MY COMRADES STORY BY NATASCHA VAN ZYL

“What got me to Comrades?

Years ago when I was younger I loved running and my dream was always to run the Comrades Marathon one day.

As you know one has to exercise and get mileage in your legs. And so I did, with the help of my husband and motivation of my children. Both my children were small and always riding on the back of the bakkie when hubby supported me, while training or doing races.

In 1992 I had a knee operation and was told no more running for you. I interviewed for a play and I got the role of one of David’s ladies in David & Goliath. At the end I thought that that would have to make up for my Comrades.

I ended up surviving cancer, and years later in 2017 my daughter passed away.  

It was very tough on me as we were very close; she was my daughter, my best friend and my everything.

Due to the cancer, I had picked up a lot of weight but when my daughter had passed away, I made a promise in her honour that I would change my life.

I started running again even though the doctors had said no more running for me. I really started to run well for my age and I was happy. Then came another setback – the same knee needed another operation. 

After that I started slowly walking/ running again. Even though Covid-19 and the lockdown had badly affected us, I ran at every opportunity I got and really earned some mileage on my legs.

So much so that I entered for the 21.1km in the Race the Comrades Legends virtual event and earned my medal which I still cherish to this day. This year, I again entered the 21.1km virtual event, the Comrades Centenary Hope Challenge and ran it in a better time than last year.

This is my Comrades Story in a nutshell. Running helps me to cope and enjoy life differently. It really is what we make of this life. I’m glad to say that both my grandchildren are very proud of me.”

The winner of this month’s Arnica Ice hamper is Natascha van Zyl.