Universiteit Stellenbosch
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Zoleka needs you to help her get to Comrades The rest, she can definitely do on her own!
Outeur: Petro Mostert
Gepubliseer: 21/05/2024

​Just before her 40th birthday in 2022, Zoleka Keva decided to start running to get into shape for the big celebrations ahead. Little did she know that two years later, she would be on her way to lining up with thousands of runners on Sunday, 9 June 2024, at 5.30 am to run one of the world's toughest ultra-marathons: the Comrades.   
You read stories of how runners were born out of the most incredible circumstances. They would run 5 kilometers a day and, after forty years, decide it is time to go big and enter a half marathon. The running bug that got hold of Zoleka was spiked with steroids, as she literally went from "zero to hero" in just two years.
Working as a financial officer in Stellenbosch University's Financial Division, Zoleka called herself a real "couch potato" who never ran or exercised in her whole life until that one morning when she put on her running shoes and completed her first 5km race, the Total Sports Women's Race in 2022. Her first marathon was the Cape Town marathon on 14 October last year, which she finished at 5:14:30, followed by the Winelands marathon just a little more than a month later, where she improved her time by an impressive 18 minutes. Next was the Peninsula Marathon in February this year, where she finished in a fantastic time of 4:29:57, followed by the Langebaan Country Estate Weskus Marathon in 04:34:04, early in March.
Next on her tick list was her first ultra-marathon, the gruelling Two Oceans marathon over 56 kilometers, which she finished in a fantastic time of 06:17:25, which is fantastic for any novice (especially one who has only been running for two years!).
And as any runner can testify, once you've done an ultra, your body and mind crave for the big one: Comrades, despite having thought that running the whole day is sheer madness, Zoleka confesses. "Running has taught me an invaluable lesson – with the right mindset and unwavering perseverance, any goal is attainable. I am immensely grateful for the incredible support system of family, friends, the Cape Town running community, and colleagues who have stood by me throughout this incredible transformation. I would also like to thank my two coaches, Andre Adams and Samuel de Beer, for their constant guidance and invaluable advice."
But before Zoleka can engrave her name next to the "great hearts" of the Comrades, she must overcome another hurdle: she needs the finances to get her to Durban and back. She will need financial assistance for her travel and accommodation expenses. She started a GivenGain page to help her in her journey and asks anyone who is able to donate—no matter how small—to help her reach her dream by finishing the 2024 "up" Comrades from Durban to Pietermaritzburg.
"Participating in the Comrades Marathon would not only be a personal challenge but also an opportunity to raise the profile of our University and demonstrate the Institution's commitment to health, fitness, and community engagement. I believe that my participation in this event could bring positive publicity and recognition to our organisation, and it would be a great way for us to showcase our values and commitment to our employees' well-being," says Zoleka.
If anyone wants to help Zoleka reach her amazing dream, please contact her on WhatsApp at 083 822 8917 and let her know how you can contribute to her expenses for the trip to Durban and back.
Zoleka has also joined the Department of Alumni Relations with their fundraising initiative, Move4Maties, where they raise money for students at Stellenbosch.
She was also on our Maties radio station, MFM last week. Listen to her story here​ .
And in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., Zoleka, here is his advice:
"If you can't fly, run, if you can't run, walk, or crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward."
We wish Zoleka a fantastic journey to Comrades 2024. Come on, colleagues, donate, and help her get to the starting line in Durban!​