Coach gives the Dream Chasers the green light for marathon on September 15

Fedhealth Dream Chasers are mentally and physically ready to go, says trainer

09 September 2019 - 10:43
Trainer Brendan McBirnie with Bonani Zuke ahead of the Sanlam Cape Town marathon on September 15.
Trainer Brendan McBirnie with Bonani Zuke ahead of the Sanlam Cape Town marathon on September 15.
Image: Supplied

Of the many things one would expect to find trainer Brendan McBirnie doing during the week of the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon – a race for which he has had a hand in training three of Fedhealth’s Dream Chasers – taking time off isn’t one of them.

But as D-Day approaches McBirnie, who with Marcel Viljoen, his business partner at Fitness From Africa, has been helping Dream Chasers Bonani Zuke, Nkine Letsela and Hengie McInnes get ready to realise their fitness dreams over the last three months, has decided to take time out.

A significant reason why he is so laidback is because he and Viljoen’s work is done: “They’re all mentally and physically ready to go. There’s no reason why any of them shouldn’t complete what they set out to do. They’re ready, they’re fit, they’re loving it, and with under a week to go, I’m looking forward to it.”

Hengie will be running in the 10km race, Nkine the 12km trail run, and Bonani will tackle the full marathon distance at the Cape Town Marathon on September 15.

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Hengie has gone from having an all-too intimate relationship with her couch to being a regular at the 11km time trials at her local club. Nkine has gone from shuffling on treadmills to conquering trail runs which initially made his body feel like it had been to “WWIII”,and Bonani may well gift herself with a marathon personal best on the day of her 40th birthday.

McBirnie said all three Dream Chasers involved in the campaign had been impressive in the improvements they had made since starting their programmes in mid-May.

“Bonani has been running but she bit off a huge chunk because 42km is not a joke, so she’s really set herself a hard target,” he said.

“Hengie’s gone from her couch to running 10km without running and walking, as her running app told her at the beginning, and Nkine had to realise running on a treadmill wasn’t enough to go out and run a trail race.

“The distances may be different but they still had big challenges ahead of them.”

If McBirnie is worried about whether one of the Dream Chasers can see her task through, it is Bonani: “She’s doing the 42km race, and while physically she’s the fittest she has ever been, anything can happen in a marathon on the day.”

That said, he is proud of the improvements they have done with Bonani, who unlike her fellow Dream Chasers had already run a marathon before, over the course of the programme. “Bonani fell into the typical South African mentality of training where she went out and ran every day, and that was it.

“She never varied her training but she’s been doing a lot of speed and track work with us, which has improved her speed. Obviously she wants to run a faster marathon. The speed work will help her average pace be faster, which means she should be able to cruise through a marathon, instead of struggling.”

By the sounds of it, the time for struggling for the Dream Chasers is over. It’s time to turn those fitness dreams into reality.

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

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This article was paid for by Fedhealth.