While thousands of runners from around the world prepare for the 2022 Comrades Marathon on August 28, Werda Grunewald, will be turning her running efforts into something great for charity.
With two Comrades under her belt, 48-year-old mother of two Werda has pledged to run this year’s Comrades Marathon to raise funds for The Robin Hood Foundation. The Padfield Park resident who works for a software development house says her goal is to raise R1 000 for every kilometre she runs, which means a grand total of R90k if she completes the gruelling down run kicking off from Pietermaritzburg.
Having successfully completed her first two Comrades in 2017 and 2018, Werda has been able to put in some brilliant training in the wake of the pandemic that put a halt on the world’s oldest and biggest ultramarathon for two years running.
“I have not really stopped running since I started training for Comrades in 2020, even training in my garden during lockdown. But from January this year training intensified.”
She says she’s been warming up for race day with excitement not only for the challenge she has set herself, but also for the camaraderie the race offers both competitors and those who flock to the roadside to show their support.
“I have met the most beautiful people on the way. It’s amazing that when we are running, we are all equal. It doesn’t matter if you are a CEO or a security guard. We are all friends through our love for the sport.”
Werda’s decision to run for charity was spurred on by the recent KZN floods and her passion for getting involved and giving back to those communities that were worst affected by this historical natural disaster.
“My running partner for the 2017 Comrades lives in a community that was very badly hit by the floods and forced to live in their church. Having met the founder of The Robin Hood Foundation, Cindy Norcott more than 20 years ago through work, I reached out for help and the donations we received were amazing.”
Werda was so overwhelmed by the support of The Robin Hood Foundation that she made it her mission to get more involved as a means of giving back to them.
“I’d heard about the amazing transformational learnerships that Robin Hood and Knoop Academy undertook earlier in the year to upskill and empower men and women from previously disadvantaged communities to become self-sufficient members of society. I was also exposed to feedback from some of the learners on how it improved their lives, gave them back their dignity and the ability to provide for their families without depending on handouts. When I heard that the foundation was looking for funding for this project it was a no brainer. Everything just fell into place from there.”
With just days to go before the 95th Comrades Marathon, Werda says her spirits are high and she looks forward to being cheered on by her family, co-workers, friends and of course the Robin Hood Foundation as she takes to the road for this worthy cause.
Those who wish to track Werda’s progress on the day can download the Comrades App and search for Werda Grunewald. If you would like to support Werda in her fundraising efforts, you are welcome to contribute (any amount is appreciated), to the below account:Bank: Nedbank Limited, Account Name: The Robin Hood Foundation, Branch Code: 164826, Account Number: 1648160948, Reference: Comrades/Your name
Werda’s top tips for anyone considering doing their first Comrades next year
Comrades is a huge commitment. You will spend many hours on the road, so make sure you have time available to train.
Run with friends, it makes it a lot more fun and easier to keep the motivation going.
Listen to your body. There are many people out there giving good advice but it will not all work for you. Try things for yourself and see what fits.
Make sure you get proper nutrition. Your body takes a lot of strain with hours on the road, so treat your body with respect.
Be as consistent as possible with your training but rest when you feel you need it.
If you have an injury, rest, it will serve you better than running with an injury and making it worse.
Be safe on the road. Rather run in groups, and make sure you have lights and reflective gear when running in the dark.
Over training is as bad as under training, you don’t want to start Comrades tired.
Have fun, you are probably not going to win anyway so why not relax and enjoy the run.