Why you should join the Global Run Day initiative

South Africa has produced its fair share of world-class runners, including Zola Budd, Caster Simenya, Sonja Laxton and Wayde van Niekerk.

The image and reputation of the sport has changed over the years.

Running is in the spotlight this week with Global Running Day celebrated on Wednesday.

Park runs are now a phenomenon and having a treadmill at home is more common than going to the gym.

Social media has also sped up the popularity of running, with people sharing their achievements on their timeline. Just search the hashtag #LoveRunning

Professor Ross Tucker from the Sports Scientist said there were real health benefits from exercise which came from the body’s physiological response to stress.

For running, that stress is cardiovascular and “whole-body”, so we’re talking heart, lungs, blood vessels and it is metabolic, on how the body uses energy.

What that means is that the primary benefits are mainly for your heart health and energy health.

There’s also the benefit of weight loss and reduced body fat.

Running also has other benefits – because it’s an impact activity, it loads the skeleton and joints, so the risk of osteoporosis decreases. There is a benefit to general well-being, just being fitter and being able to walk up a flight of stairs or a hill.

We spoke to some of South African influences and runners to find why they started running and what their running essentials are: 

Musician Gcina Nkula is an avid runner, something that goes hand in hand with his love for sport.

110850914 - Why you should join the Global Run Day initiative
Running improves general well-being – there’s now good evidence that mental health improves.

Why did you start running?

“I’ve always been a sporty person as I played rugby and cricket in high school. But I got into running via a boys trip to Two Oceans Marathon last year and I’ve been hooked ever since.”

Why are you still running? 

“Running constantly challenges me mentally and physically and because of my competitive nature I am always looking to improve my times and physical condition.”

What are your running essentials? 

“Good/comfortable pair of running shoes, compression socks and comfortable running tights.”

Cricket Presenter and Radio DJ Poppy Ntshongwana has been running since a young age and has built up her strength over the years.

110850918 - Why you should join the Global Run Day initiative
Running improves general well-being – there’s now good evidence that mental health improves.

Why did you start running? 

“I’ve always been a runner since I was in school. It’s been a constant in my life for a while and it’s how I make sense of my world. It’s my therapy and it’s a great release for me.” 

Why are you still running? 

“I run to push myself, to surprise myself and to connect with myself and other people. There are so many life lessons in sport and in running that you can apply to your life, and that’s why I continue to run. To see where else my running can take me physically, emotionally and mentally. It’s a great way to tap into your potential.” 

What are your running essentials? 

“Good running shoes and a winning attitude.”

What races to look out for: 


Spar women’s 10km : 23 June 2019

Mandela Day Marathon : 19 July 

Cape Town 

Cape Town Festival Of Running, 100km Ultra, 5 x 5km Relay, 21km : 20 and 21 July 2019

Totalsports Women’s Race, 10km:  9 August 2019

Sanlam Cape Town Marathon 2019 42km: 15 September 2019


Joburg 10K City Run: 4 September 2019

Soweto Marathon, 10km, 2km,42km: 3 November 2019

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