x THE WMN : Shahieda Thungo

Monday, August 24, 2020

 As I am typing this, I am watching a short documentary called 'Lessons from Jeju'. Its produced by patagonia and its all about Freediving. If you dont know what free diving is, clink on this Link

Moving away from the water and back onto the streets. I feel so honoured every time I share Makhi's story. Have you ran with her?

Her bus is amazing, you will be having a very tough race and then Jiki jiki you are at the finish line. In 2016 I had the honour of sharing her story, which you can read here. If our lives were normal, I think we would have done the Old Eds race this morning. 


My name is Shahieda Thungo (affectionally known as Makhi in the running fraternity…not many runners knows my real name). Proudly 44 years young, Test Analyst at one of the big 4 banks, residing in the SOWEstern Townships. 

I’m an avid baker mommy who is passionate about running…long distance up to 161km …Yep I ran a 100 miler and finished the race in 25h30 minutes. 


This section is about your fitness journey, 

I got into running just by chance, it helped me to deal with post-traumatic stress and borderline depression. I actually was just a stroller, to get out of the house a bit to clear my head and well those strolls became waddles, those waddles became jogs and those jogs became runs and those runs became my life. 

Funny enough the name “Makhi” came from my spinning classes (my other love) at the gym. I used to say encourage the guys in the class by saying “woza Makhelwane” which means “Come my neighbour” and that carried over into running 

My best ever experience I have to say is pacing at a race and parking that bus on time. It does not matter the distance of the race, the gratitude of the runners are the same. The big races (Comrades and Two Oceans are more electrifying and exhilarating, I must say). The euphoria of Comrades especially is indescribable. It is the oldest Ultra marathon in the world, it’s about grit, endurance and sheer khutzpah to get through it. I drive the sub-finish bus at Comrades so basically it is the 12hr cut-off bus. If this bus is late than there is no medal. It is the most important bus on the day and everyone waits for it in bathed breath to arrive….so a grand entrance must happen. 

My worst experience in running is not being able to carry runners because they have nothing left to hang on to on race day and I unfortunately have to leave them behind. It breaks my heart every time 


I fit running into my life and not life into my running. If I don’t have the time ti train on a certain day, I just let it go and don’t try to catch up. 


This is the best gift given to me. Although I have to work twice as hard to make it, I take it with a stride. I teach my daughter as well. 

Unfortunately with societal, political, gender based violence, I am at a back foot and I am scared on the daily for myself and my daughter. I hope pray and work hard to fight these issues for making things better for my daughter 


Woman are the hardest working sports people. They have to juggle so much to achieve greatness. There inequalities in sports is so apparent. Sponsorships and salaries are not easily given to woman, even if they represent us at an international level, their salaries are by far not on par with our male counterparts 

ON COVID – 19 

I was at a race almost every weekend or a group run. That was the epitome of my weekends. My favourite races were cancelled and I had to change my training regime, due to the gyms being closed. I’ve found new ways of staying fit. Running in my yard in circles during level 5 and as the rules were relaxed it became easier.  


Corona has taught me that I can live without a few things. I will adopt this going forward. Spending time at home has strengthened my relationship with my family and elevated our love and respect for each other 

This section is about what you think our new normal will be after the Coronavirus. 


You are a queen, You are a queen . You are a queen . DO not let anyone tell you otherwise 

This section is for your special message for all women in South Africa, during women’s month. 

- Other interesting reads for women's month feature the below WMN -

Refilwe Mokgosi , A cyclist, runner and future iron man finisher from Johannesburg, South Africa


Ncumisa Pongoma , A vegan chartered accountant and fitness influencer from Johannesburg South Africa. 

Hasina Bharoochi , A teacher, mother and niqaabi runner from Johannesburg, South Africa. Who improved the condition of her autoimmune illness through consistent running and healthy eating.

Roseline Eyenike , a yoga teacher and my sole mate from Lagos, Nigeria. Who recently ran 45km unprovoked during covid-19 times as part of a charity drive.


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  1. The beautiful and ever energetic Makhi. We really thank God for blessing us with such a beautiful soul, sister, mother, aunt and just a whole VVIP human being. We really love you Makhi. Stay safe and God bless you.