Taking over road running

Annie Bothma sprints towards the finish to win and defend her title of the Totalsport Womens race at the weekend.

The road to her first Cape Town Marathon is fast approaching for 23-year-old Sea Point long-distance runner.

Annie Bothma has been dominating the field in shorter races.

Her latest win came at the weekend in the Totalsport Women’s race, where she shattered the field, finishing the 10km race in 34min52sec. She was close to three minutes ahead of her closest competitor, Zintle Xiniwe in second place.

The win meant she got to defend the title she won last year.

She now feels she is ready to take on a much longer route and the Cape Town Marathon is a good place start to put her fitness to the test.

The Nedbank runner trains in Stellenbosch and her coach/mentor, Bennie Stander feels his athlete is on her way to dominating road running.

Last year’s Cape Town Marathon winner, Helalia Johannes, set a new record for the race in a time of 2hr29min28sec. This year’s race will take place on Sunday September 15.

Because of a back injury, Bothma only started running in the middle of this year but it didn’t take long before she rediscovered the form which last year saw her win the Winelands half marathon, coming second in the Gun Run half marathon and setting the fastest 15km in South Africa with 52min37sec.

About the Cape Town Marathon, Bothma says she has been working with track coach, Garth Dorman, to improve on her speed.

“I have been doing weekly track sessions, these have really helped to get my speed up. My long runs have also been longer and faster than ever before.

“I am fortunate to have my brother on the bike next to me on my long runs on the weekends. To me training for the marathon has been one of the most rewarding experiences ever and I look forward to finding out what I can do on the day,” she says.

She does most of her training in Cape Town but usually travels to Stellenbosch and Franschhoek to do long trail runs between the mountains.

“I am a coach myself and have learned to listen to my body over the years of running, so I do a big majority of my programme myself, but I have two amazing coaches helping me with the fine tuning,” she says, referring to Stander and Dorman.

“They also play a big role in my mental preparation and have given me amazing support throughout my training.

Her love for running comes from the freedom she felt when she started as a young girl which also made her feel strong and happy.

She felt road running was the best way to truly express herself and the unity she has observed in races, which made her want to keep going.

“Road running unites people from everywhere, it’s for everyone and not just for the elite runners. Anyone who dares to take a step forward can participate and become healthier, fitter and stronger.”

However, Bothma’s passion for running does not end there and she wants to be an Olympic runner one day as she feels representing the country in the biggest sporting event would be the pinnacle of her running career.

Bothma is a master personal trainer, certified through the International Sports Science Association and also runs her own running coaching business.

“When not running I coach and train others.

“I want to share my passion and use it to give back to a sport that has given me so much.”