A BEACON OF ENERGY AND DETERMINATION AT THE 97TH COMRADES MARATHON

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By Precious Mupenzi

  • Shane Lentsoalo, a 38-year-old from Pretoria, believes running is more than just physical exercise; it’s a powerful tool for building character, discipline, and resilience, especially among the youth.
  • As he prepares for his eighth Comrades Marathon, Shane is representing his local running club, Zutari, and his role within the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), highlighting his dedication to both his personal passion and professional responsibilities.
  • Shane is dedicated to involving youth in running to provide a positive outlet, build confidence, and combat social ills, emphasising the transformative power of running in shaping future leaders.

Meet Shane Lentsoalo, a passionate advocate for change in our communities. He firmly believes that running is not just about physical fitness; it is also a powerful tool for shaping character and building discipline, especially among our youth.

In Shane’s eyes, the parallels between running and life are striking. Just as each step in a race requires determination and perseverance, navigating the challenges of adolescence demands resilience and self-discipline. That’s why he is on a mission to involve youth in the transformative power of running.

As the iconic 97th Comrades Marathon draws near, the Social Development sector proudly boasts its representation with its agencies and provincial departments participating in this renowned event, and one of them is Shane.

A 38-year-old dynamo hailing from Pretoria, not only is he representing his local running club, Zutari, but he’s also championing the cause of the sector he admires, all while excelling in his role within the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA).

“I joined SASSA in 2008 as an intern, and over the years, I have grown into a Team Leader. The environment at work is so supportive; they understand my passion for marathons and allow me the flexibility to prepare adequately,” he said.

This year marks Shane’s eighth participation in the Comrades Marathon, and his infectious enthusiasm is profound as he shares his excitement with DSD News.

“Running is not just a hobby for me; it is a way to challenge myself, to boost my confidence, and to learn the value of discipline and perseverance,” he explains.

He further stated that our youth face numerous challenges—from peer pressure to substance abuse. But, Shane believes in embracing and harnessing the power of running to shape a brighter future for generations to come.

“Running can provide youth with a positive outlet and a pathway to success. Running clubs become more than just a place to train; they become a sanctuary where youth can thrive and grow. By investing in running programmes and supporting youth initiatives, we are not just nurturing athletes, we are also cultivating future leaders. We are empowering youth to rise above social ills, equipped with the resilience and discipline needed to conquer any obstacle in their path.”

Reflecting on the upcoming challenge, Shane, originally from Mokopane, acknowledges the unique hurdles of an “up run” marathon.

“Every race is different. But with experience comes resilience, and I am ready to push myself even harder this time,” he notes.

While Shane’s family could not join him in Durban, their unwavering support fuels his determination.

“My friend Daniel, who is also running, is here with me. We have always motivated each other, pushing ourselves to new heights,” he shares.

However, Shane does not shy away from acknowledging the practical challenges that accompany his passion.

“Nutritious food and proper running gear can be costly. But my love for running transcends these obstacles,” he admits.

As anticipation builds for the marathon, Shane extends a heartfelt message to fellow runners.

“Let us share the beauty of running with our communities. It is not just about the race; it is about shaping a drug-free, empowered youth through sport. Let us lace up our shoes, hit the pavement, and show our youth that with every stride, they are not just running towards the finish line—they are running towards a better tomorrow,” he concludes.

The 97th Comrades Marathon is on Sunday, 9 June 2024, starting at the Durban City Hall at 5:30 and ending 12 hours later at the Hollywoodbets Scottville Racecourse in Pietermaritzburg, covering a distance of 85.91 km.

 

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