Walking

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.

Pushing Boundaries!

f9ef6a26-f910-4515-b36c-821fc0b17262.JPGBy: Jocelyn Goodwin

Walking is one of those disciplines that sounds a bit silly at first. Anybody can walk, you might think. Then how on earth could walking fast be a sport?

Well, walking is MY sport!

I joined Stella in mid 2018 due to the fact that it was no longer safe to walk alone in the afternoons as a lady. For me, Stella AC was just a club whereby I could continue my love for walking in a safe environment. It’s become so much more than that!

I had completed a few 10k races as well as three ECR 20km Big Walks, so was under the impression that completing a half marathon would be well within my limits. My first attempt was the SAPS Striders 21km which is a double lap course along our beautiful Durban promenade. I was prepared physically, but for weeks leading up to the event I became less and less confident, worried I was going to be the last person on the road and not finish in the allocated time limit. It was always going to be a dual between my head and my physical ability, it turned out my head won. I bailed at the 16km mark! Looking back I was well within the time limit and was not the last person on the road, I could have finished.

I was feeling despondent and didn’t think the half marathon distance was for me. Fortunately for me it was at this point our Chairperson Dave Beattie offered to guide me through another half marathon. We chose the upcoming Goss & Balfe Sapphire Coast 21km. After a few “big“ and “small” Gillies I felt confident I could do this.

Before I realised it was the morning of the race and it was now or never. Dave and our Stella family were there for me through all the tough moments and 3 hours later, we crossed the finish line with a feeling of euphoria. I DID IT!

Having seconded on the side of the road for many years, I never realised how valued seconds are. Often seconds are husbands or wives, friends or family, in this case it was a Stella angel by the name of Sharon Troll who popped up along the route exactly when she was needed.

The camaraderie amongst the Stella family as a whole has been fantastic, so many playing a part enabling me to accomplish my goal. Thank you everyone!

In the words of Eliud Kipchoge, “NO HUMAN IS LIMITED”

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Jocelyn came second in the walking event for the half marathon distance!

 

Stella hosts Walking Clinic with Natalie le Roux

By Sharon Troll

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Early Saturday morning a bunch of eager walkers from as far as Hilton attended the Walking Clinic given by Natalie le Roux.

She shared her truely inspirational life story, some of her future goals, nutrition, how to train for a race and a little bit about KZN Masters Athletics before taking us through the warm up routine. Boy was that difficult!!! ‘Pulling the line from your navel’, ‘rocking the baby’, ‘loosening those hips’ and ‘activating the shins’ made us all look at bit silly, but we soon saw the benefits of all these movements.

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After a few stretching exercises we walked up to Bulwer Park where Natalie explained how we should approach the up hills and downhills, and some other techniques. We did a couple of rounds in the park showing off our new moves.

The clinic was enjoyed by all and several walkers showed interest in future events. So watch this space.

Thanks to Natalie for sharing your knowledge in such a humble way. 

Thanks to Jodi Pastorino from KZNMA for joining us.

Thanks to Stella Athletic Club for hosting the clinic.

Thanks to Michael Mostert who took the initiative in asking for a donation towards the Elders Voice and thanks to everyone who gave from the heart.

I’ll end with a very appropriate saying coming from our own Frankie…

WALK WITH PURPOSE!!

Stella Female Walkers Team wins the 2018 Time Trial League

By: Sharon Troll and Kim Flack

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Last year walking with Michael’s group he started “briefing” us on something called time trial league, but we soon forgot about it until we found ourselves at the walkers meeting late last year and offered to walk if they were needing numbers. It was a bit of a decision to make whether we should register as a runner or walker, but we are so glad we joined in with the walkers – it’s been a wonderful year with amazing people! Big thanks to you Michael – your enthusiasm is infectious! Well done to us all. 

We’ve already received next year’s fixtures and we would like everyone to come join in on the 2019 fun, whether you are a runner or a walker, fast or slow. Looking forward to seeing you there. 

 

The Mandela Marathon- Walkers can enjoy it too!

