SPAR Women’s Challenge Tshwane ambassador Charné Bosman raced to an impressive sixth Comrades Marathon gold medal on Sunday winning her age-group category in the process.
Pretoria, South Africa – The 2016 Comrades champion produced another age-defying performance crossing the finish line in Pietermaritzburg in eighth place in an impressive time of six hours, 49 minutes and 39 seconds (6:49.39).
Compatriot Gerda Steyn won the women’s race in a new ‘up’ run record of 5:58.53 keeping the title in South African hands for a second consecutive year but Bosman highlighted her class and incredible longevity adding her sixth Comrades gold medal to her 50km Om Die Dam Ultra title from earlier this year.
The 43-year-old Bosman has been one of the longest-serving SPAR Women’s Challenge supporters winning the inaugural Pretoria race in 1997 and has only missed two races since. Bosman has come a long way since winning that race in 35 minutes to becoming one of the most recognisable figures in South African ultra-distance running.
“I have come to appreciate the truth in the saying “age is just a number”. I will be 44-years-old in November, and I am still running in the same races when I was half my age,” Bosman said.
“I don’t view my age as a hindrance or something that should be “overcome”. I look after my health and try to do all the right things. My drive comes from within – I am an athlete, and it is such a privilege to wake up each morning doing what I love best.”
This year’s official race theme “Yes I Am” encourages the women of Tshwane to embrace who they are as individuals and in the many roles they play, such as mothers, sisters or friends. Bosman is the personification of the theme by showcasing her talents even though the world’s perceptions may be about age and athletic performance.
“I live my life on the premise that everything I want to achieve is within my reach,” Bosman said.
“I want to tell women that nobody can take your dream away and that you must never let go of something so precious to you. Secondly, staying positive when the odds are stacked against you, is so important. “Sometimes, it is just easier to say that something was not meant to be: re-evaluate and find other ways to realise your dreams.”
Bosman said declaring “Yes I Am” was not only a way of emphasising a person’s worth but could also inspire others to claim their identity.
“There is something great in all of us, but sometimes we must help others to discover it in themselves,” Bosman said.
“Our uniqueness allows us to make a difference in the lives of our other fellow human beings. Don’t forget to say: #YesIAm someone that can make a difference.”
Bosman will line up at the SPAR Women’s Challenge Tshwane on August 3 at SuperSport Park, 22 years after she won it. She will join 25,000 women from all walks of life, and all levels of fitness in the 5km or 10km races.