A HELPING HAND AND AN OPEN HEART
by Michelle Carnegie
27 November 2017
They are some of the most talented little runners in the country, yet many can’t afford a pair of running shoes to chase their dreams. But with the help of a running legend who knows what can happen when others uplift you, as well as a running club who believes in developing and supporting young runners, a group of youngsters from Pretoria are slowly making their mark on the SA running scene.
Around 10 children from the Nedbank Running Club’s (NRC) Development program in Pretoria delivered top notch performances at the recent SA Champs held at the Pilditch Stadium in Pretoria where many placed in the top 5 positions over various distances ranging from 80m to 1500m. “These children are a great example of the amazing young talent we have in South Africa,” says Enoch Skosana, their coach and NRC Development Officer in Pretoria.
Nedbank collaborated with Enoch to form the Nedbank Skosana Development program, and through coaching clinics at different schools in the Pretoria region Enoch identifies talent. Enoch, a running legend who represented SA in cross-country and road running, is very passionate about uplifting these youngsters. “When I was young I was given a chance and helped, so I now want to give back. I know what it can mean to someone’s life,” says Enoch.
After permission from the school principal and the children’s parents the future athletes attend Enoch’s weekly training as well as training camps in June and December. “In June we focus on cross-country and in December we focus on base fitness,” says Enoch.
The children are dedicated and about 20 of them train from Enoch’s house in Danville, Monday through to Thursday. “We focus more on speed work, but sometimes we run laps for endurance,” says Enoch. This gets done at a park in Danville while 100m sprints get done on a quiet road in Danville. Enoch trains another around 30 children in the nearby Soshanguve.
Article Keywordsnedbank running club
Their hard work paid off at the recent SA Champs, where many of them placed in the top 5, says Enoch. “Some of them are so happy they don’t even want to stop training. It is exam time now so we are not training, but many are begging the coach to run! I have to remind them to wait for the December holiday when we can train again. But they have to rest over Christmas and New Year.”
Some of the children come from less privileged backgrounds and can’t afford the basics such as running shoes. “Many of them come to me and say their parents can’t afford to buy them running shoes,” says Enoch. The NRC is an excellent example of how to develop and supports young talent. They supply all of the children with shoes, Future Life and all the other goodies they need.
Enoch loves passing on his skills and can’t imagine a life without coaching children. “I want to give back to the community. I want to make a mark and I want people to remember me by what I did for others,” says Enoch.
“The secret to success with children is patience. Many of them respect me because of my running background, and they try really hard. These children touch my heart and make me very happy,” say 43-year-old Enoch, who these days doesn’t have too much time for his own running. But when he does tackle a marathon he can still clock a time of around 2:35.
The next time some of these children get to test their speed before taking a break over Christmas will be at the Skosana Race on 9 December at the Correctional Services in Pretoria. Events include a street mile as well as a 5km and 10km. Enoch has no doubt that his little runners will make him – and most importantly themselves – very proud!
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