Elana Meyer is a running icon for many women. As an Olympic medalist, a multiple global record-holder and a world champion, she dominated South African athletics. Also internationally, Elana held world records at 15 km’s and the Half Marathon.
Today, Elana is a mother of two and Co-Founder of the Endurance Academy, a NPC that provides a complete sports management solution for endurance athletes.
1. When did you discover running for yourself?
My first love was gymnastics and was inspired by Nadia Comaneci performance at the 1976 Olympics when I was 9 year old . Coming from a small town that dream never got the wings to take off. So when they announced a FUN Run at our school I was drawn to it , more because of the word FUN, but fell in love with running immediately. I ran freely on our farm and loved it. I loved the fact that I could own it, I could explore, I could run as fast or long as I wanted . I felt free, happy and challenged.
2. What were your reasons to start running long distances and enter races?
Our school hosted a Fun Run and sounded attractive to me – I did pretty well and went on to run and win the Foot of Africa Half Marathon at the age of 13 in 1980.
3. How did you manage your passion for running and your work & family life?
Running is still a priority in my life – not to compete , but to run for all the good reasons there are. It still gives me loads of energy, keep me healthy, clear my head, make me breath fresh air and therefore I still try to fit it in as often as I can.
4. Which advice would you give women, who want to start running?
Remember that running only really get enjoyable when you are fit – so start at your own pace and gradually build it up till you can cover 45 – 60 min. You have to make it a priority in your live otherwise you will never have time to do it. Even if you have only 15 – 20 min available, get out and fit something active.
5. As an Olympic-medalist and repeat world record-holder, you were chasing medals for many years. Which emotions do you go through, running a big race?
For many years my goals and were to become the fastest women in the world over distance from 5000 m to the marathon and managed to break world records on 5 occasions, become a world champion and win an Olympic medal. It was really precious for me to achieve those ambitious goals. It takes a lot of commitment and hard work over many many years. When you achieve those goals you have a mix bag full of emotions – ranging from ecstatic, relieved, happy , thankful because many people supported me to achieve that and believed in me.
6. What is your favorite moment of your career so far?
In terms of running it certainly was to bring back the first Olympic medal for SA after 30 years of isolation because of Apartheid.
7. In 2013 you founded ENDUROCAD? What was the reason to create this great initiative?
SA has a lot of talent and through Endurocad we want to support and develop athletes to achieve their potential www.endurocad.co.za.
8. Who inspires you?
Every day still I get inspired by people who live their dreams, that work hard for what they believe in. I get inspired by people with a vision , people who are creative, and people who work hard to make the world a better place. I get inspired by people who go the extra mile and driven to achieve great things
9. What do you enjoy doing outside of running?
I love nature, walking on the beach, playin with the kids, climb a mountain, watch a movie.
10. What do you like about ‘Catch Me If You Can’?
I love the fact that more and more women discover the value of running and exercise and that there are a whole community of women that embraces running, women that find new friends, get empowered and just enjoy the beauty of a simple activity of running.