By Nomfundo Xulu-Lentsoane 

  • Mr Mogotsi Kalaeamodimo, Director of the Substance Abuse Unit at the National Department of Social Development, attributes running to saving his life after a period of blindness and severe overweight.
  • Starting with walks due to his weight, Kalaeamodimo progressed to marathons, including the prestigious Comrades Marathon, demonstrating immense discipline and commitment.
  • Weighing 127kg at 1.7m, Kalaeamodimo’s dedication to running has led to significant weight loss and multiple marathon completions, showcasing the transformative power of perseverance and discipline.

Having lost his sight for two days and being overweight according to his medical practitioners, Mr Mogotsi Kalaeamodimo says running saved his life.

The Director of the Substance Abuse Unit at the National Department of Social Development is running his second Comrades Marathon—also known as the Ultimate Human Race.

Mr. Kala, as he is affectionately known by colleagues, is a quiet person yet emanates elegance. “I started by walking because of my weight at the time. I weighed 127kg at a height of 1.7m. Sometimes I would walk around the block and other times I would try to do more. There came a point where I would even do a 5km walk or run,” he said.

His first marathon was at Wonderpark in Pretoria in 2016. It was then that he realised running was his passion. Kala went on to push himself harder by running the Om Die Dam Ultra Marathon, where he successfully finished the 50km race. He went on to do the Pretoria Marathon and another one in Wonderpark, to mention a few.

“Running is not difficult. It just needs commitment and discipline. You also need to know the kind of food you need to, or not to eat. I, for example, do not take sugar at all. Running is also a sport of love. You may have to wake up at 3am every morning when you have a goal to reach. The running shoes you wear are also important. You cannot just wake up and wear your takkies. You need to go to a sports shop, which should advise depending on your feet,” says the 59-year-old, who will be running his second Comrades Marathon on 9 June 2024.

When he finished the Ultimate Human Race in 2023, he completed it in 10 hours and 28 minutes and was awarded a bronze medal. He has been training for a better result, he says. “There are several medals that a runner can get at the Comrades Marathon. These are:

  • The back-to-back
  • Vic Clapham
  • Bronze
  • Robert Mtshali
  • Bill Rowan
  • Silver
  • Isavel Roche-Kelly
  • Wally Hayward
  • Gold

“I hope to finish in eight or nine hours… or so this year. I have been doing my share of carbo-loading and ensuring that I train every day,” he expressed.

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