By: Mary O’Gorman

I took part in the 10km walk at the 100 year centenary celebration Mandela Marathon this year. It was the biggest event I have competed in so far as there were 24 000 entrants in the distances – 42kms, 21kms and 10kms combined.

From the very start, the message spread that it was a special race. There were posters in the streets and radio announcements in the build up to race day which made the race seem very significant.  At the race pack collections, there were huge posters with pictures and quotes from Mandela and clips of his speeches were being played.

Because of the vast number of entrants, there were challenges caused by having to queue for everything but the atmosphere of the race made up for that.  Waiting in that huge crowd at the start was quite fun as Jaluka music was being played and everyone started ‘dancing’ on the spot to the music. When we all sang the National anthem, it was emotional and some even shed a tear.

The stream of luminous race T-shirts during the race were visible for miles as far as the eye could see on the winding country roads.  The scenery is spectacular with challenging up-hills most of the route and we 10kms participants enjoyed the well-stocked water tables (before they ran out of supplies later).

What made the event memorable was the large number of supporters along the route. They cheered, clapped and sang as we passed.  By the time we reached the Mandela monument at the end, we felt elated.

Walkers should certainly grab this rare opportunity that this event provides to experience this level of crowd support and the feeling of comraderie amongst the entrants!

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.

Choc Walk up Sani Pass

By: David Thurlby (14 years old, Junior Stella Member)

We approached the mountain ahead of us that was soon to be our challenge. We were representing CHOC and Stella. We had felt the cold the night before but the morning of the race we woke up to the amazing view of the challenge that stood before us. The start was whenever we were ready, then we got going. The snow got thicker and thicker the higher up we climbed. Many people participated but this felt very much like a family trip. The walk altogether was a journey to be remembered and to be retold. We got close to the big rock that was said to be opposite the highest pub in Africa. Which felt like the longest time. We had an amazing experience, from snowball fights to meeting new people. It wasn’t a race, it was an experience for everyone that went. It was amazing in many ways and will definitely be on my list of future events.

 

KZNA Seniors and Masters Champs: There is no cure for stupidity

By: Michael Mostert

(Photos courtesy of Martin Roestof)

After some encouragement and motivation from fellow walkers, I decided this year to give myself a new but daunting challenge, to compete in Masters Track Race Walking. My fellow walkers had sold track as fun and social and a way to improve your speed and technique. My rubbery arm was bent.

After only two official track training sessions, the KZNA Seniors and Masters Championships were upon us, the 5km being held on the Friday evening. The butterflies soon turned into vultures descending on a carcass and I began asking myself what I had got myself into as I had just completed the notorious hilly Savages time trial through Burman Bush on Thursday! I was politely told by the Master’s secretary “There is no cure for stupidity” with a wry smile on her face. Before I could locate the exit to plan my escape we were under starters orders for the 5km race walking track event. The 5km event is 12 and a half times around the track under the watchful eyes of race judges, spotters/time keepers and spectators. The spotlights were on as the sun was setting as we pounded our way around the track, to the motivation of the stadium announcers encouraging the crowd to cheer for us.

Once the 5km was over, reality set in once again as we were told that we would be doing the 10km road race at 05h30 on Saturday morning which comprised of 1 km lap on the road that runs alongside Peoples Park. I dragged myself out of bed to heavy legs at 3h45am on Saturday morning. At the start line I met with a number of enthusiastic walkers who had the sanity not to do the 5km the previous evening. Why didn’t I get that memo?

The sun started to appear from behind Suncoast and we knew we were in for a hot 10km. The gun went off and we were off like the opening of doors on an Edgars red hanger sale as all walkers jostled for position around the 1km track which had to be conquered 10 times for the sane and 20 times for the ultra-insane under again the watchful eyes of the appointed race judges and officials. These officials were  placed around the track and all of us were hoping to avoid the dreaded yellow paddle warning against bent knees or lifting feet. Three warnings by different judges means you are disqualified, so concentration is paramount.

Feeling the effect of the Thursday time trial and Friday evening’s 5km, I received a warning for bent knee on the 7 km lap on my tired jelly legs . This gave me a wake-up call that this was no joke, I corrected my technique with heaving lungs for the next 3 km to waddle over without any further warnings to complete my 1st 10km KZN Master’s Track race.

