Running 13 000 km across Africa | Breaking Down my CNA Interview

Experience talking with CNA938

On the 6th of March I had the great opportunity to chat with the lovely people over at CNA938. It was my first time on live radio and a very exciting experience! If you didn’t get a chance to listen to it then, here is the Audio Recording:

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I was so nervous and excited, after listening to the play back I thought about a million other things to mention. For this week’s blog, I thought to dive back into each point in further details to really explore the interesting questions they asked me.

Q1: My experience with bullying and how I turned to running

It is true, in primary school my nickname was the “blue whale” because of my size, I was the “fat kid”. Back in the 80s, being overweight didn’t mean the same thing that it means now but it did truly affect my body image growing up.

My weight has always something that I monitor, but not the reason I picked up running. Even when I was the“blue whale”, I was still exercising! I competed in Karate and honestly, I was doing pretty well for myself. During my early teenage years, my life was all about Karate, I even won national competitions. I would spend 6 days a week in the Dojo. Karate meant everything to me.

I was about to get my black belt when I caught a appendicitis-peritonitis ( which almost cost me my life) followed by a mononucleosis. I had to recover for a year…I never went back to karate. That was my first big failure in life. After that, I learned from it and I made a promise to myself that I will never ever give up like I did back then.

I started running a bit randomly. I was in my mid-thirties, we all recently moved to a new city, I was in between 2 contracts and the kids struggled to adjust in their new schools. I was not at the top of my league. At that time, my husband had the opportunity to buy a treadmill at $50. It was too good of an offer to miss. He bought the treadmill and I started running. 6 months later, I ran my first marathon.

Q2: Time-offs during the African Continent Run

I will be using the 10 days running to 1-2 days off approach, depending on the location. I will adapt to the terrain and the condition as I go. I am aiming to run at least one marathon a day for at least 10 days in a row before taking a few days off.

Of course, I can’t miss out on climbing the Mt Kilimanjaro or visiting the beauty of the Victoria Falls. I will take the time during the run to truly absorb these world treasures, even if it means taking a few days off running and hiking instead.

Q3: What if Coronavirus spreads to Africa? What will I do?

Unfortunately, as of this week, it has already started to spread.

For now, we will monitor the situation and wait for the right time to start. We will still go through with the African Continent Run, it is just a matter of timing. Nothing can stop me from undergoing it.

The best course of action would be to wait for government official statements and course of actions. It is hard to predict what will happen, but what I know for sure is that I want to keep going with this project.

If the Coronavirus stops us on our way, I will take the time to stop (for however long it requires) and when we have the green light, I’ll simply keep going!

Q4: Entourage and safety? Who will take care of me and the equipment?

My partner, Kieren Vincent, in Africa and I are ready to start as soon as our sponsorships are secured! While I will be busy running, Kieren will be the one in charge of the route, equipment, safety, food, etc.

If our budget allow us to do so, we are hoping to get 2 more people on board. We can’t wait to start!

Q5: Dismissing false perceptions of the African Continent: What does that mean?

The African continent is underrated internationally… I want to show the real face of the people there with their true power of life and happiness.

When I was working in Senegal years ago, people were so welcoming. I was invited for dinner at people’s houses even when they didn’t know whether they had enough food for the day after or for their own family. I have rarely met people with so much love, compassion and filled with fun!

I literally can’t wait to be back and running this time around (even better)!

Q6: If I am out of the job for a year, how am I going to support myself?

We are seeking corporate sponsorship for the major expenses such as the truck, gas, equipment, etc.

We also want to keep in mind that the real purpose of the run: the positive impact that we will have on people. I wish to be their voice and help remote villages to have access to safe drinking water. We are therefore seeking any help we can get!

If you believe in our cause, you can also support us by donating $2 to our Patreon. Every small donation helps us take one step towards the African Continent.

Click here to Donate Today!

Of course, we wish to thank everyone who has already pledged and donated so far, it truly means the world to me when working constantly on this project! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Q7: What needs to be done for Professional Female Runners?

I have never personally suffered as a female runner, I honestly only have praise to give to the South East Asian running community.

Yes, there are a lot more Men in the Ultra Running community but it has ever stopped me in my progress as a Female runner. The best thing that can be done is to keep up the great support, we all want the same thing: to run!

Q8: How am I going to train for this run in tiny Singapore?

Few days after the radio interview, the corona virus crisis really hit the world.

Now, my plans have changed because most of my races are cancelled and international travels are out of the question. I am planning to run a average of 100 km-150 km per week with a mix of intervals, slow runs and long runs.

I am lucky enough to have a awesome running friends who are willing to help me keep the distance and the mileage going! We’ll simply have to run meters away from each other 😉

Q9: Why have I not turned into a Professional Runner?

I am not a professional runner.

I started running 12 years ago on my treadmill and I did my first marathon 6 months after. I have never raced to win. I am not competitive. I love the intensity of running, I love to feel my body and mind float, my environment and the people which I am surrounded with while I am running.

To conclude

I am forever grateful for the team at CNA for the opportunity they gave me to speak about my project. I had a lot of fun while on air and even more fun writing this follow up blog 🙂

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Stay safe and have an amazing week!

Join the #washinghands movement

-Vero

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