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Sassy, sporty & successful

Vanes-Mari du Toit has experienced a fair share of bullying. But she turned her biggest insecurities into her greatest strength. Becoming not only a brilliant professional netball player but TV presenter, sports commentator, motivational speaker and a current SPAR Women’s Virtual Challenge ambassador, she’s a role model many look up to. Literally. She’s 1.9 m tall!

Since school, and then as an avid sports athlete and coach, Vanes-Mari du Toit got exposed to a lot of types of bullying, on and off the sports field. She has been made fun of and humiliated for being very tall, speaking her mind, being loud, having a lazy eye, standing up for what is right and wearing a size 10 shoe. So she made it her mission to rise above her circumstances and embrace being different to others.

“Being different is your best attribute in this crazy world of ours. Why do we want to fit in so badly if we were born to stand out? God created us so perfectly and has an amazing plan for our lives, every single one of us has a purpose to fulfill on earth. Let’s love each other for our differences and respect each other’s purpose on earth.”

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A former international netball player, Vanes-Mari is still giving back to the sport. But this time sharing her knowledge with netball clinics and coaching. You’ll also catch her on SuperSport as a presenter and commentating netball matches. That’s not all. You’ve most probably seen this bubbly and quirky gal on kykNET’s Kwêla, where she’s a continuity presenter. And early next year she’ll grace the TV screen again on a brand new show on the lifestyle channel, VIA TV. And a little birdie told us, two more shows are coming she’ll be involved in …

As if she is not busy enough already, Vanes-Mari does a lot of events MCing, motivational speaking and hosting events. She is also the founder of Fitpocket, a range that will consist of bras with pockets, training pants with pockets, some cool socks, netball equipment as well as other activewear options. Talk about making the most of every opportunity! 

“I believe that the more you do, the more you get done. Yes, I’m well aware that because I want to do a lot, there’s a chance of failing. So accepting that the experience is enough without pre-empting the outcome, I take on challenges without worrying about failing. Somehow I accept and almost welcome failure. It is an opportunity to reassess, get out of your comfort zone and try to be better.”

A huge outdoor lover who loves to keep fit and in shape by hiking, walking and doing trial runs, Vanes-Mari is super excited for this year’s SPAR Women’s Virtual Challenge. And a huge fan of this years’ theme #IRise.

“Every single person is facing some or other challenge, struggle or obstacle. I’m inspired by people who face adversity and setbacks and had to step out of their comfort zone to adapt and rise above the challenge.Although Vanes-Mari has done a few of the 10km SPAR Women’s Challenges, this year will be her first virtual race.“I think it is really cool that women can do their distance on their own time and route. I’ve already invited a couple of women to join me and we’re planning to paint the Magalies area blue. Having loads of fun in nature … all for a good cause.”

Vanes-Mari is living life to the fullest. A great example that we only live once and might as well give it everything we’ve got. Go Vanes-Mari!

Did you know …

  • Vanes-Mari has a degree in BCom in Human Resource Management and honours in Industrial Psychology.
  • She doesn’t have pets due to her busy schedule, but has three plants, Bennie, Anna and Piet … and she has meaningful convo’s with them.
  • She made it into the semi-final round of Dancing with the Stars.
  • She could ride rollercoasters from a young age as she met the height requirements.
  • She doesn’t need a lazy Susan on the dinner table as her long arms can reach both ends.
  • She’s tried many times, but simply cannot watch scary movies. You’ll find her hiding under the duvet.
  • She will always have a lip balm with her.

Vanes-Mari’s five tips to rise above your disappointments:

  1. Accept and welcome failure as part of the journey. It is an opportunity to learn and grow.
  2. Know that this too shall pass.
  3. Keep on looking for the bigger picture.
  4. Focus on the outcome, good or bad, there’s still a lesson to be learned.
  5. Give praise to God in the good and the bad times.

Ten songs on her playlist while exercising:

  1. ACDC – Back in Black
  2. Def Leppard – Pour Some Sugar On Me
  3. Avicii – Without You
  4. Early B – Potte ft. Jack Parow, Justin Vega
  5. Florence + The Machine – Free
  6. Freddy Kalas – Jovial
  7. Shaun Jacobs – Love Can
  8. Sam Hunt – Body Like A Back Road
  9. P!NK – All I Know So Far
  10. Henry Ate – Just

#SPARVirtualChallenge
The 2022 SPAR Women’s Virtual Challenge has chosen the theme #IRise … reborn, re-energised, refreshed and refilled. They’re challenging you to rise above your challenges, struggles and obstacles that block your path. A virtual challenge is a fitness goal that tasks you to run, jog, or walk your own race, at your own pace. Anyone can participate and it can be completed at any location. Join in on Saturday, September 3, anytime between 6am and 6pm. You’ll need to enter (don’t waste time … entries are limited to 60 000), and your entry fee of R120 includes your Virtual Challenge pack, and for every entry, SPAR will donate a pack of sanitary pads to help keep a girl in school. The Virtual Challenge pack includes a beautiful T-shirt (T-shirt sizes are limited to specific regions and to inventory availability), a gorgeous matching buff, a drawstring bag, a printed copy of the My Virtual Challenge Magazine and your medal. Details and entries: sparvirtualchallenge.co.za

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