Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition)

For kwaito star Kabelo Mabalane, running is much more than a hobby

- VUYILE MADWANTSI vuyile.madwantsi@inl.co.za

KWAITO star Kabelo Mabalane is gearing up for an awe-inspiring milestone at the much-anticipate­d 2023 Sanlam Cape Town 50th marathon.

To him, this is so much more than just completing another race.

It symbolises his personal journey of overcoming challenges and celebratin­g triumphs, coinciding with the 21st anniversar­y of his sobriety.

In a candid conversati­on with Independen­t Media Lifestyle, Mabalane unpacked his path to recovery.

“My journey to sobriety has been about reconnecti­ng with my true self.”

He admitted to getting caught up in the allure of sex, drugs and alcohol.

“Those vices weren’t a genuine reflection of who I am. And the more you go down that journey, you are either going to end up in jail or dead. “I wanted better for myself.” Reverting to his true self became the key to his transforma­tion.

Mabalane’s sobriety is a testament to the power of embracing one’s true identity.

“Running entered my life at precisely the right time,” he confessed.

“Through my work in the entertainm­ent industry and collaborat­ions with sports brands, I had always dreamt of participat­ing in events like the Comrades Marathon.

“So I decided to give running a try. I’d always had a bit of a sporty bone in my school days.

“I took up running and I fell in love with it and that filled a very massive void and I got quite obsessed and still am obsessed with running. And that will take up your time – after a 50km run I don’t think you want to go out and party,” the musician said.

He admitted: “There are very few problems that training for a 10km run won’t be able to solve, but speaking as somebody who’s all in or all out, that’s just my personalit­y trait.”

Since taking up running, Mabalane says he’s become quite competitiv­e even with himself, running to surpass his previous record times.

“I always want to surpass my previous times and push my limits. Running has become more than just a hobby

for me, it’s a lifestyle that requires dedication, discipline, and a keen eye

on nutrition. It’s no longer just about running, it’s about embracing a whole package of healthy habits.”

He noted that his training varied each year.

This year’s Sanlam Cape Town Marathon training coincides with his first half-Ironman in November. So, this year, training includes swimming, cycling and running over a 15-hour weekly training programme.

“However, contrary to popular belief, my marathon training secret is running short distances quite fast, not running far.

“Most people think that if you’re training for a marathon, you must run 20 to 30km weekly, but I prefer a different approach.

“I hardly run 40km a week but invest copious amounts of time in the gym doing leg and core work. I believe in upper body strength workouts because endurance fitness will get you to 21km.

“The remaining 21km rely on how strong you are, and that’s when the gym training kicks in,” Mabalane said in an earlier media statement.

“I also prioritise proper rest, proper sleep and proper nutrition. This newfound structure and focus have helped me appreciate the effort required for success.

“While I experience­d some early success in my career, I quickly realised that life doesn’t always come easily.

“I learnt the hard way that success often requires perseveran­ce and the ability to handle rejection.

“Endurance running taught me discipline, both on and off the track.”

One of Mabalane’s proudest moments was competing in the fastest marathon he ever ran, clocking in at an impressive 3 hours and 7 minutes. The race took place in Joburg.

“I’ve lost count of how many marathons I’ve participat­ed in, I’ve done north of 50 marathons and I’ve done 12 Comrades Marathons.”

He added: “The impact of my running journey extends beyond my personal accomplish­ments. As I embody this part of who I am, I’ve noticed a ripple effect on those around me.

“My colleagues, family and friends have all been influenced to some degree by my dedication and commitment to health and fitness.

“I don’t force anyone to join me in my activities, but they can’t help but be inspired.

“My children have taken up running without any push from me, simply because they see me doing it. The same goes for my wife and friends.

“By being true to myself, I’ve inadverten­tly made a positive impact on the lives of others.

“The thing is, once you’ve summited a peak you realise that there are other peaks that are higher, there’s always a new goal, there’s always a race to enter, different terrain, different city to run in.

“Like now, I’m running the Cape Town marathon on October 15, doing my first triathlon this year on November 19, and this is the first time I’m doing it.

“And I’m also doing my first full Ironman in April next year, so what keeps me motivated is continuous­ly setting new goals, because I’ve seen that doing that is what keeps me motivated.

“If I say I’m going to do something, I keep myself accountabl­e and do what I need to do so I can perform well when race/ event day comes,” he said.

“The process in preparatio­n for the marathon has been good, and you must understand for us Joburgers it’s very easy to run in Cape Town because it’s flat: oxygen near the sea presents ideal conditions compared with here.”

“Although you have a set plan, things don’t always go that way. Sometimes I have a clear idea of the time I aim to achieve, but I’ve had moments when my expectatio­ns didn’t align with the outcome.”

This highlights the unpredicta­bility of running and the need for adaptabili­ty.

On the advice he would share with others, Mabalane said: “I’d honestly say, ‘look at my life’. I kid you not. But in all honesty, I’ve faced challenges and personal struggles, particular­ly related to weight gain.

“However, I’ve learnt that the key to success lies in the size of my desire to achieve a goal.

“As Joyce Meyer wisely says, ‘Life is always about how big your want is to do something, and if you can’t, it simply means your want isn’t big enough for it’.”

 ?? | Supplied ?? RUNNING symbolises Mabalane’s personal journey of overcoming challenges and celebratin­g his triumphs, which coincides with the 21st anniversar­y of his sobriety.
| Supplied RUNNING symbolises Mabalane’s personal journey of overcoming challenges and celebratin­g his triumphs, which coincides with the 21st anniversar­y of his sobriety.

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