DID YOU SEE HER IN VALENCIA? NOW SEE HER IN VIENNA!
16 April 2018
South African athlete Nolene Conrad, who recently achieved IAAF Gold Label Status, will be representing South Africa at this Sunday’s Vienna Marathon.
Running in the colours of South Africa Nolene recently achieved IAAF Gold Label Status by coming 25th in the world half marathon championships in Valencia in March. She finished in a time of 1:11:44, becoming one of the countries four Gold Label Status athletes.”
Conrad has come to symbolise the powerful, courageous role spirited women have played and continue to play in South Africa as life has not always been easy for this phenomenal athlete.
Tough start in life
Born in Bishop Lavis, surrounded by drugs, violence, unemployment and poverty, Conrad was also diagnosed as a chronic asthmatic at an early age.
Life was bleak and hopeless when a chronic attack of asthma forced the teenager to have a deep, long look into the depths of her soul. “As I lay in the emergency room staring-up at the soulless neon lights, the doctor who had brought me back to life spoke slowly and clearly, “unless you change your lifestyle and begin looking after yourself you will not see your 21st birthday”. I had to make a choice. I chose life.”
And life it was, on the 24th March 2018 she achieved IAAF Gold Label Status. “My success today is largely due to the collective synergy of mentors, supporters, friends, coaches and sponsors, in particular my Mentor Elana Van Zyl-Meyer, Endurocad, my province WPA and my club KPMG who have and continue to support me in my running journey,” says Conrad.
Vice-President of Western Province Athletics Jakes Jacobs commented, “Nolene is an example to young people in the Western Province and indeed South Africa of what can be achieved when true grit and determination overcomes life’s drawbacks and disadvantage”.
In Valencia to support her were former World Half Marathon world record holder and IAAF Gold Label Status Cape Town Marathon Ambassador Elana Van Zyl–Meyer and Cape Town Marathon Race Director Janet Welham.
“I know how much this means to Nolene. She has worked extremely hard and deserves becoming one of the countries four Gold Label Status athletes.” says Van Zyl-Meyer.
Van Zyl-Meyer, who also works with Conrad at Endurocad, was invited to Valencia by the IAAF to represent Cape Town Marathon as part of an elite panel. Van Zyl-Meyer who set four world records for the distance and in 1994 became the first African woman to win a world half marathon title, commented further “Cape Town Marathon shared the stage with a panel of members from iconic city marathons like London, New York, Prague and Tokyo.”
Welham added, “We are so proud of what Nolene has achieved, we can be proud of what Cape Town Marathon has achieved, we have shown the world that South Africa not only has the talent, skills, knowledge and the expertise to run against the best in the world but we are also able to host world-class events. In a sense Nolene’s performance symbolises a revival in women’s distance running in South Africa.”
You can follow Nolene’s journey on www.noleneconrad.co.za.
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