Successful Beginning Runners Workshop

The Beginning Runners' Workshop during October to December 2013, with Gail Cornelius in the front and back fltr Riana Swart, Yolande Coetzer and Mimi Wixted

We promised that if they came to the field, stayed with the program for a short eight and a half weeks, they would be Runners. They came, they stayed, and now they run. In the Spring, Pieta Botes, owner of Xtreme Fitness in Gansbaai, and myself, a retired “older” American lady from De Kelders, got together and talked about what we could do to help the people in the area get a bit more fit and healthy.

I proposed to him that we sponsor a very gentle program that gets people moving without them having to invest much time or money. For the past 10 years, while teaching overseas, I had been a co-leader of the Beginning Runners’ Workshop. It is specifically designed for people who have never before tried to run, are unfit, or are trying to work some movement into their busy lives.

To participate, all one needs is a comfortable pair of running shoes, some loose-fitting clothing, and the desire to improve. On the first day 6 people signed up and it was a start. We met twice a week for less than 45 minutes each time. The participants were so skeptical that they would ever be able to run after struggling around the field for a few minutes, but each time we met, to their surprise, their running got easier, they went further and lasted longer. To graduate the program, the participants had to run 30 minutes without stopping, a seemingly impossible goal at the start - but on the last day, run it they did. The graduates earned a t-shirt from Xtreme Fitness, a celebratory meal at Janna’s Pancake House, and the joy that only comes from fulfilling a difficult goal.

We look forward to more people signing up for the next Workshop (to be announced). It’s open to anyone, 18 and older, who wants to make a change in her/his life.

Mimi Wixted