#RunningWoman Focus: Women's Month
This blog will be updated daily, throughout the month of August, with women who inspire us and the running community.
2 August 2016: Zola Budd
#RunningWoman Focus: In the early 1980's Zola Budd, just a teenager at the time, burst onto the middle distance running scene. Breaking record after record, this inspirational athlete was denied entry into the Olympics as a South African participant due to Apartheid ruling of the time.
Determined to reach her goal of competing at the Olympics, Zola applied for a British passport and went on to compete in what became a controversial 3000m event in the 1984 Olympic games. Now residing in the USA, Zola has since broken, and still holds, many other records and continues to run in major overseas events.
She has also participated in two OMTOM Ultras, including a 04:07:59 in 2014, making her the 11th woman overall.
3 August 2016: Caroline Wostmann
#RunningWoman Focus: No stranger to #OMTOM, Caroline Wostmann made her Ultra Marathon debut late in life.
An incredibe couple of years saw this almost unknown athlete win both the Comrades Marathon and the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon with an unsual run-walk strategy that saw her in good stead.
In 2016, we saw Caroline run incredible performances in both races again, only narrowly missing the win in the Comrades due to an unfortunate accident close to to the finish. A true inspiration.
4 August 2016 Focus: Phulula Twins
Today we recognise not just one inspirational #RunningWoman, but two. The Phalula twins, Lebo and Lebogang, are a formidable force who attribute their success to mutual respect, hard work and their shared passion for running.
After Lebo won the #OMTOM2014 #Half Marathon, her sister, Lebogang, went on to win the 2015 event. Claiming to be in sync since birth, these two are definitely inspirational women.
8 August 2016 Focus: Willemien Smuts
Willemien Smuts from Danhof, Bloemfontein – a member of the Pentagon Pistols Running Club – is no ordinary runner. In addition to being among the top 50 oldest participants of the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon, she is the oldest runner to participate in BOTH the Trail Run AND Half Marathon at Easter Weekend 2016. She is also the oldest runner to participate in the Trail Run.
Mrs Smuts turned 75 just a week after Race Day.
She has already completed 22 Old Mutual Two Oceans Ultra Marathons and she participated in her 4th Half Marathon this year.
10 August 2016 Focus: Elizabeth Robinson
As the games get into the swing of things, we cast our net further afield and celebrate another historical #RunningWoman.
Female athletics was first introduced to the games in 1928.
The very first female Olympic gold medal runner, USA sprinter, Elizabeth "Betty" Robinson. Only 16 at the time, Betty - oblivious to her incredible talent - ran her first official race just a few weeks before the 1928 games, before winning gold in the 100m sprint and silver in the 4x100m relay at the games!
11 August 2016 Focus: Caroline Peters
"The little victories from crossing finish lines was then almost evident in the rest of my life."
The release of her inspiring video early this year created a stir across or Social Media networks. Formlerly living a sedentry lifestyle, Caroline turned to running for her health. Enjoying it so much, she was one of the founding members of Nantes Running Club and continues to inspire and encourage female runners every day.
15 August 2016 Focus: Ans Botha
In light of Wayde van Niekerk's incredible record breaking performance, today we honour the #RunningWoman who played a pivotal role in his Olympic success.
Wayde's coach, 74-year-old Ans Botha has been coaching Van Niekerk since 2012 and is a former athlete herself. An unlikely pairing, but clearly a good one.
A former sprinter and long jumper, this great grandmother takes her coaching responsibility seriously. And it has clearly paid off! Congratulations, Tannie Ans, you are an epic woman.
Image Credit: dailymail.co.uk
16 August 2016 Focus: Juliet Francis
A few months ago we met cancer survivor, Juliet Francis, just as she was beginning her OMTOM journey. Hers was a tale that inspired many and taught us that you can overcome great odds to realise your dreams.
Going on to finish the Half Marathon in a time of 3:06:11. Relive her story.
19 August 2016 Focus: Rene Kalmer
Rene Kalmer is a South African multi-distance runner. She started competing as a junior and has tried her hand at cross-country, middle and long-distance running, competing on all three surfaces.
She has represented South Africa in 2 Olympic Games (2008 & 2012).
Rene has also won 3 OMTOM Half Marathons (2010, 2012 & 2013) with a best time of 1:12:39.