Stella Star in the Spotlight

Spotlight on: The Riddles

Stuart and Sheldene Riddle

When did you meet?

1987 Military Tattoo, Stuart was in the Military Tattoo Guard of Honor and Sheldene was doing the Aerobics display at the Tattoo 

How long have you been a member of Stella Athletic Club?

Since December 2019

What was your reason for joining?

Stuart : Ask my wife!

Sheldene: Our friends were members

What is your favorite race distance to run / walk?

Sheldene: 10 km

Stuart: 21 km

What has been your most embarrassing/Funniest running moment to date?

Sheldene: Have you ever done a training walk with Dave Beattie aka Grumpy, need I say more 😊  

Stuart: Too many to mention

What is your favorite meal to enjoy the evening before an important race?

Sheldene – Wine the night before a race

Stuart – Future Life

Name your favorite running shoe brand and why?

Sheldene : Not fussy but I prefer Brooks

Stuart: New Balance wide

Describe your personality in 3 words.  

Sheldene: Committed – determined – and Grumpy over any distance over 7km

Stuart:  Peer Pressure is real

What is your running goal or aspiration?

Sheldene: To complete an 21.1 km and complete the Sani stagger 

Stuart: To Improve my time at the Sani stagger Trail

What to date is your biggest running / walking achievement? (your proudest moment)

Sheldene: Double Gold award at the Adidas

Stuart: sub 2 hours on the Deloitte 21.1 km

Who to date has been your biggest running / walking inspiration?

Sheldene: My friend Sharon Troll is my inspiration

Stuart: Mhlengi Gwala ( The promising SA Tri athlete who was attacked in 2019 with an chainsaw while training near University of Kwa-Zulu natal near Glenwood area and who is back on his bike competing again and headed to Italy for the Para-cycling competition

Which couple do you nominate next for questioning?

Shaun and Kathryn

From Walker to Runner: A Tribute to Dave Beatie

By: Ronnie Groenewald

2 years ago I phoned Stella and asked if I could join in some sessions as I tried running in the park but ended up with more injuries than gains. Pat Freeman suggested that I start with the walkers. I met Dave there as he had been walking instead of running due to an injury. I told him one day I would really would like to run.

After some basic training sessions Dave suggested I do a club time trial. I came stone dead last with a time close to 50 minutes in pouring rain but he told me these words which probably changed my life: “We going to make an athlete out of You”. Why these words meant so much to me at the time was because I’m 1,89 meters tall and at that time weighed over 125 kg. I was built more like a tractor than a athlete.

This started my running and weight loss journey from 125 kg+ all the way down to 105 kg doing Durban Runner 21 km. All these milestone but I still didn’t complete my biggest: I wanted to run. All the races we did we always walk/run and Dave never cared once about his own time but rather encouraged and helped and almost dragging me over the finish line when I wanted to give up, he never gave up and always pushed me. We did a Saturday Stella Gillies once and we walked from the club all the way to the top at Maris Stella and told me: “one day You will run up this hill” I thought he was full of nonsense as I was out of breath just walking it.

When we were in Level 5 Lockdown I was fortunate to have a treadmill and didn’t have to run around my garden. I decided I am going to a do a couch to 5 km program so that I can run for  5 km. I finally accomplished this goal in June 2020 on the road. It was a small personal accomplishment but I was over the moon. I decided to step it up and start another 17 week beginners program.

Today, 15 August 2020 I went out to do a 13 km (as per my program). I ran past Musgrave Centre and usually I need to start walking there but I felt good so just kept on plodding along (remember tractor size not Superbike). Before I knew it I was right next to entrance of Maris Stella and realised I just conquered a hill Dave told me one day I will be able to run. I realised all I achieved in these last 2 years thanks to his encouraging words and support and guidance. I ended up running through hilly Morningside all the way home, 13.5 km without a walk conquering every hill and every step.

Thank you Dave Beattiie for being there for the beginner runners. Today I honestly felt like I achieved that athlete status you spoke about 2 years ago.

Making it happen!

The lockdown due to the epidemic has caused worldwide havoc triggering everything to come to a grinding halt. Who would have thought a few month’s ago that there would be silence – no working, no socialising, and no sport. Almost like a sci-fi movie, which is quite scary. For sports lovers it was crazy not to watch any live coverage or participate in sport, as event after event was cancelled. Comrades was no exception, and it was heart breaking especially for novices who would have experienced the “Ultimate Human Race” for the first time on the 14th June. Having the virtual Comrades was a good initiative allowing thousands to experience the sensation of being a part of the brand. The shorter options were popular, especially having limited training. But there were those that went the full hog, even though it will not be officially recognised, but “in for a penny, in for a pound”. One such Stella athlete who would have lined up as a novice, did the 90k journey and deserves kudos for a brilliant effort.

Greg Conti, along with his mate Richard Jenkin ran from Glenwood through Berea, Morningside down to the beachfront, and along the promenade and back again, four times over! The journey was completed in under eleven hours to family and friends cheering them home. To do this on your own in a sense, with not experiencing the vibe of spectators lining the route throughout, no Big Five but the same training route four times is quite impressive.

Hats off Greg, this is an amazing achievement and gutsy, you “Dared to Dream” and you did it! Next year you will fly down to Durban and into the stadium with thousands welcoming you home! We salute you.

Stella Star in the Spotlight- Nkosinathi Ngcongo

By Amanda Botes


Nkosinathi Ngcongo running at this year’s Comrades Marathon (Image Source: KZN Runners Photography)

Nkosinathi Ngcongo, this year’s recipient of the Stella Chairman’s Award, has run 13 consecutive Comrades Marathons, eleven of which he has received silver medals for. Nkosinathi’s fastest Comrades was in 2014 where he ran 6h25, and best Two Oceans was in 2012 in a time of 3h46.

This Stella Star grew up in Port Shepstone Ezinqoleni where he enjoyed karate at Inanda Secondary School. When he started working Nkosinathi didn’t have the time to train with the karate group and so decided to give running a try. He enjoyed it so much that he entered Comrades in his very first year of running and has not looked back!

Nkosinathi first ran for Athletics North KZN and Harmony Gold before joining Stella in 2008. He has received silver medals for all ten Comrades he has run for Stella and has been awarded his green number. When asked about his best running memory, Nkosinathi remembers 2010 where he beat his personal best Comrades time by 51minutes, from 7h20 to 6h29!

His advice to new runners is to get fit, not rush things, and get enough mileage in before running long distances. He says that he made the mistake of running Comrades too early in his running journey and didn’t have enough experience at the time.

Nkosinathi enjoys running for Stella because it is a supportive club, especially on Comrades day as Stella provides tables along the route which he appreciates. Nkosinathi especially mentioned Nigel, Alistair, Louise and Lorraine who have supported him over the years. Nkosinathi says that the toughest race he has done is the Zululand 56km and his favourite race is the Down Comrades. He would like to run a sub-6 hour Comrades in the future.

Nkosinathi works for iDube Safety and in his spare time enjoys listening to music and spending time with his wife and two little girls. Nkosinathi, you are an inspiration to all of us at Stella and we are so proud of you!


Nkosinathi with some of his medals and his Comrades Marathon Green Number

Nkosinathi’s typical running week:
120-140kms every week.
Saturday- Long Run 40-50kms Easy
Sunday- 10km speed
Monday- Morning 8km, Evening 10km hillwork/cross-country
Tuesday- Morning 10km Easy, Afternoon Speedwork 800m x 8 or 200m x 25.
Thursday – Morning 8km, Afternoon 12km
Friday- Rest