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.



The Deloitte Challenge: My first half marathon

By: Jasmin Borstlap

Jasmin Borstlap

On the 18th of March 2018 I completed my first half marathon at the Deloitte Challenge.

Two months ago I joined Stella Athletic Club. At first I just wanted to run and get some cardio in, little did I realise how addictive running is. After a month of running with Stella and having members push you to do your best and give you the  best advice to improve your running, I decided to enter the Deloitte Half Marathon – 21 km. I must say my expectation to finish in 2 hours 30 minutes wasn’t very high. As I spoke to more members, friends from other running clubs and even family members the more they encouraged me and told me I could do it.

The morning of the Deloitte my heart was racing, I had never been so nervous. Walking to the start and seeing so many people I become anxious, am I going to finish on time, will I be okay, can I do this? I began to doubt myself. We started all cramped up and many people pushed past you to get to the front. I just reminded myself to start slow and ease into it, as many Stella runners have told me to do.

After about 20 minutes of running, I started to enjoy it, with people spread out and having room to run, to the ocean views to your left, it was breathtakingly beautiful. Having so many supporters on the side of the road telling us “we can do it”  or “GO Stella” was that extra bit of motivation to get us through the next 5 km or however long we needed to get that extra boost to keep going.

Stopping for a short walk, a lady ran past me and said come on we nearly home. I decided to push through – running the best I have ever run. With about 5 km to go, this energetic lady tells me “we have 30 minutes, our bodies can do anything in 30 minutes”, as she over takes me, I repeated in my head “we are capable of anything”.

Getting to Suncoast and knowing the amphitheatre was a mere 2 km away, I was excited to be at the finish line soon, running so fast past my family that they didn’t even see me, until I phoned them to see where they were. They were more shocked to know that I finished in 2 hours 13 minutes, a whole 17 minutes before my expected time.

Seeing all the Stella runners, I have never been more proud to be a part of such an amazing and supportive group of people. Wearing our Stella uniform with pride.

#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!

SAPS Striders Heritage Challenge – More than just a Half-Marathon

By: Bronwyn Blades

I ran this race as my first ever half- marathon in September 2015, under a temporary license and always wanted to come back and do it again. Having recently joined Stella Athletic Club, and under the watchful eye of Dave in his Running Newbies group, I decided I was ready to take on the half-marathon again this year.

The registration process was somewhat disorganised, over both Friday and Saturday, which lead to many questioning how things were going to go on race day. However, Sunday morning dawned overcast and quite warm by comparison to recent weeks. The race venue, Kings Park Athletic Stadium, was well laid out and Dave, Sean and Sandy had put up the Stella Gazebo ahead of time. We noticed though that there didn’t seem to be as many participants as in previous years, which was disappointing considering that this race is flat and fast, and should therefore be accessible to most runners.

I was nervous lining up at the start, realising that this was quite a bit further than I had run recently. The race was a two lap event, starting in Masabalala Yengwa Avenue, doing a short loop on that road, before heading down to the beach front via Blue Lagoon. The turning point was along the beach promenade, just past the SAPS police station. For me, it was quite tough mentally to know that I had to do the same lap twice – I think I prefer a point to point race. Dave was a star! He kept a steady pace, encouraged me along the way and just kept me going. I am not sure I would have made it without him but I was so delighted to finish!

This race was always going to more than just a half-marathon to me. Shortly after I ran it in 2015, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I finished treatment last year and since then have been determined to get back to where I was in 2015. So for me, Sunday represents a milestone. I am two years older, a little heavier, and probably a lot slower – but I am back. Healthy, happy and on the road again.

Thank you Stella for being so welcoming and supportive and especially to Dave – I couldn’t have done it without you!

Forest Hills 10km – Lessons from a novice

by Joanne Parker

The thing I love about running is that it is convenient. I can walk out of my door and start running, and it costs me nothing but a pair of shoes! Why then, would I choose to pay money to wake up at the crack of dawn, drive half an hour to stand in the cold with hundreds of people to run? This was always my response when people asked if I was doing the upcoming race, and it was always met with a sideways glance.

However, over the last 14 months, Stella Athletic Club has taken me from not being able to run 500m, to running 12km comfortably, so when Dave suggested that the ‘newbies’ come up to Forest Hills for a bit of ‘gees’, I felt I should show some support and represent Stella at the race. My very first race.

People always told me they entered races for the atmosphere and to push themselves, but what I got from the race was much simpler.

  • I learnt what my Athletics SA number is;
  • I set up my TomTom watch that had been sitting on my table for two months;
  • I learnt how to cover my Athletics SA number with my race number to only show the logos;
  • I learnt that 6m30s multiplied by ten is not, in fact, 63 minutes;
  • I got a Stella kit;
  • I got to experience running past a water table and grabbing a sachet of water as if I was in for a top ten place at comrades; and
  • Of course, I got my (first ever) personal best!

I’m sure that one day soon I will appreciate the atmosphere and know what it feels like to improve my time race after race, but for now, what I got from the Forest Hills 10 was far more valuable to me as a newbie. Supa Mama Savages Challenge 21km: I come prepared.

Thanks to Stella for making running so accessible to non-athletes like me. Special thanks to Dawn, who got me through the worst of it (my first 5km); to Sandy (for getting me to, and past the 10km point), and Louise for the constant support and advice.


Stella Stars celebrating at the end of Forest Hills 10km