By Feige Lewin, Nutreats

At CN&CO, we’re passionate about what we do and that includes maintaining a healthy balance of activity, particularly in running. Our chief señor, Carel Nolte is a proud member of Born2Run Athletics and Comrades participant. With this in mind, we’re big supporters of the work Nutreats and their team do and to share in the passion of being healthy and active. Here is a piece by Feige Lewin (from Nutreats) on the reason why she runs…

I’ve been telling everyone around me that I “hate” running, that I am well and truly over it. That somewhere along the road from Durban to Pietermaritzburg [during the 2015 Comrades Marathon] a piece of my spirit [the piece that loved running] died.

I can actually pinpoint where that somewhere was. Around the 7 kilometre to go mark, after 80 kilometres run, as my clock struck 3pm. I had spent nine hours and thirty minutes running and this is the moment I should have been crossing the finish line. I had gotten a coach, trained for it diligently, had not skipped a session and even managed to avert the inevitable flu-sick season that strikes the majority of runners in the intense lead up to the race. What went wrong? Maybe I just wasn’t built to be a runner.

Despite the despondency and reflection, five months later I still continue to wake up at 4am, lace up my shoes and go for a run five times a week. I continue to follow a program, making sure I get in the right mix of endurance, speed and recovery runs. This past Sunday I even ran 32km. Absurd.

My amazing running club Born2Run Athletics (who miraculously haven’t banned me from their club or committee despite me starting every meeting with a story about how I hate running) hosted a long training run and it was the kind of run that any proclamation other than ‘I love running’ would just be rude. They meticulously came up with a route that had clear instructions down to the kilometre point at each turn, arranged water/fuel points at every five kilometre mark that were so well stocked that passer byers thought they were a store and most phenomenally they waited – with genuine smiles on their faces – at every stop long after [like very long after] the speedsters of the group had gone passed for me [yes I was last]. I was unsurprisingly having a terrible run.

So you may ask; why the hell is this girl still running? Logic dictates that if and when you hate something, you should remove yourself from it, reassess and adjust accordingly. I like to think I am logical, but what happens when you can’t?

Four years ago I was just starting my journey into long distance running. I had just run my first marathon and had set myself some real lofty goals. I was going to keep going and bring down my marathon time [I finished my first in 5h49mins], I was going to run the Comrades Marathon [qualifying required a 4h59 marathon finish] and I was going to run the New York Marathon in 2015 [four years to the day of my first marathon] with my sister, who inspired me to start running in the first place. I was also going to start a company with her based on my new found love for fitness.

I started working on my goals. I committed myself to training and my love for running just kept growing. I was improving and signing up to more and more races.  In 2012 my sister and I launched that company – an online sports and health nutrition store and in 2013 I qualified for my first Comrades with a 4h28 marathon finish and finished the race. In 2014 I wanted to do it again and qualified with a 4hr12mins marathon finished, again I finished the race and again I wanted in.

2015 got serious – I decided to get a running coach so I could achieve a sub 4 hour marathon finish, committed myself to train harder than ever before, entered the Comrades marathon once again and most importantly, I entered the New York Marathon.

The New York marathon is an iconic race and a bucket list item on most runners’ lists but it is almost impossible to gain entry into. Being a goal oriented list checker, in order to achieve my dream I paired up with a charity called Building Bridges Worldwide and committed to raise funds for them.

The task seemed doable, after all this is something beautiful, it’s a charity that goes into disadvantaged communities around the world to build infrastructure like schools and clinics? Even more so when I found out that they would use the funds collected in this campaign to rebuild a clinic in Nepal that they had built in 2011 [Ironically around the time I was setting all my goals]. It was destroyed in the earthquakes that rocked the city earlier this year and being the involved charity they are – they don’t just give to a cause and walk away.

So I continued on my roadmap and ran my sub 4 hour qualifying marathon. I finished in 3hrs53min and even though it hurt so bad, it felt so good. And I lined up for Comrades on May 31 and finished the race once again but somehow managed to crush my spirit along the way. But this is life right? It ebbs and flows and people are allowed to feel down sometimes.

The truth is I don’t hate running.  Running has given me everything that I am today and for the first time in my running life I find myself committed to something that’s larger than myself.

I promised to do something that once seemed so easy but now seems like a mountain. I have to run that marathon, all 42.2 kilometres of it [and the 100’s of kilometres in training preceding it] and not just because I told myself I would. I HAVE TO because by extension I promised a community of people who have less than me and everyone around me, that I’d help them rebuild a clinic that they relied on.

How about we make a deal – I promise to tackle every kilometre ahead of me in training and during the race with love and purpose and you promise to click this link and be one of the 275 people I am committed to finding who will want to do something bigger than themselves too and donate $10 to the people of Nepal? Easy.