My Journey – Shazia Gaffoor

m_ShaziaMy journey …..

I had to do something. The alarm rang at 7am, my eyes fluttered open and I remembered the decision I made the night before ‘I’m going to do this’. I arrived at the Emmarentia Dam parking lot not a soul in sight. In trepidation I unlocked the car. I put one foot out and stopped thinking to myself but wait …. A female. Alone. In a park. In South Africa. Is it safe? Something came over me and I thought “RUN….just run Shaz”
I ran direction less. I came back to the car I leaned against the bonnet panting, trembling, feeling exhilarated and I realized that I needed a walk/run plan. I had done it before in London and had lost an incredible amount of weight. Running/ walking had helped me change physically and emotionally four years ago. Now being in SA I needed to be on the road again but it seemed a daunting and a lonely road ahead.

The next morning, I was back. This time I decided I just need to take in the beauty of a new day in South Africa. I was not going to give up and let myself down. I had just quit my job and I seemed at a low. I needed this, I wanted this. I found my bearings from the day before and started to run / walk the same route. I hit a point at the park where there was a hill and I halted knowing that yesterday it was grueling ….at that point a group of ladies whizzed passed. One of them in the midst of her running turned her head and said ‘Do you run? Come join us!!!’ I bolted into action and caught up with them within seconds. At the end of an ‘easy’ 8km run in which I walked most I got to know they were all part of Jozi X Training.
Four days later Zee, Taz , Aarifa and Fatima and I stood at the starting line of my first 10km race. I thought to myself ‘What the hell Shaz?’ My next thought was I got to stop talking to myself. I did it and I have consequently developed a reputation for THE CHICK who takes selfies with her medals.

I ran my first race too quick. I clearly wasn’t ready. It was difficult and at the end I was sore for days. Zee introduced me to the peeps of Jozi x training at Jamestown. This world was new and it opened up a whole new world for me. With every moment of my day consumed thoughts of running. Meeting Yasien with his unwavering running plans, Mehmood and his endless patience , Farhana and Feroza with their determination and inspiring attitude. Hashim and his initial personal goal of doing 5kms everyday. Zee my mate continued with her unfaltering persistence that I can carry on even on the 14km Emmarentia dam route on a Saturday morning. Being from the UK and not knowing many people in South Africa the people at Jozi X Training have become family.

Time. Fleeting yet slow…..I think back of the day I ran direction less and smirk every time. My passion for running burns with fervour. The self empowerment and good health is addictive. Daily I challenge myself in small ways both with my running and on a personal level. Two Oceans 21km who would have thought. Here’s to the Comrades Marathon 2016, comrades !!!!!
My name is Shaz and I run…..
❤ Jozi X Training

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