Tuesday, 8 October 2013

My Running Roots

I don't come from a long line of runnerds: I didn't grow up in a family where weekends were spent at the side of the road cheering for a parent/grandparent/sibling doing road races; and we never planned our family holidays around races in foreign locations.  So where did my obsession with love for running come from?  I did a bit of investigating...

The first "active influence" in my life that immediately comes to mind, is my dad.  Although he wasn't ever head-over-heels in love with running per se (he never did any road races, except for one he and I did together in 2003), he has always loved keeping fit and being active and today, at 67, still looks like a man in his 50's.  Some of my favourite memories with my dad are those we spent running together: In primary school, up and down Naval Hill; in high school, battling the side stitches together; and in varsity, doing a 5 k fun run together.  Yip, my dad definitely planted the running seed.

Dad and me during a camping trip through Namibia.  Yes, we're silly like that.

Although I couldn't find any fellow running fanatics in the older generations of my family tree, I did come across some fantastic running stories:

My great-grandma on my mom's side (my mom's dad's mom), Martha (12/10/1900 - 25/10/1988), won a running race at a "boeresport" day (farmer's market and fun day) on the farm Gorab, in the Hardap Region of Namibia, when she was 16 years old (i.e. in 1916/17).  She received a beautiful set of white dinner plates as a prize, one of which still hangs against the walls of my parents' home to this day.  What a precious keepsake!    

Great-grandma Martha.

My other great-grandma on my mom's side, Alida (my mom's mom's mom), ran a sprinting race against her fellow old age home residents when she was in her 90's in Winburg, South Africa - and won!  With a twinkle in her eye she would always giggle about beating the "young ones" (i.e. her friends in their 70's and 80's...) when telling us about the race - love it!

My brother and me with Great-grandma Lida, many moons ago.

So even though I didn't come across any fellow runners in my family roots, I discovered some beautiful and precious running stories and memories.  And who knows, perhaps I'll even be the first one in a long line of little runnerds to come!

What are your running roots?  Do you come from a long line of runners, or are you the first one in your family?


  1. Those are some pretty amazing stories! I am always inspired when I see older runners...I am the first runner in my family too, but they do make some great supporters!

    1. I totally agree - nothing beats seeing those smiling faces cheering you on at the end of a race!


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