Interview by Allister Arendse
Pic by Ben Bergh
Chief Executive Discovery Health
51, Parkview, Johannesburg
I ran 800m and 1500m in high school and fell in love with road running at university. I ran on and off through the years but when I turned 40, I started taking the sport more seriously. I have never run less than three times a week for the past 11 years.
At 40, I was a bit overweight and had high cholesterol – that was a huge wakeup call for me. Although I was always a runner, I scaled it up, shed a few kilos, changed my eating habits and have been running seriously ever since.
I love the feeling of being out on the road. I also enjoy the solitude, and the opportunity to listen to hours of audio books. Running is now my main reading time.
One of my most inspiring activities is to run with Discovery Health staff in races around the country. About 1 000 of our staff participated in races in Soweto, Cape Town and KZN in the past year.
Running keeps me fit and happy. I think it also keeps my wife and kids happy, as I become unbearable when I can’t run. I also love running with my kids. My son Josh and I trained for and ran the Soweto Marathon 10km together. I am now running with my 11-year-old daughter Katya as well. I hope to inspire them both to become committed runners one day.
I run several beautiful routes around the suburbs where I live – Parkview, Westcliff, Greenside and Emmarentia. There are many hills, beautiful trees and lovely old houses to look at along the way.
My very first marathon was the Cape Peninsula Marathon, so that is always a memorable one for me.
I’ve also been inspired by setting goals such as a particular marathon, or a specific time goal, and by the discipline of sticking to a training schedule and achieving tough goals. I have to travel quite a bit for work, and I love the fact that I can run anywhere. I have run in many strange and amazing places all over SA and the world.
While running I mainly listen to a wide variety of audio books, both fiction and non-fiction. When I am not listening, I find my mind wanders all over the place. I don’t think consistently about work or any other subject.
My best tip is always stick to your running plans. I commit to my running schedule each week, and never miss a run, unless I am really sick or injured, or there is a real work crisis. I would also say never give in to those moments of doubt just before you hit the road. I always just go for it, even if I am feeling reluctant. I am always happy in the end.
I would like to run with Paula Radcliffe. I admire her amazing athleticism, courage and determination.
I’m very much a morning person – for running and all other things.
My favourite piece of gear is my Polar watch and Asics shoes.
I listen to audio books most of the time. My favourite music right now is Florence and the Machine, and Laura Marling.
I think Assagi has consistently been one of Joburg’s best restaurants. I’m a fan of their fresh tomato pasta dishes. But my favourite place to eat is definitely at home. My wife is a great cook, and I am sadly deeply challenged in the culinary department.
I’m a closet techno-geek. I’m passionate about technology and what it can achieve in the world, and I think I’m surprisingly tech savvy considering I watched the SABC test pattern TV for many years in the 70s, and wrote all my university essays by hand.
I can’t live without coffee, my family, running, my iPod and iPad.
I am inspired and challenged every day by my work in Discovery Health, and I have the great privilege of working with an outstanding team of colleagues. My goals are to keep doing this job as well as I can, and to continue being as inspired and energised as I am at present. I don’t think anyone could ask for more from a career.