Passing a passion for running onto the next generation
05 October 2016
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Welcome onto this edition of Old Mutual Live, I’m Brad Brown, thank you so much for joining us here on the podcast. Don’t forget, if you enjoy these podcasts, make sure you subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher. Whatever platform it is that you listen to these podcasts on, make sure you don’t miss out on one of them. Especially as we build up to some of the big events that we’re involved in here at Old Mutual.
The Old Mutual Soweto Marathon on the horizon and then let’s not forget next year, the Old Mutual Two Ocean’s Marathon and the Comrades Marathon coming up, entries are now open. If you haven’t got yours in, make sure you do pretty quickly. Time now to chat to another runner who I’m very keen to share her story and a little bit about what she’s up to. It’s a great pleasure to welcome onto the podcast today Rachel Manyathi. Rachel welcome, thanks for joining us today.
Rachel Manyathi: Good morning Brad and thank you for having me.
BB: Rachel, tell us a little bit about your background, a little bit about you. I know you work at St Stithians, at the girl’s school. Tell us a bit about what you do for a living and a little bit about your running?
RM: Okay, I am a commercial subjects teacher at St Stithians College and I just love running. For me running started a while ago at varsity, it was a very casual thing to relieve academic stress. That’s where my running started.
For the love of trail
BB: What sort of stuff do you love doing? I know you do a lot of trails, has it always been trail or do you do some road as well? Did it start on the road?
RM: No, I actually started on the road a couple of years ago, but then I hit the wall with road running. I was looking for something new to feel that passion again, so that’s when I started moving to trail running. I do mainly trail running.
BB: What is it about trail that you love?
RM: I really enjoy being out there and being by myself or with a couple of friends, looking at nature and admiring all the good things that you hardly ever see on the road. It’s a different world, it’s beautiful and there’s so much space for one to find themselves. Learn more about nature and their surroundings.
BB: It’s amazing you talk about the beauty, we are so lucky to live where we do, we are truly blessed. I don’t think we realise how lucky we are here in South Africa, we’ve got some amazing places and amazing spaces to run in.
Great to see running enthusiasm amongst our scholars
BB: Rachel as far as the school goes, St Stithians College, from an athletic point of view, I remember myself as a kid growing up. I say we were forced to run, we used to run cross country, is it pretty much the same? The athletics programme, do a lot of the girls run at the school?
RM: Yes, they do, even though there will be other sports that are quite popular. Depending from year to year, there will be other sporting activities that will be more popular. But then at the girls college, yes, cross country is still one of the things that the girls enjoy doing.
BB: I’m taking that you’ve got a couple of good talented young girls at the school as well?
RM: Yes, we do. We do have lots of girls that are talented, gifted and they really like pushing the boundaries and doing different things. For me, that is what teaching is all about, it’s not just about academics. It’s about teaching young girls that they can push boundaries, they can do whatever they want. It’s holistic, they can attend and try new things.
BB: Absolutely. Rachel, your running endeavours, does that inspire the girls as well? Do they see what you’re doing and go, maybe we want to do that sometime?
RM: Yes, it does. I do have some of the trail races that I always invite my girls and they will do them with me. They get inspired in the sense that I always say, you guys are young and look at me, I’m a teacher. I’m able to run because they say I will never be able to run 5km, I would die if I had to run 5km.
But then they get that inspiration to say, oh, if my teacher can do it, I can also do it. It’s always lovely for me to have those conversations after the weekend and say hey, this is what I’ve done and all that. It creates that environment to say there is more out there, we can do whatever that you want to do.
BB: Rachel, it’s pretty important and we’ve got lots of parents that listen to this show, I’m a parent myself. I’ve seen it with my kids and I’m sure as an educator you probably see it too. More than most, you could probably, standing in front of a classroom, just by looking at the kids and their concentration span and that sort of thing, you could probably tell who the active kids are.
Exercise is vital for school kids
How important leading an active lifestyle is and not just sitting in front of screens the whole day. But actually getting out there in the fresh air. Like you say, when you started running, that stress relief from the academic side of things, physical activity for kids and particularly teenagers is so important isn’t it?
RM: It is highly important. I really recommend it. Fortunately, we even have things like walking, just be out there and release stress. Look at yourself, find yourself, physical activity is important. Especially because we always preach balance in school. So if there is anything that would bring a balance in life, it’s that you get from being out there and being physically active.
BB: And for some, including me, when I was at varsity I used to think balance was a crispy crème donut in each hand. That’s not the case when it comes to balance is it?
RM: Yes, you could say that.
BB: Rachel, as far as some of the things that you still want to achieve in the running space, what are some of your goals? Again, as an educator, I’m sure it’s important that you instil having goals on the learners that you teach but for you personally. what are some of your running goals?
Want to run as long as I can
RM: I do have my personal goals and the goals that I would like to achieve through others. I think trail running, especially in community and in youth, especially in Africans. In black communities, it’s still something new. So for me, if I can create awareness and have some development. Whereby learners get that exposure to say, there is so much that you can do around your environment.
Because I think being out there on the trails, it taught me to really love my environment. To care for my environment, to start cleaning up and looking at the things that I can change in my environment. That is one of the goals, to create that awareness to young minds. In terms of my personal goals, I want to be 60 or 80 and still be running. That’s one of the things that I would like to achieve.
BB: I think that’s a fantastic goal, I’m with you 100% on that one as well. I think that should be everyone’s goal. You don’t have to be running crazy distances, as long as you’re active and you’re getting out there as often as you can. I think that’s what’s really important isn’t it?
BB: Rachel as far as races and events that you’ve done so far, what’s been your favourite? What’s the event that you would advise people to really take a look at and get out and do?
RM: My favourite currently is Sky Running Series, I’ve done a couple of those and they’re quite different. They’re demanding, they’re taxing, it’s different. You find that you get to learn more about you and you challenge yourself. You surprise yourself.
As in what have I achieved, I didn’t know that I could do this much in my life. The South African Sky Running Series are the best for me right now. I have just completed one, I’ve completed three at this point. There’s three more to come and I think one of them that is coming soon. So I’m hoping to tackle all of them, if I can, I will see what the year brings.
BB: Brilliant. As far as training goes, how often do you train? What sort of distances do you run and how often?
RM: It depends on what I’m training for. I train according to the race that I’m preparing for. But on average, over seven days, I train for five days, two day’s rest. Obviously it’s a mixed type of training, trails, road and some other things in between. It’s initially days days a week.
BB: Fantastic. Rachel, thank you very much for your time here on Old Mutual Live today, much appreciated. Best of luck with your running endeavours and inspiring all those young ladies at St Stithians College as well. I’m sure you’re doing a great job with that. All the best, thanks for taking the time to chat to us today.
RM: Thank you so much Brad for the chat, thank you.