How it all started.
As a teenager I really wanted to be a good athlete. I was too scared in case I failed I really believe to be a winner is what if was all about nothing else mattered. How wrong can you be? My dad who was one of the top middle distance runners of his day he competed for his province and also played rugby for Griqualand West offered to coach me He was training the girls at the Convent where I went to school. I started out full of enthusiasm. I seemed to be getting nowhere fast. I told myself that if I did not have instant success I would never get there. I found excuses to give up I believe my dad was disappointed but he never forced me. I re started a few times but ended the same each time a failure. I was to be 37 before I tried again with six children a wonderful husband who supported me every inch of the long road to success.
Jesse and Allan two of my teenage sons were members of Johannesburg Harriers and Athletic Club. I realized I needed some form of exercise; I was a very unsure nervous type of person at the time. I started training with the two boys. W e used to go to the local golf club every afternoon. As a teenager I suffered three very unpleasant nervous break downs which all lasted three months that was including the convalescing I suffered my first break down at the age of twelve the 2nd I was 14 the 3rd I was 16.I had what is known as St vitus dance which affects your nervous system you loose control of the nervous system. I was unable to walk or talk or even use my finger to point at a glass of water. I was not even able to speak very well. As I got older things were no different. With six children a husband and a home to run I realized something had to be done. At the age of 37 I started with my new exercise programme, by going to the golf course with the boys slowly I realized I was getting fit my poor circulation seemed to be improving the chilblains I used to suffer every winter were no more and the black outs which were a regular occurrence for me was all of a sudden no more. Headaches, which used to be my constant companion, were getting less and less. I now decided I was ready for the Rand Daily Mail Big Walk the Rand Daily Mail was a daily newspaper in Johannesburg. The big walk 80.k, s from the Rand Daily Mail Head Office in Johannesburg to the Brakpan City Hall and back. My first year was a complete disaster after 35k.s. I had had enough the following year I tried again, and completed the distance in 9 ½ hours a new record for the distance. I then became one of the top walkers in the Republic. In 1965 I ran the Comrades Marathon the only woman in the race. I was forced to run unofficially it was a very unpleasant day there were a thousand times on that road I just wanted to give in and a thousand time I knew I had to keep going. That was when I first recognized the power of the mind and realized for the first time in my life that what I am is what I chose to be From walking I went to Cross Country then to ultra distances on the road. I now looked forward to a positive future with exciting goals and challenges.
I now realised everything is obtained by degrees, I discovered by my own experience how all challenges can be successfully concluded, it is simply by moving forward one step at a time. How glad I am that I have taken a few steps. In that direction how ever hard it may have seemed at the time. What has the open road done for me? It has opened my mind and heart to the hidden reaches of a hidden existence. I am sure there have been times when you to have pondered the meaning of life., and have come to the conclusion that it must be more than just a daily routine. Yes it is it is what I can best describe as the challenge of self-discovery. Which to my mind is the greatest challenge to face any man or woman, and it is also the most difficult. The granduer of scenery of the country road often prompts me to reach down into the deeper levels of my being and there to experience a depth of thought I never knew existed.. It sometimes only takes a misty morning or the warmth of the sun on my back to make that contact. It is the beauty of being a part of ones environment that does it It puts one in tune with creation then one knows what perfect harmony is all about. When this happens those are the thoughts you don’t forget or the moments for which you are deeply grateful. This is when you experience the taste of real freedom like a bird set free from a cage like Jonathan Livingston Seagull.