People

Kilometres of inspiration

Kilometres of inspiration

Lesley Vermeulen is more than an inspiration. This woman has managed to run 40 075 kilometres making her one of only 10 runners who ran around the world.

Lesley’s name will be written down in history alongside that of Neels Vermeulen, Kosie van Vuuren, Hanspeter Stebler, Ric Marini, Paul Selby, Frik du Preez, Des Robins, Dean McClealand and Sue Darroll.

Lesley is a surprise package. She is the first to admit that she is not an athlete and she does not even like the sport.

On Saturday, April 22 Lesley completed her 30th Loskop Marathon and on Saturday, April 27 she finished her goal of running ‘around the earth’.

Lesley takes us back a few years and said she started running partly to control my weight.

“I love all ‘illegal’ food. When I first started running I couldn’t buy ladies running clothes and had to get a dressmaker to make my running top for me.  Nowadays ladies sports clothes are awesome, in lots of different styles and colours.  I love it.”

On her first run she was so frightened she forced her then five-year old son to run with her.

“He couldn’t understand why mom had to walk so much.  I still walk a lot,” she owned up.

“I sometimes think that a woman is her own worst enemy. We always feel guilty for doing our own thing and not spending time with our children, husband and house, but running has allowed me to spend time with my children in different ways.  We went away for running weekends to different places and my children got to see South Africa at a young age.  When they were older they thanked me for showing them our country.”

Juggling running, work, being a mom and partner and managing all that life throws at you can be difficult. For Lesley however, running is a way of life.

“Running is who I am and if I didn’t run then none of those things would have happened in any case.  I would not have functioned properly.”

Over her 30 years of running; life happened.

“Divorce, deaths, children leave home and emigrate, grandchildren are born, but running has helped me cope with all the downs and celebrate the ups.  There is nothing like watching the sun come up while out running.  That is real proof that you are alive even on a bad run.”

30 Years of running is a lifetime and Lesley enjoyed every kilometre of this journey.

“I don’t regret it, I have seen the land, made lifelong friends and at the end of the day, I did manage to be able to eat hamburgers, chips and milkshakes and not roll around too much,” she said with a chuckle.

 

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