How nappy duty drove Fedhealth Dream Chaser Nkine to trail running

Follow the three-month fitness journeys of Fedhealth's Dream Chasers

16 July 2019 - 07:09
'The thing is, trail running is more hectic than normal marathon running,' says Nkine Letsela, who will be running the 12km event in September.
'The thing is, trail running is more hectic than normal marathon running,' says Nkine Letsela, who will be running the 12km event in September.
Image: Supplied

The inspiration that got Nkine Letsela on the path to joining Fedhealth’s Dream Chasers campaign came from an unlikely place.

Having become a new parent with fiancée Phetheni, Nkine was elbows-deep in a tutorial about changing nappies when it hit him that parenthood would be a more physical pursuit than he’d anticipated.

“It all began last year. I’d been watching a lot of tutorials on new parents, changing nappies and all of that, and it was a lot of carrying around, and I just wanted the strength to run around and carry my kids.”

Most might ask why anyone would need enhanced strength to deal with the negligible weight of a baby, but Nkine’s case is no ordinary one. Being the father of twin daughters Letlotlo and Lewatle has given the expression, double trouble, a whole new meaning for him.

And so, 10 months later, the 29-year-old finds himself training to run the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon as part of the Fedhealth Dream Chasers campaign to encourage its members to make their fitness dreams a reality.

Dream Chasers is SA’s hottest new reality web series, featuring the trials and tribulations of three everyday South Africans pursuing their fitness dreams by running the 10km race, the 12km trail run or the 42.2km distance. The contestants receive expert coaching, nutritional advice and gear to bolster their efforts. 

Not one to do things by half measures (if the twins are anything to go by), Nkine has chosen the uncharted territory of the gruelling trail run: “The thing is trail running is more hectic than normal marathon running.

“I wanted something more challenging. I’m treadmill fit, but that’s not a good way to measure my fitness or endurance. With trail running you run on mountains, rocks and stuff. It requires more mental resilience, stamina, strength, body muscle and all of that.”

Having taken part in a few 8km trail runs, the event is apparently living up to Nkine’s expectations. “I’m finding it very challenging. After races I feel all beaten up, like I’ve gone through some kind of World War III. It normally takes me up to a week to recover and get back into it.”

Thankfully, Nkine, an account executive at a financial firm, has his fiancée there to help him in more ways than one – they actually train together on some of their runs because she, too, has big goals of her own to attain.

“She runs with me, even though she kind of slows me down,” says Nkine, tongue-in-cheek. “She’s been running 20km races for about two to three years, and she’s registered to do the 42.4km race at Sanlam Cape Town Marathon on September 15.”

Vanity is another motivator for Nkine. The couple’s anniversary is on October 5, and Nkine thought it would be nice to get a six-pack going to “be as good-looking as I can” on the day.

“I’m working on the six-pack, but it’s not a priority at the moment. As long as I can shed some weight, be healthy and have a good cardiovascular system. We’re planning a getaway to a beach somewhere, so it would be nice to be able to take my shirt off!”

A former junior representative of rugby teams the Blue Bulls and the Cheetahs, he says his training incorporates morning runs of at least 6km and super-circuit evening sessions at the gym, with one track session a week and, hopefully, a race during weekends.

Missed last week’s Dream Chasers episode? Watch it below.

Follow the Dream Chasers' 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.