Seeing more while gaining knowledge – meet Marilize
01 January 1970
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Brad Brown: You’re listening to Old Mutual Live, great things start her, great things start now. It’s off to Hermanus we go to catch up with someone who took up the sport of running for an interesting reason, she ended up achieving her goal. So we’ll find out more about that in a moment, but it’s a great pleasure to welcome Marilize Raath onto the podcast. Marilize welcome, thank you for joining us.
Marilize Raath: Thank you.
BB: Marilize, I love that you were telling me the story about why you started running and I have to share that because I think it’s fantastic. You weren’t athletic as a kid growing up, you took up running late – I say late in life, you’re still young – but it’s only been a few years. Eight years or so that you started running. Why did you take up the sport of running?
MR: I was trying to show off to this guy that I liked and he’s now my husband and we started running because we wanted to see each other halfway in the roads and wherever.
BB: I love that, set the goal and work to achieve it, it’s fantastic.
MR: Yes, I got the guy, I got the ring.
BB: What a cool story, I absolutely love that. You guys obviously still run together today?
The best places to run around Hermanus
MR: Yes, that’s what we do, that’s our romantic getaway. Everyone has dinner dates and we’ve got trail running.
BB: I think that’s fantastic. Hermanus, a beautiful part of the country, you guys have got some incredible runs there. I say from a trail perspective but also, if you have to run on the road, Hermanus is not the ugliest of places to run in.
MR: Not at all, it’s perfect.
BB: Tell me a bit about the terrain that you love running around Hermanus, we’ll talk about some of the races and runs you’ve done, but close to home, what do you love doing?
MR: We’ve got a great valley run that goes up into the Hemel en Aarde Valley, which is a lot of forest-type of running. Then we’ve got Fernkloof, which is mountain running. I love mountain running, mountain running is my thing.
My husband is more into the Helen en Aarde Valley trail running. We’ve got both of those. Then obviously we’ve got the coastal parts and you can run on the beach. You kind of have a lot of options, but I’m definitely more into the mountain running.
BB: Trail as far as roads, sometimes road is just more convenient. Do you find that’s the case as well for you guys?
MR: Yes, I think during the week it’s just convenient to train on the road because you can quickly do it before work and then weekends you can plan adventures. We’ve got Grabouw here, we’ve all the other places that are so close to us that we can just plan getaways and ride out for the day and just go run there as well.
BB: Let us in on some secrets, people listen to this podcast from all over, not just South Africa, but around the world. Hermanus is a great holiday destination and some people might be planning their holidays right now. Give us some insider tips of great places to run, almost that the tourists don’t know. That it’s only the locals that know about it, let us in on that secret.
MR: I can’t let you in on secrets. I’m just kidding. If you go into Fernkloof, there are endless trail running routes there. If you go into Hemel en Aarde as well, it’s just amazing. We often look at peaks in Hermanus and we’re like, we still haven’t even gotten to that peak yet.
There are so many trails and there’s so many mountains that don’t have trails, but you can just go bundu-bashing and find trails, so that makes it exciting. You’ve got the options of trails, but you also have the option of just going off-road and just getting lost in the mountain.
Going through a Trail Lab
BB: I think that’s fantastic. Marilize, one thing that you guys have done too. I want to find out more about it, cause we actually spoke to him on a previous episode of Old Mutual Live, was Jack Davis’ Trail Labs. You’ve been on a couple of those workshop labs, so to speak, tell us a little bit about your experience.
MR: It’s just so amazing. We went to the Lesotho one and then to the Drakensberg one and we’re going to the Grootvadersbosch one in Swellendam now. It’s so amazing, it’s just so convenient, it’s awesome to be around like-minded people. Just running in the trails and getting tips, it’s honestly, you don’t get something like that. It’s everything you want in one little package, it’s amazing. Michelle and Jack, they just spoil you.
BB: Let’s talk about the decision to go to the first one, obviously you went on the first one and you really enjoyed it and that’s why you’ve gone back for more. But the decision and runners are funny creatures where we look at something like that and go, oh, why do we need to pay for something like that. I can go and do it on my own. What was your though process that convinced you to actually go for it?
MR: Again, my husband and I made a pre-pregnancy Bucket List where we wanted to run in certain places before we start planning kids and Lesotho was one of them. Coming from Hermanus and being living in CT my whole entire life, how do you just go to Lesotho and start running? I was just looking on the internet and then I just saw this ad for Trail Lab Lesotho.
Everything was included, it’s food, it’s helping you get from the airport to Lesotho, it’s kit, everything included into one package. It just makes it so convenient, you don’t have to worry about anything. You just pack your stuff, get on the plane or drive there and everything just happens. It’s just so convenient for me.
Key lessons I’ve taken out of Trail Labs
BB: I know they do workshops and technical skills and that sort of thing, what have you learnt out of these labs?
MR: As runners, we always read magazines where you read online and you get all these tips. But sometimes the tips don’t agree with the other guys tips, or whatever. So having Landie and Christiaan on the trail and obviously they’re the best trail runners ever; you just hang on every single tip they give you.
It’s just been amazing, like little things; where you used to burst up the little hills, they’d say no, save your energy or when you go downhill, make sure you use the rocks. Make sure you use this. So it’s just taking all the stuff that you’ve read and then hearing it from them. Just makes it so much more real because they’re using those tips and look at them, they just succeed every day, every time they go run.
BB: Has it improved your running?
MR: Definitely, definitely and not just the tips in the mountains, but also nutrition-wise. They’re so wise and so meticulous with everything that they do. That you just take everything they say. It’s a combination of everything.
BB: You talk about the like-minded people, Landie and Christiaan are amazing people, so is Jack, Michelle. But talk about the other people that were on the Labs with you. Have you forged friendships with them? People come from all over the show, have you stayed in touch?
MR: Michelle formed a little WhatsApp group from the Drakensberg one and so whenever someone is doing a race, you would put it on there. Everyone will congratulate you and ask you how you’re doing and how did the race go.
It’s crazy because it’s people that you would probably never have met just in life and it’s a lot of people from Jo’burg. So now you’re getting to build these friendships with people that just you connect with by this one thing. It’s just amazing, so yes, we’ve definitely formed friendships.
Bucket List events
BB: Let’s talk about that pre-pregnancy Bucket List that you’ve created, some of the runs –
MR: It’s growing! Every year I add something!
BB: Is that to avoid having babies or is that just because there’s so many cool races around?
MR: I’m going to say because of the races!
BB: Let’s talk about some of those races, what’s on the immediate horizon for you? We’re so lucky here in South Africa aren’t we?
MR: We are very spoilt, we’re really spoilt.
BB: What’s on the horizon, what have you got planned?
MR: I think two or three years ago, doing a three-day stage race was our one thing. So we’re doing Socks again this year. That’s one of the things that allowed the Bucket List to grow. Then the big thing that we’re training for is the Otter at the end of the year. We’re really excited to do that at the end of the year. I think that’s our big one that’s been on the list and we’re finally get to do it.
BB: Then looking beyond that? Dream races, what would you love to do, if I could wave my magic wand, I’m not saying I’ve got one. But if I could, what would you love to do?
MR: I don’t know if races would be my thing, I would love to just go run in Greece, just run around in Greece, I don’t know why. Just run around in Greece.
BB: It sounds awesome, swim on the beach and then run and then find another beach and run –
MR: Yes, and like those ancient buildings, that would be amazing.
BB: It does sound amazing. Marilize, thank you so much for your time today here on Old Mutual Live. Best of luck in the preparation for the Otter towards the end year. But everything else you’ve got planned as well and enjoy the next Trail Lab as well.
MR: Thank you so much.