I am a Durban girl through and through. I was born in 1981 and have lived in Durbs my whole life. I went to Durban Girls’ College. It was an amazing school and I must admit I absolutely LOVED my school and my school days. I have very fond memories of my years spent there.
At school I was a sporting all-rounder, playing as much sport as time would allow. In high school I focused more on hockey and athletics representing KZN in both sports. Notwithstanding attending SA Athletic Championships a few times I was never coached and this showed in my performances at school level. The other big sport in my life at the time was Life Saving and in 1998 at the ago of 16 and representing Durban Surf, I went to the World Life Saving Championships in New Zealand, which is where I met my husband Brett.
Brett and I were in the same Durban Surf team. Our team won world champs that year and it was an experience of a lifetime, one I feel made me really grow up. I was very shy and quiet before this trip (believe it or not) but being on this trip allowed me to see the world a bit and I definitely came out my shell! It was a sink or swim situation and I chose to swim.
When I met Brett it was definitely love at first sight (BIG SMILE) … the problem was I was 16 and still in school, Brett was 22, out of school and my parents had a heart attack. The idea didn’t go down well with them so our relationship was put on hold for a few years but we never lost contact and that spark never dwindled. It just wasn’t the right time. The saying says “If you love something set it free, if its meant to be it will come back to you, if its not, it obviously wasn’t meant to be”, that’s just what I did.
Well a few years later … I had finished school and yes my man had come back to me and we’ve been together ever since and been married for 10 years this December.
After school I went to college to study to become a teacher. Running was more of a social thing for me; I ran a few road races socially with friends in between studying and partying of course. Gotta live those student years and make memories of course.
After four years of study I graduated with a Bachelor Education Foundation Phase degree and shortly after this Brett and I got married. Soon I was pregnant with Nicolette, our first child. I ran throughout my pregnancy right up until the day I went in to labour.
At the onset of labour the doctor suggested I walk around the parking lot to speed up the labour; instead I went to the beach-front for a 6km run.
After 36 hours of labour our spring baby Nicolette was born by emergency C-section on 1 September 2004. After her birth I was very wrapped up in motherhood and wasn’t in any rush to get back on the road. I was besotted with this teeny tiny miracle of life. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE children and had wanted a child for as long as I can remember. She was just so perfect and I was in my element. When she was about 4 months old I decided it was time to start training again. I still had no coach but did seek some guidance and help from Helen Lucre. I ran socially and always enjoyed joining the Durban North group of runners called Regents Harriers. They run 10km every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. It was social, fun and carefree.
I went back to work teaching Grade 4 when Nicolette was 5 months old. Fifteen months later my running was going fine, times were coming down, a few PB’s were being run and I was doing a bit of cross country league runs too. I always wanted a 2-year gap between my children so it meant it was time to plan number 2. I fell pregnant with my second daughter straight away giving us EXACTLY a 2-year gap between the girls. I ran throughout this pregnancy as well but obviously wasn’t allowed to do any track or speed. My pregnancies were easy although I must admit I don’t love being pregnant.
Rylee-Kai was born 2 weeks after Nicolette’s 2nd birthday on 15 September 2006 and now the juggling started. Having two little ones was quite a jump from one, but such a blessing too. There is a 6-week recovery period after a C-section and this time I got back on the road pretty quickly after the birth. I started running at 6 weeks post birth and just built a base for the next few months trying to get my fitness back and of course my body back into shape.
Brett has always been an active and successful sportsman; he represented South Africa for both lifesaving (7 times) and waterpolo. He is also a very talented paddler and won his age group in the 2014 Dusi Canoe Marathon. After Brett retired from Life Saving I convinced him to take up running which he now loves and is doing so well at. In our relationship, running has always been “our time” … time away from the distraction of kids, news, TV’s etc. Its time where we communicate, bond, laugh and just have “US” time and when I’m cross I can out run him – hahahahaha – ok only done that once! Brett is and has always been my number one fan, he is supportive in everything I do and always has been. He knows what it takes to get to the top and is always there for me.
After giving birth a second time I was determined not to let the fact that I had 2 children stop me running. At that stage I didn’t really have any clear running goals and was not confident I could be a competitive runner, but felt I should at least give it a go.
During this time I changed jobs and taught at a pre-school for a few years which my daughter Nicolette was attending. It was at this time that my passion for photography saw me acquire a good camera and I started to play around with it and improving my photographic skills to the point where I turned professional, while continuing to teach, run and raise 2 toddlers. My photography really took off and I got so busy that it was time to make some decisions. Juggling a full time teaching job, 2 toddlers, photography and running was too much, so I decided to resign from teaching and give the photography business my full attention. The flexibility of being a photographer offered me the opportunity to spend time with my children during the day and to run more than I had been. I also started using a running coach, Andy Daly, and from 2007- 2009 my running improved. This was the first time I had ever been coached as a runner and had to follow a running program, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I ran many local races in KZN as well as the SA 10km, 21km and XC champs and became very competitive in the cross-country scene. Andy was very passionate about cross-country and encouraged it a lot. I started taking part in the Spar Ladies 10km series around the country as I felt I needed to be challenged. I needed to run with the best to push myself, to lift my game and to see where I would feature. This was a great move, I thoroughly enjoyed the competition and the improvement was huge. I finished 8th in my first grand prix series. The Grand Prix is a series of 5 Spar Races where you accumulate points from every race and at the end the points are added up to determine where you come over all. After 2 years with Andy I felt it was time to move on, I’d reached my potential with him and wanted to take my running to the next level.
