RUN IT OFF CLUB: Moerieda Mackay

Penelope Cairns |

Running helped Moerieda to find her work-life balance. – By Lisa Nevitt


Age: 45
Home Town: Midrand
Height: 1.68m
Occupation: Head of Project Management and Process Transformation, African Bank
Time Required: 2 Years
Then: 92kg
Now: 64kg


After my third pregnancy, I was 22kg overweight. Juggling raising a young family and a demanding full-time job left me with no time to myself. Meanwhile, my husband had taken up running, and he seemed to be having so much fun doing races every weekend that, intrigued, I picked up his copy of Runner’s World. Before I started reading the magazine, I hadn’t thought there was much to the sport, besides putting on a pair of running shoes. But to my surprise, I enjoyed reading the inspiring stories of how running had changed the lives of ordinary people.

Looking at my own reflection in the mirror, I felt more depressed than inspired. So at the age of 39, I decided to stop looking at the elusive work-life balance that adorned the pages of Runner’s World, in favour of actually living it.


For nine months, I was the first to arrive at our local gym at 5am, hopping onto the elliptical trainer for 40 minutes a session. Combined with stricter controls on my diet, I lost 10kg. Then, I ‘promoted’ myself to the treadmill. It was tough at first, because I couldn’t even run for more than a minute. But with perseverance, I trained myself to run for two hours – on a treadmill! I lost another 10kg, and finished my first 5km and 10km fun runs.

RELATED: Kick-start your running career with the 28 Days: Zero To Runner


I’m now an accomplished ultra-runner, having finished three Comrades, the Two Oceans Ultra and the Ultra-Trail Cape Town, to name but a few. Right now, I’m training for the biggest challenge of my life: the Marathon Des Sables, which is a 254km, self-sufficient stage race through the Sahara Desert in Morocco. The Discovery Channel refers to it as ‘the toughest foot race on earth’.

Running has seriously transformed me – physically, mentally and spiritually. I’m the happiest, fittest, strongest and fastest I’ve been in my entire life. I’ve found that elusive balanced life, between family, work – and myself.

Inspired by Moerieda’s story? Join the club and start your weight-loss journey with the Run It Off Plan below. What are you waiting for?


Not sure where to start? Visit our beginners section for everything you need to know!

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