Nandipa Mafongosi

Thursday, March 05, 2020

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

I’m Nandipa Mafongosi, born in Qweqwe village in Mthatha.
I’m a doctor a, Paediatrician. 

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

Its quite hard as the hours that we work are unpredictable and often we work on weekends and public holidays. So I opt to exercise at 5am most days. So that I’m ready for work and to drop off my daughter at school. We often joke and. Call ourselves “ team 5am”. In winter I run in the afternoons or opt for gym indoors.

If I go away for work,I carry my training gear. The beauty about running is that you can run almost anywhere. I believe in this quote “wherever you go, carry your running shoes with you”

Q. When and why did you start running?

I started running in 2012. This was initially to lose weight after having my daughter. I could not even run 800m without feeling dead. A friend invited me to a 5km fun run. I was convinced I’m dying. It was the longest form of torture and fatigue. Got to the finish line and was given a medal. I was so excited and immediately signed up for another 5km run to get a medal. And then that’s where the madness started. Next thing I saw myself doing a 10km race,then 15km and and. Now I’ve done over 40 marathons including 4x comrades and 5x two oceans ultra marathons. I can officially say I’m an addict 😂

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

Running is way beyond weight loss. It’s healthy living,it’s a lifestyle. It’s my drug, it’s my therapy. If I feel down or mentally exhausted. I go for a short run and it’s amazing how great I’ll feel after. Endorphins that are released give me a high. It’s called runners high. 

Also, if I have a race coming up, that also keeps me motivated to train. It’s painful to do a race untrained. So I prefer to put in the work, and have an enjoyable race day experience. 

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

I’m generally a person who doesn’t mind being seen by people at my weakest. I focus a lot on me and my small milestones. Initially when I started running I would walk a lot even few meters coz I was very unfit. Plus sometimes people make comments about your weight , walking instead of running or what you’re wearing but I don’t get bothered I just ignore and continue. I am also lucky because I run a lot with people. From friends or colleagues, family members and even people who we meet through running. Some friends will even accompany me for safety reasons especially when it’s dark and we’re training for comrades. So I’m very fortunate to be surrounded by such support. It makes the long runs and cold mornings more bearable.

Q. What was your best running experience?

My first marathon, Cape Town marathon in 2013. I was so well prepared by my Cape Town running friends and when I crossed that finish line,I was elated. This meant a lot to me. I had qualified for comrades marathon. My finish line pics. 

My second best running experience was finishing comrades marathon. It was such an emotional experience. I even wiped my face off the sweat to make sure I look ok for my finish line pics.. It’s amazing what the body achieves when the mind believes. 

Q. What was your worst running experience?

Getting lost in Alexandria trail run while it was getting dark.
Getting sick at comrades marathon 2015 and having to call off my race in favor of my health. 

Q. How do you push through the pain?

As an endurance runner I’ve learnt to accept that pain is inevitable. You just need learn to manage the pain in your mind and block it. Once you master that,then estate enjoying running. I’m often called a happy runner as I usually smile and talk a LOT during runs. Best way to shift/distract the pain . 

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

Start small and build up. Have targets or goals. Celebrate every milestone,no matter how small. If you fall off the wagon, dust yourself up and try again. And excuses in the bin. 

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

Facebook : Nandipa Mafongosi 
Instagram: @nandimafongosi


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