Runner appreciation: Nokkie shares how Rene, a fellow runner, changed her life

Runner appreciation: Nokkie shares how fellow runner Rene changed her life Nokkie (left) and Rene (right) at the Springs Striders AC relay in 2014 #Runner #appreciation for Rene Visser.  ‘She is a real Comrade on the road, always encouraging us, turns around to come back and get me, helped me on the journey to lose […]

Runner appreciation: Nokkie shares how fellow runner Rene changed her life

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Nokkie (left) and Rene (right) at the Springs Striders AC relay in 2014

#Runner #appreciation for Rene Visser

‘She is a real Comrade on the road, always encouraging us, turns around to come back and get me, helped me on the journey to lose weight and become a better runner.’ Nokkie du Plessis du Toit.

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Ordinary people with extraordinary impact

AE: How did you and Rene meet?

ND: I do needlework and met Rene many moons ago via that network.

AE: Have you always been a runner?

ND: No.  I never thought that I’d get the hang of running.  A few years ago I realized that I had to start looking after my health.  Rene really encouraged me with my gym work and to join them for running.  I never thought that I would ever be a runner and started when I was 52 years old.

Nokkie before her weight-loss.
'I was fat, unfit and unhappy until Rene got me into running in 2012'

AE: Do you still run with Rene?  

ND:  I run with a few people. In addition to running with Rene, I also run with friends Carrie-Ann Gersbach Coetzee, Alta van der Walt, my youngest daughter Lizelle, my other daughter Mariette, Ina Els and Maritza Hartkopf

Unfortunately, Rene is injured at the moment after undergoing surgery and we hope to see her back on the road in no time.

AE: How lovely that you run with your daughters!  I ran my first Comrades with my mom and the training and race are some of the best memories of my life.  

ND:  Yes, my daughters took interest in running after I started running.  At first, my pace was slow but now I leave them in the dust 😊.

AE: I believe that the last year has been challenging for your family, hasn’t it?  

ND: Yes, very challenging.  My husband was diagnosed with colon cancer and my son-in-law with testicular cancer.  Running really helped us cope during these difficult events.  Running clears my head – I really wish I started running earlier in my life.  I would have loved to run the Comrades, and I have to say that Rene is a true Comrade and helper on the road, always encouraging us and supporting us.

AE: I like the Bart Simpson shirts.  What is the story there?  

ND:  We competed in the annual relay organized by Springs Striders Athletics Club in 2014 and a friend had these shirts made for us.

Nokkie, thank you very much for sharing your story and for acknowledging these amazing people in your life.  The running community is, truly, the best one to be part of in the world!

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