My Life Story
I am a Durban girl, I have lived here my whole life. I went to school Durban Girls’ College and absolutely loved school. At school I was a sporting all rounder, you name it I did it. I loved all sports. I have always loved running and made the KZN team numerous times for cross country and athletics, I also played provincial hockey, was in the swimming team, did life saving and competed at World Life saving Champs in New Zealand at the age of 16, where I met my husband. I was happiest on the sports fields or in the ocean.
After school I studied a B.Ed foundation phase degree. I continued my sport but running was more social then. In 2004 I married my husband and shortly afterwards we have our first child.
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 (December 2004) 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.. 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 ran a personal best 10km and then 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. 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. 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 giving me the support I need to be able to train and compete.
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 (2006) 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. My coach then 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 could finally say “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 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 14, 12 and 6 years old. They certainly are the light of my life but do keep me VERY busy.
My daughters are very sporty. You name it they do it and they love it.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 used to say I came out of nowhere I’d giggle and say … “babies done, time to run”.
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 “where there is a will there is a way”.
In 2014 after World half marathon champs I was privileged to start under coach Ernie Gruhn and I am still with him now.
In my time with Ernie I have run personal best times for a 5km, 10km, 21km, 42km and ultra marathon.
In 2015/2016 I ran my first ever FULL MARATHON (42km) in Mossel bay and won it in a time of 2hr41. From there I ran Prague international marathon and then Nagoya Woman’s marathon in Japan. This is largest woman’s marathon in the world and I ran an Olympic qualifying time of 2h37.19. I was unable to go to the Olympics that year as I had to have knee surgery.
In 2017 I ran my debut Two Oceans Ultra marathon (56km) in 3h47.19 and was the first South African and second over all. I had a dream race and absolutely loved the ultra. Later that year I was chosen to represent South Africa for the marathon at World Athletics Champs in London. That and my Two Oceans debut are definitely the highlights of my athletic career so far. Representing SA again for the marathon now was a dream come true and a memory I will cherish forever.
Whats next… well we shall see where my path goes but living in KZN and having not yet run the ultimate human race, the Comrades Marathon is definitely on my bucket list as is Tokyo Olympics 2020.
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.
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.