Thato Botha

Friday, August 08, 2014

Part 3 of "the women" series and it is miss Thato Botha. She is pretty and polite and petite, I do not think she is actually capable of gaining any weight. Just a note,  in my head the interviews with these ladies happen at indie coffee spots where they play bon iver and London Grammar at a mellow volume. In reality, I email them and they reply and then only do I post to blogger. So as I am typing this you can just imagine how loud my keyboard is in the library.

Q. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do for a living?

A.  Although Johannesburg is where I’ve lived for over 20 years; Bloemfontein is where I call home. That’s where I was born, attended boarding school until matric and where most of my family and relatives still reside. I am in the Built Environment Industry and I am passionate about infrastructure and economic development. This passion has informed my decision to go back to school and complete a Master’s Degree at Erasmus University in the Netherlands where I will be specialising in Urban Infrastructure and Finance.

Q. How do you balance your exercise regime and your professional life?
A.  Currently working for a private consulting firm, we are constantly under pressure to meet deadlines and work long hours. I therefore opt to run in the evenings after work. It's however especially difficult in the winter when it gets darker quickly. In this instance I usually schedule my runs earlier.

Q. What does your weekly fitness regime consist of?
A.  I strive for balance so Mondays and Wednesdays are my spinning days at the gym. Tuesdays and Thursdays are dedicated to running time trials with two respective running clubs i.e. Pirates Club in Emmerentia and the Wanderers Club in Illovo. Weekends I try my outmost to run small distance races which I look up on several running websites such as SA Active( & Runners World( Races are always a great way to play catch up on fitness and to monitor personal improvements.

Q. When and why did you start running?

A. Being physically active was embedded in me from a young age. It is something I adopted from primary school and have carried with me to adulthood. Running I must admit however was completely unintentional. When Nike SA first introduced the Run Jozi in 2011, a friend persuaded me to register. The race was a 10km night run through the CBD & even though initially intimidated by the prospect of running 10K's; I completed the race and found the experience exhilarating. Although gym is rather convenient especially to a demanding lifestyle, it can become redundant. What I have come to appreciate about running is the added advantage of being outdoors and the fact that you get away with eating more and staying lean (in moderation of course). 

Q. What motivates you to go out there, when you do not feel like it?
A. I will be honest and say the biggest challenge in the beginning was discipline. To get past this I decided to commit to a few running clubs where I met like-minded people and this helped keep me motivated. These days I don't need much encouragement, running is now a huge part of my lifestyle and I often find it therapeutic. 

Q. What is the longest distance you have run?
A.  I have yet to build up the courage to run a full marathon! 21km's is the longest distance. Give me time I am working on it.

Q. What do you love about running?
A. Apart from the health benefits, I enjoy setting goals for myself and reaching those milestones. At the end of the day running is a mental game. There is a great sense of accomplishment with running.

Q. What do you hate about running?
A.  I have a love/ hate relationship with running. Everything I hate about it is also everything I love about it. A good example would be the post-race-day aches and pains. I love to hate them.

Q. What gives you the confidence to run in the streets?
A.  You quickly get over the inferiority complex. Besides, people are generally very polite and sometimes cheer you on. LOL

Q. How do you think running can empower women?
A.  Women start running for countless reasons; to lose weight, for fitness and some purely for competitive running. Whatever the reason, I think the most empowering thing is setting yourself a goal and working on it. Goal accomplishment is a great skill to have in general.

Q. What would you like to achieve in the future in terms of running?
A.  I only ever want to improve on my personal best. What I want to achieve consistently is better fitness and time results.

Q. How do you envision the future of running?
A. Running is definitely gaining popularity because it costs you nothing but your time and commitment.

Q. What do you think about the lack of exercise among the youth?
A.  It is truly unfortunate that kids nowadays lead a more inactive lifestyle; I believe that kids need to be kids and play outside more. Parents and schools have the strongest influence and therefore the responsibility starts with them. Sadly, the consequences of childhood obesity are a serious risk to lifelong health problems.

Q. What was your best running experience?
A.  My first race ever. It boosted my confidence.

Q. What was your worst running experience?
A.  Anytime there’s an uphill!

Q. How do you push through the pain?
A.  Pain comes and goes, the trick is to keep it moving no matter what. I know it’s better said than done but the skill improves with time.

Q. What is your favourite shoe to run in?
A.  Nike Free.

Q. What can you not run without?
A.  Wrist-watch to keep record of my time and reflective gear at night time for safety.

Q. What advice can you give somebody who wants to start running?
A.  Baby steps! Start by finding a group of running buddies or a club to get you into the habit. Second to this, I would say work towards a goal and sign up for an upcoming race even if it’s a 5K. The first race does wonders for the confidence and quickly sets in those runners’ endorphins that get you hooked to the sport.

Q. Which Social media sites are you on and how can one follow you?
A.  Instagram: missthatob

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