was placed in total Lockdown. Running and exercising (outside of your home) was prohibited. Some decided to not let this dampen their spirits and created a running circuit in their gardens. Running in circles, some creating distinct pathways in the process and then changing direction for a bit of variety (I think some gardens are yet to recover). Some may call them crazy… well, we are runners after all.

Although this was a set back, it gave my body time to heal and recover from all the niggles. Eventually we were allowed to run again, but with restrictions, having to run with a mask or buff, making sure you were socially distanced and only being allowed to run between 6am – 9am. I was just happy to be out on the road again, even if it was just within a 5km radius from home.

As time went on, restrictions were eased and we were allowed club runs again. It was so awesome to see all the Stella Stars again. It really made many hearts happy.

Fast forward a few months and going up and down Lockdown levels like a yo-yo, all races, including Comrades Marathon 2020 were cancelled. There was so much uncertainty as to when or if we would be able to run our next race. With motivation and morals running low, we all needed a ‘pick me up’. Just when we thought it was all doom and gloom and that races would be a thing of the past and a distant memory, virtual races were born. Even though it was not the same as a real race, it gave us purpose and boosted our moral. We now had something to train for. YAY!!

We all had our hopes up that by some miracle Comrades 2021 was going to go ahead. Unfortunately, this was not to be and it was cancelled again. In spite of this, the organizers decided to create a virtual race (as they had done the previous year) with various distances. So, a few of us novices decided to get a taste of what we would be getting ourselves into when we got to tackle the Comrades Marathon. We decided to enter the 45km race and oh boy, did we get a taste!!

The route was planned. We would start and finish at Stokers Arms in Kloof and run part of the Comrades route, to the top of Inchanga and back, giving us the experience of a few of the iconic hills. It was the Comrades Centenary Hope Challenge after all…

As the days grew closer to race day, I still did not feel as though I was about to run the furthest I have ever gone, never mind about to conquer those famous hills. I think one thing that Covid-19 has taught me, is to be flexible and be able to take things in my stride. So, my goal was to go out there, enjoy the day out on the road, do my best and take things as they come. And I did just that!

Arriving at Stokers Arms and seeing our fellow Stella Stars, which included many experienced runners and a few novices, was thrilling. It defiantly got the butterflies going. A very passionate Stella Star got everyone’s blood pumping by playing Chariots of Fire and the National Anthem. I can’t wait to be able to experience ‘the real thing’ with them at the start line one day.

5:30am came and we were off. Being surrounded by a few of my favourite Stella Stars was incredible. It was a brilliant day on the road for me, however, it wouldn’t have been possible without the support from our fellow Stella members, manning water tables, supporting us on the side of the road and of course my number one fan 😊. Without them, this day would not have been a success. To see those happy faces and hear those words of encouragement were always well received. So, I thank you on behalf of all of us who ran.

I have always had a huge amount of respect for those who not only complete Comrades, but also those who are there at the start line waiting for the run to go off. However, I now have newfound respect for you all. I now also understand why everyone knows those hills by name, they are a real test mentally and physically. Although I had to dig deep and give myself a few pep talks (we all need a good talking to from time to time) I thoroughly enjoyed my day out there. What an amazing experience.

Although I have not reached my goals and dreams just yet, I have made some new goals along the way. I will never give up and will continue to strive to achieve what I have set out to conquer. Cheers to everyone who is going out there and making their dreams come true, despite the curve balls that have been thrown your way.

Illovo Christmas Run

By: Gina Hinchliffe

Without a doubt, Stella deserved  recognition for its Spirit on this annual voyage around Westville.

Just look at that team spirit altogether.


Whilst some were carting the booze trolley, others were panting to keep up. With Alistair at the helm, the day was cut out for us.  It was great team work with all the volunteers who offered to pull and push the booze cart. Compulsory regrouping allowed for some well deserved refreshments replenishment.

Little did we know  of the hidden talent at Stella. Craig George performing a tremendous MC job with his newly found music box. What a find Craig !!!

Then we had the super energised Nana, who not only did a brilliant job  relieving Craig  and encouraging our own green Leprechauns but also offered  sprinting  sessions up the gruelling hills to the other booze busses.

After years and years of not having done this race, it was clear that Stella have still got that Spirit and even more special was to introduce Kayla to the Stella Spirit on this race. Now she knows why we carted her around in her jogger so many years ago. The last time Kayla did this  race was in 2005.

Gina and Kayla

The Smartinis win the Stella Quiz Night!

By: Amanda Botes

Stella Athletic Club hosted a quiz and burger night on Friday 29 September by quiz masters Dave Wright and Hylton Forge. If you weren’t there you missed out! Music, Sport, Geography and History were all covered, including a music session where teams had to guess the song titles of Elton John songs. Who knew “Honky Cat” was an actual name of a song? 🙂 Anyway, a lot of fun was had by all, and the results of the evening were:

  1. The Smartinis (Louise, Derek, Jess, and Ian’s Team)
  2. The Sex Pistols (Dave, Tracey, Sandy and Sean’s Team)
  3. DJ Stag (Dawn, Julie, Aldine, and Grant’s Team)
  4. Juluka (Kevin, Tawanda, Nana, Tozamile, David, Alex and Cindy’s Team)

The top five teams all won prizes. We would like to thank all the sponsors of the evening including Glenwood Spar, Spoonful Eatery, Durban Runner, Louise, and Dawn.

All the pictures from the evening were captured by Shannon Hucklesby and can be found on the Stella Athletic Facebook Page. The next upcoming social event will be a Halloween Party on the 27 October. You don’t want to miss it! Start getting your outfits ready!