A Legendary Comrade

Absa’s Running Communicator

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What is your background and how did you get involved in the communication/marketing industry?
My background is a mix of journalism, advertising and marketing. Most of my career I spent in the advertising industry; I was one of the owners and shareholders of a Johannesburg-based advertising agency called HerdBuoys. We started in 1991 and sold the agency in 2005 before I joined Absa as Chief Marketing and Communications Officer in 2006.


Why are you so passionate about your career?
Although this industry can be quite stressful, it is the kind of thing I enjoy; it makes me tick and gets me out of bed every morning.


How did you get into running?
I only started running about five years ago. As a youngster I played soccer and as I got older, I went to gym. About five years ago a friend said I should try and run races. At first I thought ‘oh my goodness,’ but then I gave it a try. My first race was the Pick n Pay Half Marathon: I was so dizzy and disorientated at the finish, but the running bug had bitten. With running, other things come into play, such as the discipline that goes with it.


Describe a typical day in your life.
I’m usually out of bed between 4am and 4:45. I usually run for an hour or 90 minutes, depending on what I am training for. I belong to a running club in Diepkloof but live in Hyde Park, so I train on my own. After my run I drop my daughter at school and I’m usually in the office by 7:30. Some days can end at 7:30pm. As communications officer, I sometimes need to deal with media queries urgently at anytime of the day, so I need to be available evenings and on weekends. I work in a fast paced environment – in the banking industry anything can go wrong at anytime and one needs to react swiftly. One thing is for sure, it is not a boring job!


How do you fit running into your busy life?
The only way is to run first thing in the morning!


What do you see as the biggest obstacle to your running?
I travel quite a bit, which can take me out of my normal training regime, but whenever possible I take my running shoes with me and run wherever I am. I love to run in Cape Town.


What is your greatest moment in running?
I don’t think it is a specific race, rather a moment when you get into a rhythm and you get to 30km and still feel good and strong.


Do you regularly run road races?
I follow a training regime that requires I run certain races. I have done four marathons so far. This year was my second Two Oceans and it will be my first Comrades! Everything has been going well so far. I would love to finish Comrades in sub-11 hours.


Has running influenced your career and work ethic?
It certainly is a big contributor towards my discipline. Resilience comes in many forms and I believe if you can handle the mental challenges that you face when running, it surely has to prepare you to handle hurdles in the workplace.


Why do you enjoy running so much?
Running is a tough thing to do. Sometimes you suffer through a run, but when you have conquered it and look back at what you put your body through, you feel proud. I can also see the health benefits of running, especially as I have problems with cholesterol and blood pressure.


What is the best and worst advice you have been given with regards to running?
The best advice is to use Vaseline to prevent chafing and the worst advice is that you should just keep on training without too much rest.


What is the first thing you like to do after a morning run?
After training runs I don’t have much time, but after races I always take a sip of champagne with the guys at the club.


What could you not go running without?
Definitely my anti-cramp tablets!


What are your future running goals after Comrades?
I would love to do an international marathon such as New York, London or the Great Wall of China.


What would you say to someone who says that they don’t have time to exercise?
They should take another look at their waistline! You can make time for anything in the world if you really want to. Think about it, what do you do between 4am and 6am in the morning?

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