How Akhona Mdaka is making the most of Endurocad support
19 October 2016
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Brad Brown: This is Old Mutual Live, great things start here, great things start now. I love chatting to runners from all walks of life, all abilities. But I particularly love chatting to runners who have got interesting stories, who have come through the ranks and are starting to really show some promise.
Get picked up by various academies and training groups around the country. One of those athletes is Akhona Mdaka who currently lives in Grabouw. He grew up in the Eastern Cape in a small town called Tsolo. He joins us now. Welcome onto the show today Akhona, thanks for joining us.
Akhona Mdaka: Thank you Meneer very much, thank you.
BB: Akhona, let’s talk about your running. You obviously love running, it wasn’t always like that, you used to be a big fan of football. You weren’t a big running fan?
AM: Yes Meneer, I used to participate in the racing, I’m training hard for the top ten in the big races like the SA Champs. So yes, I’m training hard for that race, so I really do it as I can, when I’m training.
From aspiring footballer to running ace
BB: Akhona, tell me about how you started in running, where did it all start for you?
AM: I was running, when I was younger, when I was 10 years, I was in Transkei at that time. So I was running just for the school, but I was running for the school. I was moving from Eastern Cape to Cape Town in 2006. In 2006 I came here, but I didn’t come here for running, because I didn’t know what is my talent.
After that, I come here in CT, I was just focusing on the soccer/football. When I was just doing the football, I told my mom I want to be like a guy like Khune and Tshabalala. But I was just asking myself what I can do to be like that. But I was just saying in my mind, I’m not going to see the guys. When we are training the football, I would just train for myself so that I can be fit. I must not be tired in the game.
After that I was fine, the guy, when I was doing the jog just for the soccer/football, I was just doing the jog and in the morning, the guy, he asked me what I’m training for. I told him I’m training just for soccer. That guy told me that I’m not running as for soccer/football, I’m running as an athlete.
After that, that guy, he took me and trained me and just going in the races. So I was doing well in the races 2011 and 2012 and 2013 and 2014 and 2015 I was starting to get good. Because I was, that time I didn’t have the support and even I was staying alone. My father, he was not staying with me.
So my father was not staying with me, so I was just really suffering in 2012 and 2013 and 2014. So in 2015 I decided that I must leave the school so that I can support myself and buy new running shoes and dress good so that I can train whatever, even if it’s raining.
I was just doing that and found a job and going out, I get the job and bought running shoes. So I was doing the training as hard as I can, using whatever. When it’s wind or raining, I would go out so that I could do the Champions.
Endurocad has really helped me
BB: You’re working now with Endurocad as well, you talk about training on your own. How much has Endurocad helped you?
AM: With Endurocad, they help me too much. 2015 when I was running the Boland Championships here in Cape Town for the qualification of the SA. I was running there, I didn’t aim that I would get the sponsor in Endurocad. So I was just running my times there, 1:07. So after that I was going to PE for the SA Champs. So also there, I was running a good time.
But after PE I was getting the message that in the part of training camp, Endurocad, after that they told me that I must go and get, just to check me. After that they give me the running shoes and the track goods, they give me the support. Meneer, I’m very proud of the Endurocad.
Because now they also take my position up, because that time I was really suffering about the running shoes and the track goods. Because the running shoes, they are really expensive, they cost maybe R1000 to buy the racing shoes. When you are alone and you don’t have the sponsor, it’s difficult. But Endurocad really helped me, they really helped me.
BB: Akhona, what distances do you love running, how long?
AM: 10km and in road racing. 10km, 15km and 21km. I’m not running more than 21km. I’m running the 21, the 15 and 10km and the 5 000m in track and field and the 3 000m.
BB: Akhona, tell me about your training, how do you train, what do you do every day, how much, that sort of thing?
AM: I’m training during the day. Sometimes my training programme is saying I must train maybe twice a day. Maybe I’m jogging Monday, I’m supposed to jog on Monday, just 40 minutes early in the morning. When I wake up, maybe I have to go to work, maybe 6:30. So I wake up at 4:00, I go out and do my jog. After that I go to my work.
When I’m coming to work, I just do maybe 30 minutes later. So maybe on Tuesday I do maybe the speed. When I come back to work, I come back at work, I just do my section in the field. Maybe the speed, 200m x 30 or 25. I just doing it like this. Maybe I’m going to work early in the morning, I just go and I train. After the work I’m coming back again, my training.
Putting a 2016 injury set-back behind me
BB: Akhona, what are your goals? What are you training towards? What do you want to achieve in running?
AM: I want to, this year I’m training for this year, on January I got an injury. So my goal, it didn’t happen. Because I was aiming to be in top ten on Two Oceans. I want to win the Half Marathon Safari and to be a top ten. All the goals I was aiming last year.
So this year on January I got the accident in Transkei because the guys, they judge other guys from other community. So I get that problem, so they’re attacking me. So I didn’t train January/February/March. So I was starting late on, so I didn’t make that goal.
So on the next year I have to work this year for the Two Ocean half marathon next year. I have to be in top ten there next year. If in 2018 I am aiming to be in the World Champs half marathon. Because now I’m working hard for the 1:02 for half marathon. So I’m working hard for those goals now. For 2018 for the World half marathon, but next year I want to be in top ten in Two Oceans half marathon.
BB: Awesome. Akhona, as far as soccer goes, do you miss playing it, do you still watch? Do you still play, who do you support?
AM: The guys I was doing training with them, but I just give them the support. But I don’t say I need to go in the football now because as I was going in the marathon, I was really enjoying it. Because the marathon, if you are just running, if you just lose the game, you lose the game on your own. You don’t complain with others, or someone else, you just complain in yourself why you lose this race. Maybe why you aren’t doing good in this race.
It’s because I didn’t train so hard. I didn’t train, so I’m not so fit. So I’m supposed to push hard so that I can do it better. It’s like that. I was really liking the marathon, when I was starting to learn about the marathon. I see the difference between marathon and the soccer. In the marathon, if you’re fit, you can win alone. So I really like the marathon.
BB: Fantastic. Akhona, thank you so much for your time today, much appreciated. Good luck for those goals and I hope you have a much better year next year. Who knows, we’ll see you at World Champs in 2018, good luck.
AM: Thank you Meneer, thank you very much.