25 Aug, 2015

Addicted in SA


It began with “Luisa, we have great news for you,” the mail that informed me about my gap year placement in South Africa. So in August 2014 I came to Durbanville in the Cape and started to volunteer in a children’s home, and from the first day I enjoyed the time with the kids, but after a while I was looking for a physical challenge... – BY LOUISA ORTH

I missed the feeling of being absolutely exhausted after a rugby match or boxing session back in Germany. So I registered in the nearby gym, where I could be found on the treadmill. Starting with 2km, I was able to run 10km non-stop after two months, but after four months my improvement slowed down. I needed a goal to keep me motivated. That was when I met Jacques. He used to run the previous year, but lost it somehow, so we decided to meet for a short 5km run through town. We have run every week since, and then registered for parkrun, and eventually decided to train for a race, “just to try it out.” And so in November I finished the Edgemead 10km in a time of 57 minutes.

Hooked for life
From there my addiction grew. Just a few days after my first race I signed up for the Sanlam running club, and every weekend we are now participating in at least one race. Trail runs, road runs, orienteering… I tried everything, and half of my life is now about carbo-loading, speed training, magnesium and mindsets. It’s not just about finishing a race any more, because I am heading towards sub-44 for 10 kays, and in the 15km I have improved from 79 minutes in my first race to winning my age category prize in 71 minutes!

Now I am sure there was a reason why I got the project place in South Africa: To find my passion for running! It fulfils me incredibly to reach a goal that I have trained for, and to be part of a running community that shares the same ‘addiction’ is simply breathtaking. So even if I have to leave South Africa soon – with more running equipment and medals than anything else – I will never stop running!