Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 127, February 2020 - Page 15

but once I left school I did not have the support, advice and option to carry on,” she says. It was actually through firefighting that her running passion was fired up again, thanks to the influence of a work colleague who had completed the Comrades and Two Oceans many times. “He started to give me advice and guidance on running when I joined the Fire Department in 2003. This was the first time I was able to get proper direction in my running,” says Enie. “Running gave me strength and encouragement, and today it remains my quiet time, my ‘me time,’ but because of my shift work, I have to get up early to train.” While running fitness plays an important role in her work, Enie has also enjoyed quite some success in her road running career. Her steady improvement through the years saw her run her first Comrades in 2011, crossing the line in 10:02:33, and just the next year she brought her time down to 8:29:05 for a first Bill Rowan medal. After missing the 2013 Comrades due to work commitments, Enie was back in 2014 (8:18:34) and 2015 (8:14:24), but the first signs of her true potential came in 2016, when she missed the silver cut off by just six minutes, coming home in 7:36:25. With a few smaller Joburg race victories to her name, she lined up in the Johnson Crane Marathon in January 2017, alongside several women with Comrades gold medals to their names, and emerged the surprise winner of the race. After that year’s Comrades, her phone rang one morning, and to Enie’s great surprise, it was Ann Ashworth on the line, saying she was forming an elite women’s squad under the banner of Massmart, and wanted to know if Enie would like to be part of the team. “It was at that moment I knew God had answered my prayers,” says Enie. Comrades Glory With access to proper coaching under the guidance of Dave Coetzee, a structured running and racing Enie in firefighting gear plan, and expert nutritional advice, Enie rapidly went from being just a good runner to regularly challenging for podium places at local races. She also went from a solid Bill Rowan medallist at Comrades, having clocked 8:34:03 in 2017, to earning that silver medal in 2018 – and she could have gone faster than 7:21:03 if not for a few unplanned loo stops in the last third of the race due to some stomach problems. Comrades 2018 Even better, Enie was part of the Team Massmart quartet that ran off with the elite women’s team prize in that 2018 Comrades, having been led home by Ann winning the race, followed by Mia Morrison (17 th ), Enie (18 th ) and Nandi Zaloumis (20 th ) – and all four ran PBs on the day. That was followed by the Isavel Roche-Kelly medal in 2019, which came after Enie began training with Mark Wolff, and while Team Massmart had to settle for second in the women’s team competition, it was still another great day out for the young team. Enie highlights the role that good coaching, nutritional advice and training support played in her running transformation, as well as the change in mindset and drive that comes from being part of a professional running set-up. “Joining Team Massmart motivated me, and to be in an elite team has changed my running completely. It’s been a great experience and an inspiration for me to be part of this team.” International Debut In January this year, Enie had her first taste of international competition when she and Massmart team mates Lizzy Babili Ramadimetja and Melinda Jansen van Vuuren lined up for the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon. Enie crossed the line 16 th in 2:56:24, and says she was a little disappointed with her run. “It was amazing to run there, but I did not get the time I wanted, because of a minor injury I picked up the week before the race. I really wanted to break 2:50, but that injury did not help.” “It was an incredible experience – everything is so clean and the race is so incredibly well organised – so I wouldn’t mind going back, but it is expensive. The exchange rate is five to one, and food is not cheap, but I would definitely like to go back. I would also like to run New York, Abu Dhabi, Berlin or Amsterdam one day. I have to say that Massmart helped me substantially to make this trip possible. Without them it would have been difficult.” But now it is back to South African racing, and Enie says she is really fired up to go after that Comrades gold in June. Few would bet against her achieving her dream, given that the dedication and discipline she has already shown to overcome the challenges of being a single mom and juggling long, demanding work hours. Finishing 18 th at Comrades 2018 15