Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 127, February 2020 - Page 8

KALMER’S CORNER Our Modern Athlete Brand Ambassador’s Blog By Rene Kalmer MY LOVE FOR RUNNING February is (officially) the last month of summer in the southern hemisphere (ugh), but luckily also the month of love, with Valentine’s day right around the corner… This had me thinking, “Why do I love running so much?” going on. Luckily my hubby and daughter realise that just like people waking up after that first cup of coffee in the morning, I’m a much better person, wife and mom after a run. Most mornings after my run, I find them both in our bed, still fast asleep and definitely not dreaming of running. It is also my time with God, where I can admire His creation, as most mornings I’m blessed with a spectacular sunrise. In Good Company I fell in love with running in 1990, after I finished my first 2km cross country race at the age of 9. It wasn’t head over heels love at first sight, though, as I didn’t win the race, or even make the podium... In fact I actually finished somewhere close to 40 th position. I did, however, love the feeling that I was able to push my body and complete a 2km race, whilst also contributing one or two points for the school team just by finishing the race. I also dearly loved the fact that my mom rewarded me and my brother, Herman, with a one-litre Coke for running so far! Reason Upon Reason Another reason to love running is because of its simplicity, and the fact that anyone can do it! You just need a good pair of running shoes and the courage to take the first step out of your front door to do it. It doesn’t matter what pace you run, or how far you go. It’s just you, your running shoes and the open road in front of you. At the same time, I also love the complexity that running has to offer. It’s not just one sport, but a dozen different pursuits, from running different distances to different terrains, from solo runs to group runs, pure relaxing runs and the competitive aspect that races brings into the equation. I love them all. What I love most about running, however, is the career that I’ve been privileged to get from the sport. The opportunities to travel the globe and to compete on the World Stage have been more than amazing, and this incredible sport has introduced me to some of my best friends around the world – and with the help of social media nowadays, we still keep in touch. I was very lucky to represent South Africa a couple of times at the Word Cross Country Championships, World Athletics Championships and Olympic Games, and I even tried my luck at the World Indoor Championships. It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears, but I wouldn’t change it for anything if I had to do it all over again. Last but definitely not least, I love running because runners simply are awesome people. Probably because we share the same kind of crazy routines, like getting up at 3am to do a race… Added to this, I’m very lucky to also call most of the elite runners my friends. On race day we will put friendship aside and push one another to squeeze the best performances out of each other, but after the race we will share a cool-down jog, with a good laugh about our race day war stories. In the end it doesn’t matter why you love running, or what motivates you to put on your running shoes... whether it’s for exercise, for friendship, for prize money, or for pure enjoyment. There will always be a new road to explore, another race to enter, or a new morning to enjoy a solo run in your neighbourhood while chasing that next sunrise. I also run for my sanity, because I love my family! As a wife and working mom, I enjoy the ‘me time’ every morning when I can get away from it all, to be with my thoughts and to reflect on everything else that’s 8 ISSUE 127 FEBRUARY 2020 / About the Author: René Kalmer is a two-time Olympian, having represented SA in the 1500m at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and in the marathon at the 2012 London Games. She has also won more than 40 SA titles in track, road and cross country at youth, junior and senior level, in distances from 800m to the half marathon. I also love “the burn” of a good track workout, where you know that you have left everything on the track, and where you can taste the blood in your throat. I know it sounds disgusting, but only a runner will understand. Running is the one activity that’s physically exhausting, but at the same time mentally and emotionally recharging.