Female athletes get fitness tips for Soweto Marathon

Female athletes from different parts of the country attend a yoga session at Klipspruit Sports Centre in Soweto in preparation for the Soweto Marathon to be held on November 3. / Veli Nhlapo
Female athletes from different parts of the country attend a yoga session at Klipspruit Sports Centre in Soweto in preparation for the Soweto Marathon to be held on November 3. / Veli Nhlapo

Road runners have been urged to shift their focus to stretching their bodies and mixing up their training regimen ahead of marathons.

This is advice given to female athletes who will participate in the Soweto Marathon on November 3.

A free fitness session and wellness talk for the female athletes was hosted at the Klipspruit Sports Centre in Soweto on Saturday by the Soweto Marathon Trust with the purpose of touching on emotional and physical well-being.

Nomabhucwa Matiwane, 31, who attended the session and is gearing up for her second race, said she found the workshop necessary as it also gave her an opportunity to hear about other aspects of running, including stretching.

She said most runners pay little attention to stretching their muscles before hitting the road.

"Aside from what was taught to us today, I really enjoyed being among other runners and get a perspective about how they prepare for marathons," Matiwane said.

"I am looking forward to the upcoming one because I ran it last year."

Khethiwe Mlangeni, PopUpGym co-founder, which has partnered with the Soweto Marathon, said they wanted to ensure that women runners would be able to get better insight into how to take care of their bodies in the run-up to the big race.

"We have talks about the sort of apparel which they need to wear while training. We have nutritional talks and like today, we had a fitness instructor who focused on yoga and the importance of stretching," Mlangeni said.

Refilwe Marumo, the managing director at Mighty Comms, which also partnered with Soweto Marathon, said it was important for the event organisers to shift their focus towards empowering women road runners.

"It is important to have these events leading up to the marathon because it gives women an opportunity to get into shape in a fun kind of way. Women wear a lot of hats and neglect their own wellbeing in the process of taking care of their families. This provides them with easier ways of creating a balance with having fun and staying fit," she said.

Meanwhile, Soweto Marathon Trust co-ordinator Steven Khanyile told Sowetan accommodation for up to 600 athletes will be provided in the form of a runner's village at Orlando West High School (Matseke). He said organisers realised that some athletes slept under trees and in passages at FNB Stadium the night before the race due to not having accommodation.

"This is the third time we are having a village. We had villages on two previous occasions at Morris Isaacson High School, in 2017 and 2018. We want to rotate the villages around places that are historically rich so that the athletes have something to be in awe of as well," Khanyile said.

He said athletes have to indicate that they will need assistance from the organisers in a form they filled out during registration. He thanked Old Mutual, Sowetan and Jonsson Workwear for their support.

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