Ntombi Mngomezulu

Friday, June 12, 2015

“It’s not so much that I began to run but that I continued”

Its 4a.m and I up and getting ready for my first marathon ever. My knees are shaking; I am excited and scared as hell. All that is going through my mind is, ‘Am I being brave or just plain stupid right now?’ It’s been 2 months since I completed my 1st 21km. everyone around me says I am crazy and definitely won’t finish but there is that little voice inside of me that keeps on whispering “Ntombi, YOU are a CHAMPION! YOU CAN do this. It’s time to rise up and start breaking boundaries again”

And this is how my journey of strength, friendships, perseverance, craziness, stretching the human heart and faith beyond comprehension began.

I ran a bit in high school but was never really great or passionate about it. I went to an all-girls boarding school called Inanda Seminary where health and fitness were part of our core values. I had self-image issues, was overly weight conscious and only really exercised to feel ‘skinny’. It was from that place of brokenness and discomfort that my discipline and strong mental strength was birthed.

I entered one or two races at varsity. I ran in the mornings when I was doing my final year of Honours just to distress and that was it really. I moved to JHB mid-2013 and immediately signed up for gym. By this time I had grown to love exercise but was also fuelled by my obsession to not gain weight. Looking ‘hot’ was my life mission.

At work I was in an all-male team and all they ever spoke about was cycling or running. I felt left out. My competitive streak took a knock. So I set out on a mission to somewhat be at a level where I could engage with the gents. During this time, I also happened to be on a journey that has transformed my inner most being. I was learning how to acknowledge me; see me, hear me and to just love and accept all of who I was at that time. A much needed self-actualisation journey.

I started entering races and I loved it. I think I fell in love with the heartbeat of humanity on the road. It felt like I was part of something much bigger than self. I learnt how to dig deep into myself to reach the finish line. There was always someone who was willing to hold me by the hand and run with me when I felt like there was nothing left in me. I learnt how to really pray on the road, petitioning God to carry and get me to the finish line. I learnt how to believe in myself. I guess you could say that I fell in love with how my heart came alive on the road and all the bright colours of my heart were ignited. 

And of course there have been some races that have left me feeling “What the hell am I doing right now? I killed no one…my body doesn’t deserve this punishment. Why can’t I be like normal people, sit at home and watch T.V?! It’s often after the tough races that my heart is left undone, I am extremely proud of myself and am left convinced that runners are crazy suckers for pain.

I continue running because I have been badly bitten by the running bug. it’s a beautiful culture. An empowering inner journey. It stretches me more and differently with each race. I recently did my 1st two oceans ultra-marathon. In giving up a million and one times, I also learnt how to motivate and rebuild the warrior princess in me. I helped 3 people cross the finish line. That is by far one of my greatest achievements…Paying it forward. It’s a priceless feeling 

I believe that to be great you have to start somewhere. Begin by having the discipline to wake up, then walk around the block. The next week you run 1km a day. In a month, you are doing your first 5km and before you know it you are daring to do what was once incomprehensible. You just have to start and believe you can. One you get onto the road, there is a family of cheerleaders routing for you, willing to train with you and share their lifetime of road running experience. 

My next crazy run – Comrades Marathon in 2016

My dream race: New York Marathon

“She believed she could and so she did!”


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