Ten runners from ten different countries around the world just completed running 420 kilometres over ten days, from London to Paris.
Johannesburg, South Africa – Wonder if a child growing up on the foothills of Kei Mouth, Eastern Cape, ever dreamt of running from London all the way to Paris? 10 Marathons in 10 Days… one of many reasons to be a Proudly South African!!!
Wandisile Nongodlwana and nine other runners from around the globe were running as one team and covering a marathon a day. Overall they ran around 420 km, meaning 10 marathons in 10 days.
This adventure combined two amazing aspects of a long stage run – the mental and physical challenge on one side and the cultural meeting of international runners exploring a new world.
The ten runners had to get to know each other and overcome the difficulties that lay ahead of them; navigating, fatigue, injury and the emotional rollercoaster of running the crazy distance but all ten of them crossed the finish line on Sunday the 13th of April!
The incredible South African grew up in a small village about 40km outside of East London but held the country’s flag high while on the arduous journey.
But the passionate South African was never actually into running while he was growing up. It took some challenges and opportunities to get him to a point where he was confident enough to run all the way from London to Paris!
“I played soccer until Std 8. The only reason I ran then was that I could be part of the school trip. I was more into books.”
All Nongodlwana wanted to do was to go to school so that he could have a good job and look after his family. The dedicated scholar received a bursary and completed Computer Science and Applied Maths studies at Wits.
“I started working in 1998, and soon in 2000, I took all of my siblings to stay with me in Jhb so that they can go to a better school.”
He only started running when he was entered into corporate relays. On one of the runs, a team member was not at his change over point, and Nongodlwana had to run two legs which totalled 18km. That was when he found his passion for running.
Nongodlwana then became more interested in the sport after a friend dared him to run Comrades… and that was 13 years ago.
“My first Comrades time was 9h54 in 2008. I enjoyed the sport. I had to go for back to back, then at least five, and then 10. This year I am going for my twelfth one, and my twelfth Two Oceans.”
And now he has just completed over 420 kilometres in just ten days!
“I was super emotional at the end, partly because the weather (rain for most of the second half – fortunately our gear is the best); the distance and the overall anxiety of navigating. It was so heartening however to feel the support of the group during some dark moments out there. I learned that it was not just about finishing each day, but finishing each day safely and together as a group.
I know full well this is not just about me doing this for myself but everyone else on the team and everyone who is supporting me back home. The support has been amazing!”
Nongodlwana is thankful for his running journey and excited for the next chapter running for Murray and Roberts.
“The more I run, the more I learn a lot and enjoy it more. It has been and still is a humbling journey, and I am really grateful to God for the great opportunities that have come my way. Already with joining Murray and Roberts, I am on another level. I am really grateful.”