Race to the finish line: Meet 3 ordinary South Africans who are chasing their fitness dreams

Follow the three-month fitness journeys of Fedhealth Dream Chasers

02 July 2019 - 10:01
Fedhealth Dream Chasers Hengie McInnes, Nkine Letsela and Bonani Zuke have 10 weeks to train for the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon. It takes place on September 15 2019.
Fedhealth Dream Chasers Hengie McInnes, Nkine Letsela and Bonani Zuke have 10 weeks to train for the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon. It takes place on September 15 2019.
Image: Courtesy www.capetownmarathon.com

The easiest way to test your determination to make a change in your life, especially a physical one, is to do it in winter.

In bracing cold and in sunlight that’s in short supply, three ordinary South Africans, Hengie McInnes, Nkine Letsela and Bonani Zuke have begun training to achieve their fitness dreams.

Watch the video | Meet the Fedhealth Dream Chasers

In celebration of Fedhealth’s second year of participation in the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon, the scheme offered its members free entry into the marathon and introduced the Dream Chasers campaign.

The campaign is aimed at encouraging and inspiring Fedhealth members to make their fitness dreams a reality by entering to win one of three slots to compete in either the 12km trail run, 10km race or marathon taking place on the weekend of September 14 and 15 2019.

The ambitions of the competition winners (and Fedhealth members) range from the rags-to-health-riches story of a self-confessed couch potato (Hengie) to doing it as an example for their kids as part of the health responsibilities of caring for a family (Nkine).

Following an overwhelming response to the call for entry, Marcia Knoetze from East London, Loyiso Jamani from Cape Town and Kamohelo Matsabisa from Port Elizabeth were also chosen to compete. Marcia and Loyiso will be running in the 10km race and Kamohelo will be competing in the 12km trail run.

Their journeys can be followed on this page.

Timeslive will be following and featuring Hengie, Nkine and Bonani's progress on its platforms. 

For Bonani, it's all about a milestone “birthday gift to myself over 42.2km”. Chosen to tackle the 42.2km marathon event, she turns 40 on September 15 and will attempt to drop her maiden voyage marathon time of just over six hours to about five-and-a-half hours.

Hengie has opted for the 10km peace run/walk, while Nkine will take part in the 12km peace trail run.

To achieve their goals, the three will each get a personalised, three-month expert coaching programme from Marcel Viljoen and Brendan McBirnie of Fitness From Africa, with Andrea du Plessis helping them with their nutrition.

They’ll also get a free entry into the event of their choice, flights to Cape Town and accommodation; custom-fitted Asics shoes valued at R2,000, and Fedhealth-sponsored running gear. 

McBirnie said they’d already got some intel on the Dream Chasers’ levels, met with them and conducted a couple of track sessions twice a week at Fourways High School in Johannesburg.

Hengie is at a real novice level where at the moment she’s completing a three-kilometre run by running for two minutes and walking for another three, etc.

“Each of them have different goals, but we can adapt their training to that,” said McBirnie. “We have 10 weeks left to get there, so there are time constraints. But the big thing is to get them to the starting line fit – you want to push them, but not push them too far.”

Follow their individual progress by keeping an eye on the following channels: Fedhealth on Facebook and Twitter; Timeslive on Facebook and Twitter; and the hashtags #Fedhealth #DreamChasers

This article was paid for by Fedhealth.