Track race walking is definitely not for the faint hearted as fellow athletes told me it’s another  beast …true words! I was still crazy enough to do the Martitzburg half marathon on the Sunday morning.  I am sure there is a padded cell with my name on it somewhere! Next time I will be better prepared  to fly the Stella flag with pride.

Walking with purpose,

Mike

The Cherry on Top- The Ficksburg Cherry Run

By: Michael Mostert

One of my bucket list races was to one day do the Ficksburg Cherry run 23km over a mountain. This day finally dawned a lot sooner than expected. Waking up to minus 1 degrees seriously gave me second thoughts!

I lined up with other athletes at the start to an opening prayer by the local dominee, which was a nice change, or was it a prayer for our sanity? The gun sounded and we were off. With a false sense of delusion we hit 2.5km of tarred road and thought this was not too bad as we had the front walkers in our sights. That was until we veered off onto a rocky dirt road to head up a mountain road with the thin air reminding me this was not a coastal walk in the park. A fellow walker who had done this race 11 times said to me, “Hierdie is niks jong man wag n bietjie” – ‘This is nothing young man, wait a minute’. With some boulder hopping we wound our way up from 1450 meters to 1728 meters to the most amazing views and rock formations.  The lead walker disappeared into the distance as I gasped for air. Unfortunately this was not a recognised walk with no judges or prizes so lots of walkers were seen running to make the tight 3hr 30 minutes cut off.

By the time we got to the summit the temperatures reached 24 degrees. We passed a weather station at the top and made our way down a steep concrete road. With walking style in check, we meandered our way down, avoiding wandering cows and their fresh droppings. We passed hordes of kids with hands held out for high fives to loads of cheering which was a much needed pick me up. By this time with 4 km to go, the sun pelted down as we made our way back into the now tree lined town of Ficksburg to end our mountaineering experience at the primary school. I don’t know what was more welcoming the medal or being offered an ice cream with cherries to cool us down.

Lovely tough race and yes I will do it again, what an experience, even had time to take some pics and some not to be posted selfies …

Walking with purpose,

Michael

Sydenham Time Trial League – Walking Stars Report

By: Michael Mostert

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All the keen, mean, and lean Stella Walking Stars poured out of Wendy’s taxi at the Sydenham Durban Runner Mizuno Time Trial League on Thursday 19 October. Casting our eyes heavenward at the ominous clouds building up, we all wondered if we were going to be caught in a downpour as we prepared for the Sydenham 5 km, not 4km, time trial league.

200 runners and walkers lined up for the 5km and 8km slog. The start gun caught us all by surprise as some were still adjusting their hair, their kit, and others still chatting away…we were off. The route goes through the friendly, but hilly, Sydenham suburbs up the notorious Jan Smuts Highway until 45th cutting when you turn back.

Nana pulled ahead like the fast and the furious disappearing into the distance, and finished in 5th position overall in an amazing time of 36 minutes and 36 seconds. Wendy completed it in 8th place in 39 minutes 02 seconds, followed by Michael in 9th place in 39 minutes and 13 seconds. With our ever smiling and chatty Frankie in 13th while coaching the SANDF Walker on the correct style to use….that’s our Frankie. Our ever reliable Musician Roland came in a cool 22nd place in his 1st walk in a few months.

Was nice to be greeted by the smiling support team of Mary in her kit at the finish line as we stumbled over, thanks for the support Mary. The Red Bull ladies also handed out some well-deserved drinks to the exhausted athletes at the end.

Out of 13 teams, Stella Walking Stars finished the league in 3rd place, 7 points behind 2nd place team and 17 points ahead of the 4th placed team.

  1. DHSOB
  2. QBH Harriers
  3. Stella
  4. PDAC

Well done to you all for your time and sacrifice this year, you are all stars in my eyes.

Wishing Wendy Coleman a blessed belated birthday for Friday, October the 20th. Congratulations must also go to Wendy for coming 3rd in the ladies walking category in the Merewent 10km on Sunday 22 October.

Walking with purpose,

Michael M