WMN ON A MISSION
Meet Nontu Mgabhi. A Salomon athlete, World Marathon Challenger and all round incredible human being.
Q&A WITH NONTU:
Words you live by?
“Be Your Authentic Empowered Self.”
Why do you run?
“I run to feel The Joy of Being. To connect with my soul and with the universe. I run to see things in a different light (a beautiful and bright light).”
How did your running journey begin?
“My running journey began with a Walk. A friend of mine in 2013 she invited me to participate in the 10km East Coast Big Walk. It was sensible to say No because I had never walked even 4km for fun. She however managed to convince me. Needless to say, this decision transformed my life and connected me to my Life Purpose. It’s amazing how just One Decision can Change Your Life.”
Some of the thoughts that went through your head during the 7 Marathons challenge – positive and negative?
“I have to admit, most thoughts were positive as my World Marathon Challenge was fuelled by the 657 adorable yet underprivileged Khiphinkunzi Primary School children between the age of 5 – 15 years. My decision to run the 7 marathons went beyond becoming the First African female to run 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 consecutive days – but it was more about activating the Dreams and Hopes of so many children who feel forgotten, not counted and who might have lost hope because of their current circumstances (poverty and any form of exclusion from the basic necessities of life). I myself come from the rural village of Mseleni, I know exactly what’s like to not have a decent primary school education – where the school infrastructure is falling apart and where you do not have educational resources to excel in your studies. It was easy for me to identify with the needs of the children, I saw myself reflected in them. This was enough to push me during tough marathons like the Antarctica and the South America (Brazil, Fortaleza) Marathon. The conditions were truly tough on these two continents. In Antarctica we experienced -25 degrees and had to negotiate very strong gale winds. In Fortaleza we ran midday in extremely hot weather conditions (36 degrees). It was a true test of resilience and grit. Of course when you embark on these gruelling challenges, you don’t set your eyes on them because they are doable, but because they are character building, they are tough and near impossible. Before and during the run of course doubts did set in and the temptation to give up. You look at the “mountain” ahead and start doubting your readiness and capabilities. I had to dig deep within myself to find strength to move forward and the courage to endure pain. Perhaps these doubts are healthy because they make you respect the process and appreciate how privileged you are to get to do what you do. But it’s about moving forward, to be in motion – that is all you have to do; keep moving. Australia Marathon (Perth) and Europe (Spain, Madrid) were truly my favourites. Australia was fast and flat, loved the feeling of “flying”. Madrid marathon was ran on a Formula 1 Racetrack – wow, how incredible? Unforgettable experience!”
Do you have any words for those reading this on the current COVID-19 situation and lockdown?
“The times we find ourselves in are truly unprecedented. It’s always great to know though; you are not alone. We are in this TOGETHER.
We cannot wish this time away. We cannot resist it. Resisting and trying to control everything and everyone’s behavior can only create suffering for ourselves. We have to accept this moment as is; accept it as though we have chosen it. I love the words from William Shakespeare on No Fear Shakespeare: Hamlet Act 2, Scene 2. He said; “There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” This moment is exactly that - it’s not good, it’s not bad - it’s just a circumstance we find ourselves in. It needs no commentary, interpretation or thinking. It needs Acceptance. With acceptance comes Peace and Power. Go with the flow and be open to exploring opportunities that accompany every circumstance. Make the best of the situation. You might never be lockdown ever in your whole life - therefore this moment/time is special (it’s a gift that you might never receive again). Embrace it. Appreciate this enforced downtime. When do you ever have time like this? Trust me, you will miss it when you go back to the fast pace speed of the “real” world. Enjoy your time inside!
For runners this may entail reading books about running, developing your core through strength exercise. If you have a swimming pool at home, perhaps learn or improve your swimming skills. Catch up on sleep and mind what you nourish your body with.
Not all is lost - in fact nothing is lost. Remember; We Are One with the Universe. Right now the universe is renewing all its nature - including me and you. We will come out of this Healthy, Happy and Humbled. Learn to appreciate the little things such as sunshine and flower blossoming. Learn to differentiate between needs and wants. I am sure when we return to the world - some of the things we could not leave without prior the lockdown will not matter anymore. We have learned, we can get by with less - Less is more.”