In 2010 I started with Gerrie Coetzee from JHB and 4 months later fell pregnant with my 3rd daughter Tao. Yes it was planned and yes there was a big gap between my first two daughters and Tao … this is because I had to beg Brett for 4 years for Tao. I just didn’t feel complete with 2; I am from a family of 3 children and always wanted 3 children. Poor Brett eventually got sick of me begging and gave in … he and I got my dream baby girl on 14 June 2012 and I am COMPLETE.
“BABIES DONE TIME TO RUN”
I finally feel complete and the factory is closed!! I have my 3 gorgeous daughters and NOW IS MY TIME to run, NOW I want to see where I can go with my running. I have big goals and big dreams and I believe with my determination, drive and support systems in place I WILL achieve them.
After the birth of Tao on 14 June 2012 I was rearing to get back to running. Gerrie gave me a few months of base training to get fit again and get my body back in shape. There was something about having my 3rd child; I definitely came back stronger after this pregnancy. I’m not sure if its due to pregnancy or just the huge juggling act I face every day to make sure I run and do everything else a mom of 3 needs to do as well as work and bring in enough to support our family with Brett and be a good wife too.
2013 was an AWESOME year for me. I had initially planned to come back slowly and take it as it came. I had told my coach I was only running once a day and unless Sunday was a race it was my family day - hence a rest day and this is exactly what I did for the entire year. I ran my big first race in April - Two Oceans 21km and finished 11th in 81 minutes, which for where I was I was, 9 months post birth I was satisfied with and motivated by.
I went on to run the Spar Ladies series around the country. I placed top 10 for all of these races with my best finish being 5th in Spar Pretoria. I ran the Total Sports Ladies race in Durban on 21 July and won it in a personal best time. I ran Spar PMB on the 8 September and defended my title from 2011 and won that race too. I ran the North Beach Park Run and now hold the SA Park run record there. I ran SA 21km champs in East London and came 3rd in a personal best time and qualified for World Half Marathon Champs in Denmark. In November I was selected to go to CT on an Endurocad camp run by Elana Meyer. This was a huge thing for me and I seized this opportunity with both hands. Although I was probably the oldest on the camp and certainly the ONLY one with 3 children I was so excited and so grateful for this opportunity. One I had never been so privileged to have before. I soaked up every bit of advice and loved every second of this amazing camp. After all the skills assessments and testing had been done the team was announced and I had made the satellite group of athletes to be apart of Endurocad. WOW! This was something else, something I knew would only benefit me and help take me to where I knew I wanted to go. This finished off a very successful year for me.
Besides running I am firstly a mom of three little girls, a wife and a photographer. Being a mom is the most rewarding job but parenting is not for the faint hearted, it too comes with its challenges which one must find ways around. My little girls are now 9 going on 19, 7 and 1 years old. They certainly are the light of my life but do keep me VERY busy.
My two older daughters are very sporty. Nix is a dynamite swimmer, takes after her dad and trains swimming 4 times a week. She does gymnastics twice a week as well as the other school sports such as netball, hockey, and tennis. Rylee-Kai is my little runner, she dominates her school cross-country and pretty much participates in all the other sports and swimming at school too. So between Nix and Rylee in the afternoons I am MOM’S TAXI going from one sport to the next as well as finding time to make sure they both do their home work and making sure I fit in quality time for my littlest princess too.
My day goes a little like this: I train at 4.45am until 6.15/6.30am. I then get home wake the girls up, get them ready for school, drop them at school and start work. Editing shoots or doing shoots until about 1pm when I start “moms taxi” service. I sometimes have a second training session before I fetch the girls or late that afternoon in between when they are at a specific sport, I juggle it all in. Thank goodness Brett cooks … must admit I’m not a fan of cooking and he loves it, then its zoo hour at home getting the girls bathed, fed and in bed by 7pm then I pretty much collapse in a heap in bed myself! My life is definitely a JUGGLING ACT of note … but hey I juggle and I love it!
In December I went overseas to New Zealand to photograph a friend wedding and to recoup from a busy year of racing, being mom, wife and photographer. It was just what I needed and a great place to start training again for my 2014 season.
Every time I have recently been interviewed reporters have mentioned my 2013-year of running and commented on how I came out of nowhere. I have to laugh, I certainly didn’t just come out of nowhere, I’ve always run BUT just have never had a proper coach until much later in life and have also had three children which if you work it out equates to almost 5 and a half years of no running just to have babies and recover from the C-sections. When they say I came out of nowhere I giggle and say yip … “babies done, time to run”. Watch me go!
2014 started off with a BANG … My first race was World Half Marathon Champs in Denmark, Copenhagen. This was a “dream come true”. For as long as I can remember my dream has been to represent South Africa, to run in “green and gold” and to make my country proud. It certainly has taken me longer than most people but that’s fine, I still achieved that goal and I hope I can inspire other people, especially mothers to never give up on a dream and not to put life on hold for dreams … dreams can always come true if you are determined and as I always say “where there is a will there is a way”.
Where I am right now – well I am so excited, so motivated and so ready for the next challenges, dreams and goals that lie ahead of me. For the first time in my life I can train, run, race and I am not planning another baby or being set back by a 9-month pregnancy. I have my family, something I would never change. I am happy with the way I did things and how my life unfolded BUT NOW is my time to run … my time to shine and watch me GO.
Up until now I have never had the opportunity of being a full time athlete but what I would like to do now is to give my running EVERYTHING I have and to find some support and financial help that will enable me to do this and achieve my goals.
Besides running I am a family girl, I love family time, I love the beach, the sea, sun and surfing. I love people and meeting new people. We spend a lot of time out doors and on the beach. Its how we roll!
Running is my passion, sport and sanity. I am a passionate athlete and I truly believe in the brands I represent. I feel it is so important to be real, to use and believe in your sponsors and their brands. I will happily and proudly promote every single one that I represent.