“My journey started when I made the decision to change my life for the better. I had struggled with weight issues for many years and it got worse after I left school and started with my studies.
I had no ambition to lose the weight and running never once crossed my mind. By 2003 I weighed my heaviest, 98kg (my ideal weight should be 63kg), and was in and out of the doctor’s room and hospital more than I liked to admit. The turning point for me was the moment the doctor told me I could be borderline diabetic and would need to be on medication for the rest of my life. It hit me hard.
I managed to shed some kilograms but the weight loss was never consistent and I struggled to stay motivated. I was almost back to where I started when I got engaged. My husband decided to buy a pair of running shoes and start running with me to help me lose the weight.
At this point I’d been trying to run at least 2km, but with many walk breaks. This really inspired me to get going as my husband had never been to a gym or run in his life; and now he was getting out of his comfort zone to help me. In a year, I had managed to lose 30kg and I looked amazing at my wedding.
The running didn’t stop there. What started as 2km runs, turned into 5km park-runs, then 10km races. Eventually we were running Two Oceans half marathons and a few marathons thereafter. The continuous running changed my outlook on nutrition and I managed to maintain my current weight of 65kg throughout.
I loved the feeling I got from running. It made me a better person inside and out and I kept pushing myself to do better in everything. It was always a dream of mine to run The Ultimate Human Race from the start of my running journey but year after year I never felt ready to tackle such a massive feat. In 2018, something inside me just snapped and my husband and signed up for our first Comrades Marathon. What were we doing?
In 2019 we lined up at the start line, and as Chariots of Fire blared through the speakers, I realized that I didn’t make it this far to let myself down. I knew I owed it to myself and to prove to others, the ones that had told me I was making a mistake, that I was stronger than I knew possible.
When I crossed that finish line in a time of 11hrs52min, I showed the world that day that nothing was impossible. That an overweight girl who thought that she would never amount to anything, just crossed that Comrades finish line and proved to herself that she was more than enough.
I worked hard to be there and when they handed me my medal I cried. I was so happy (even if my face and body didn’t show it). And now as I write this, I am training for my second Comrades Marathon and hope to achieve the same result and get my Back-to-Back medal. I am stronger than I ever thought possible.”
The winner of this month’s Arnica Ice hamper is Tara Da Silva.