My Running Life: Poppy Ntshongwana

37, Streak Runner, Entrepreneur & Former Radio DJ

Mike Finch |

5km for 100 days
(some covid therapy)

I needed a distance that didn’t make it easy to make up an excuse and not do it. I needed a challenge to get me out of the funk with all the Covid stuff going on. It takes me around 30 minutes every day so it’s achievable. Running gives me a chance to connect and give back to myself. During the first lockdown I found myself being obsessed with all the news around Covid so I know needed something else to focus on. It’s helped mitigate some of the fear. People have died in my world, people in my family so I needed to find a way to push through that and find your own personal journey. As I started to run my energy started to shift each day. It was calming and I was able to refocus on something else.

Products I’m Using Right Now
I generally love sports gear and my sports bra is vital because I need to feel supported up top when I’m running. I also prefer to wear leggings when I run… they’re just more comfortable and I prefer the way I look in them. I also usually wear a visor to keep my hair back but I don’t like to run in sunglasses.
/ adidas UltraBoost 21 R3599
2 / Apple Watch R5999
3 / adidas tights from R699

I usually get up at around 5am but I only run at 7 or 8am. It takes me a while to get going. I need to have my coffee and watch the news. I always wake up naturally… as soon as I hear the first bird, I’m awake!

What I Love To Eat
I’m very pedantic about food and I’m probably the most balanced I’ve ever been: Plenty of fruit and veg. But sometimes I’ll buckle to a packet of Oroes.

What Motivates Me to Run
I was in a rural area of the Eastern Cape and met this woman who would often wake up at 4am and do a three-hour run before starting her life at 7am. For many women running is a release.

The Playlist
I have a very eclectic playlist. Lots of upbeat stuff like dance and artists like Calviin Harris. My fav is Dua Lipa’s Electricity

5k or half?
I can maintain 5km a day without getting injured but my favourite race distance is the half marathon. I love the Two Oceans Half but I’ve also run the Cape Town Marathon. It’s also a beautiful race.

I hate when people call me an ‘influencer’. I prefer to make real connections with people and I’m not trying to chase likes and followers.
My running has changed during this last year: It’s now about what makes me happy rather than a race goal. The purpose of running has shifted. It’s helped me run out of the funk.
There is this weird social paradigm that black women must not be too skinny. A guy came up to me recently and said ‘hey, don’t get to skinny now!”. But black women are naturally voluptious and don’t lose that if they run. I honestly think that black women are designed fo running: We are physically built to run.

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