Nkine is ready for anything - except for the first 2km of the trail run

Watch SA’s hottest reality web series about three everyday South Africans who are pursuing their fitness goals

26 August 2019 - 08:59
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'Diesel engine' Nkine Letsela is ready for anything.
'Diesel engine' Nkine Letsela is ready for anything.
Image: Supplied

With his trail run in the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon fast approaching, Fedhealth Dream Chaser Nkine Letsela is ready for anything – except the first 2km of the 12km run.

When he began his quest to conquer an unfamiliar event (the 12km trail run) two months ago, he says his body felt like it had been through WWIII. But now Nkine has mastered just about everything that’s been thrown at him – except his diesel-engine starts.

“The worst thing about running for me is the first 2km. It takes a while for my body and mind to warm up and condition itself for the run. When I look at my stats the first 2km are normally the slowest,” says Nkine.

The good thing about the layout of the trail run at the Cape Town Marathon is that the first 2km will be run on the road, the next eight on the trail and the final two on the road again. The September 15 run marks the culmination of Fedhealth’s inaugural Dream Chasers campaign, where three of its health scheme members are encouraged to make their fitness dreams become a reality.

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Slow starts aside, the 29-year-old account executive (at a financial firm) is as ready as can be for his race. “I’m absolutely ready, I think I can do it tomorrow. I’m fit for it, I’ve developed the strength and technicalities side of it, so I’m confident.”

Ironically, Nkine got his confidence back after recovering from a cold about a month ago, where after a week easing himself back into the running routine he smashed his personal best time of around 30 minutes for a 5km park run by a whole minute.

“It was almost as if I hadn’t stopped. Considering that I was coming off the bench that was an incredible improvement. I’m not even stressed about the marathon day now, my runs are fun and now it’s all about the maintenance while I wait it out until the race.”

For all that confidence, though, the interesting thing about Nkine’s progress is that he has yet to complete a full 12km trail run, having only run 8km versions of it in his practice runs.

“I was actually thinking about that on one of my runs. I thought, the first two and last 2km of the race in Cape Town are road, which means the middle is 8km. I’ve completed entire 8km trail runs, but I haven’t done the full 12km so technically I’ve done 'the race’ on trail. So I think I’ll be alright.”

Nkine says being involved in the campaign has transformed his life from a fitness point of view: “When I started I felt I had to do it for my health and to try to stay fit. But now I’ve developed a love for running and it’s become a part of my life.

“I enjoy doing it and I can’t wait to get out there and do it, and when I don’t run it’s like I haven’t begun my day the right way. The highlight of my journey has been the transformation from not knowing anything about trail running to loving doing it.

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

Missed the previous Dream Chasers episodes? Watch them now.

This article was paid for by Fedhealth.

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