Sinovuyo Ngcobo wanted to give it all up. The kid from Mbanyana primary school in the Ndwedwe Mission outside Durban in South Africa, had found a love for many sports but a passion for running. But there didn’t seem any point any longer.
“I’m sorry Sino,” said his mother. “But all our identification documents were lost.”
Ngcobo’s teacher had explained that unless he could produce identity documents, proving his South African birth, he would be barred from competing against other schools. Discouraged and downhearted, Ngcobo put his running on ice, until some years later he discovered LIV2Run – a community-based running club – and finally obtained family ID documents.
“I joined the team and regained my passion for running,” Ngcobo explained. “And I’ve enjoyed running ever since. It’s been great to have a mentor in Ryan Sandes, who has motivated me even more, and now I’m looking to qualify as a fully-fledged coach and give something back to younger runners.” Ngcobo already has qualified as a level one coach and has a growing group of enthusiastic young runners under his tutelage in the LIVE2Run programme.
Ngcobo has steadily improved as a distance athlete, making the most of opportunities to run against some of the country’s best trail athletes at the Otter Trail and Ultra-trail Drakensberg, racing to a podium position in last year’s UTD 32km.
And now the 27-year-old has the opportunity of a life time, if funds can be found to achieve his dream.
Distance runners around the world dream of running like the Kenyans, and Ncgobo is no exception. And now he has been invited to join a high-level training camp at Iten, in the Kenyan highlands, one of the world’s distance-running meccas.
Prominent running personalities Jeremy Kropman and Benita de Witt have planned a fourteen-day training camp at Iten (from 25 March to 7 April), to be hosted by leading Dutch coach, Hugo van den Broek. Key inputs at the camp include finer points of training, racing, nutrition and mental preparation among other things.
Van den Broek and his wife Hilda are both former international athletes and have hosted camps in Iten for many years. This will be their first trail-running specific camp.
There will be structured training sessions every day, mostly in the early morning, with the possibility of additional less structured sessions. In addition, there will be strength sessions, which will be led by one of the coaches.
“It’s obviously close to his race at Ultra-trail Drakensberg and he will need to be careful about going from sea level to 2,400m without acclimatising,” cautioned his coach, James Montgomery. “But that the experience would be amazing and not worth missing out on. So I am happy to do what is necessary from my side to ensure he has a wonderful time and at the same time help manage his training to fit in with where he is at and what his goals are.”
With just 16 days to go, only R10 750.00 of the required R35 000 has been raised, but Sinovuyo remains hopeful that the funds will come in and he will be able to travel north to hone his running skills and knowledge. Anyone interested in contributing to Sinovuyo’s trip can do so via https://thundafund.com/project/6716626611230815.
Anyone interested in joining the camp or finding out more should reference the team website at https://republicoftrail.co.za/#camp.