Tshepiso Papa

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Q. Who are you and what you do for a living? 

My name is Tshepiso Papa, a 41 year old mother of 2 (16 & 8). I am a management accountant at CSIR.

Q. How do you balance your exercise regime and your professional life? 

I usually workout / run in the afternoon. I’m lucky that our campus has challenging routes with the most beautiful views of Tshwane. I run at least 3 times a week, I also do step, shape, kick and bootcamp at Virgin Active with Hloni and Mbongeni. These classes help me maintain my endurance and strength.

Q. When and why did you start running? 

I actually started running by walk/run with Bryanston Parkrun (02 July 2016) where we were invited by our chikita Obakeng Tlhapane and never looked back. A month later did my 1st 10 km run with the Totalsports Women's race and January 2017 did my 1st 21 km with Dischem under 3 hours (I was super excited). Later in the year I did my 1st 42 km with Soweto Marathon (grueling but the atmosphere and the people of Soweto were motivating all the way). By then Comrades was on the cards.

Q. What motivates you to go out there, when you do not feel like it? 

Peace of mind. Most people that I run with will tell you I don’t talk much when I run. I use the time to curse, pray (mostly asking God to forgive me for cursing – ha haa) and motivate myself. I would say for me is about crossing the finish line, about pushing till the end. I have that hate love relationship with running and I absolutely love it – ha haaa… 

Q. What gives you the confidence to run in the streets?

The nature, the trees, the breeze, I love how God’s creation just gives all the tranquility to the body, mind and soul. My only fear is running by myself, the feeling of not being safe paralysis me. I can’t run without a group. 

Q. What was your best running experience? 

Comrades Marathon 2018 was my best. As much as I didn’t finish, the experience was awesomely amazing (it felt like a dream). I found myself so overwhelmed at the start that I cried. When I got cut off with less than 10km to finish (I broke down). You see, for me I went to Pietermaritzburg / Durban to bring it home. I was still feeling strong and crossing the finish line was the only thing on my mind. The weather was ideal and the atmosphere was so amazing (the spectators were the best, your name is just called all over). I shall be going back for my medal in 2020… 

Q. What was your worst running experience? 

I have never experienced blisters in my life. So Comrades 2018 will take both. After 70 km I had such an awful experience and then I understood what other runners have been complaining or rather experiencing. Oh – and losing my toe nails, I couldn’t wear my open toes shoes for a very long time…. My dream team Babsie G and Tshepiso K were my support and I remember seeing them at Moses Mabhida Stadium, I broke down and cried like a child… 

Q. How do you push through the pain? 

By constantly reminding myself to put one foot in front of the other. As we are not allowed to use any earphones I had to quickly adapt to managing my pain and anxiety by just telling the voice in my head that it I am getting closer to my target and knowing that crossing the line or beating the cut off time is the best feeling that always make me a winner. 

Q. What advice can you give somebody who wants to start running? 

Start by walking, take your time. Running is like a drug, you start doing it then you can’t stop. It’s painful, its peaceful and it beautiful. On the road you are your only competition. Remember that and I promise you, you will enjoy the journey.

Q. Which Social media sites are you on and how can one follow you? 

I’m on Instagram @tshepisopapa


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