It came from a broken place and become her solace. Running, for our CMIYC Leader Shahieda Thungo became her space to grow, motivate and inspire. We caught up with this superwoman to learn more about her running journey.
Why did you start running?
I started running to deal with depression and to get rid of the weight I picked up due to cortisone medication I was on after I completed my chemotherapy. One day the depression episode hit me and I just had to get out of the house immediately. It was easy to just walk out of the gate on the day and walk to an open field where I cried my heart out and screamed. I felt so much better afterwards. The crying became less and the walks become longer and faster. The walks turned into jogs and the rest is history. The solace I found in running was not to be found anywhere else I think. It needed an individual outlet and journey. Group training wasn’t gonna fix my head and heart.
Running connects the body and the mind. What were your happiest and most painful moments?
My happiest moments are the sweaty hugs I get from fellow runners after I have realised their dreams by delivering a bus on time at any race especially the big races such as Two Oceans and Comrades. My most painful moments are watching those runners coming in after the cutoff gun has gone off. Thinking of all the hard work they put into the training and on the day something goes wrong and they go home empty handed.
What do you think about as you run?
I think on how fortunate I am to have been awarded another opportunity at life, love and finding my passion.
How do you manage your passion for running and your work & (family) life?
I am blessed with a very independent teenager who gives her mommy free reign on living her dream. I cook in bulk over weekends and alternate the early mornings and afternoon runs. I go over the homework after a training session, but during tests and exams the running becomes less and I do long runs on weekends.
What do you do to motivate yourself?
I just look in the mirror and say to myself “you crazy you, you’ve got a bus to deliver and you look amazing!”
How do you prepare for a big race?
I visualise myself with the medal around my neck firstly and then work towards that goal. Weekends are for long runs and I try by all means to not miss any or at least get one in. I also do a lot of strength training, spinning, swimming (am not good at it, but I won’t drown) and aqua jogging.
Why did you become a CMIYC Leader?
I loved the ethos of running in numbers for safety that CMIYC is build one and also the idea that we are all strong woman. As well that there is power in numbers.
What do you love about being a CMIYC Leader?
My group of girls are my passion and they make it so worth it. They have grown in leaps and bounds. A few went from no running when they joined to completing their 1st 42km’s at Soweto Marathon last year as well as 50km at Om die Dam, Loskop and 56km at Two Oceans. A few are taking on Comrades next year.
What is your next big running goal?
I’m doing the ELB Washie 100 miler on the 27th July 2018 in East London. Hopefully the stars and I complete it in under 26hrs. I’m aiming for 25:59:59.
What impact does CMIYC have on you?
It has elevated my leadership skills not only in running but in life. It has taught me patience, calmness, tolerance, acceptance and I’m not judgmental anymore. My road rage has completely disappeared.
What is your favourite experience with CMIYC?
The sisterhood that is coming from everyone from all walks of life.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about running?
That you should be a certain body type to be able to run and that running is only for the fast runners.
What is the most valued lesson you have learned as a female runner?
I can pace just as good or even better than most male busdrivers. Ironically this was told to me by a number of male runners.
What advice would you give other women that want to start running?
Just start. It doesn’t matter what you look or feel like just start. It is the most amazing thing that you can do for yourself. This will be your thing!
Thank you Shahieda Thungo for sharing your running journey with us and for being such an inspiring CMIYC Leader!