My friends who knew me back at school are still surprised every time I hit the road for a run or race. I was the overweight kid at school who bunked PT, begged my mom to write letters to get me out of sporting events, and would rather queue at the tuckshop than ever queue at the start of a running race.But that’s the thing about running – once you find it and fall in love with it and what it gives you, it’s hard to give up, and from that first jog-walk around the block, it’s been a journey of many kilometres, some blisters, and lots of amazing moments.

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Now, 11 Comrades and 13 Two Oceans Ultra finishes later, my body is not only different, but my mind is changed too, and I know how to work to finish something that I started, something that I wasn’t really good with at school.

When people ask me why I run, I tell them it’s because it makes me feel good, physically and emotionally, and there’s that proverbial high that comes from running – and finishing. It can be very social, and solitary and introspective too, and it’s amazing to work towards a goal, and have it fulfilled.

When I had my first child in 2009, I was determined to get back on the road soon after the birth, and eight weeks after my C-section, I was running a 32km. Eight months later, in a quest to not miss another year in trying to achieve my green number (a permanent number that’s awarded after running 10 Comrades) I ran Comrades. I used to train in the mornings, and then try to balance my days with work and spending time with my baby. It was fairly manageable to juggle everything because I wanted to run so badly and because I was so motivated to not put a brake on my running life and goals.

Seven years later, with a new baby, the return to running has been a lot slower, and I’m “only” running half marathons. My recovery from the birth was slower too, and my priorities have shifted a bit, as I want to spend more time with my family and without the pressure of training and long-distance races. I plan to run a marathon by the end of the year and I suspect I’ll be aiming for the start lines of Two Oceans and Comrades next year. I can’t imagine watching the races on TV for another year – it’s hard to be on the sidelines, plus I’d love to get my double green and double blue numbers for Comrades and Two Oceans respectively.

Keep Going Tanya!