Bonani Zuke will spend her 40th birthday running the Cape Town Marathon

There must be less painful ways of acknowledging a 40th birthday than running the 62,926 steps it takes an average woman to complete a marathon.

But that’s how Bonani Zuke – one of Fedhealth’s “Dream Chasers” participating in the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon – has chosen to “celebrate” the milestone. “I could have thrown a party but you can throw a party anytime,” she says.

“A party might have made everyone happy but this is for me as an individual. There’s a sense of achievement once you cross the line, so for me it’s not a painful way to celebrate.”

Bonani’s birthday run at the Cape Town Marathon forms part of the Fedhealth Dream Chasers project. Dream Chasers is SA’s hottest new reality web series, featuring the trials and tribulations of three everyday South Africans pursuing their fitness dreams by running the 10km race, the 12km trail run or the 42.2km distance. The contestants receive expert coaching, nutritional advice and gear to bolster their efforts.

In addition, all Fedhealth members receive free entry to compete in the Cape Town Marathon.

The mother of two’s 40th falls on September 15, which is coincidentally the same day the marathon will be run.

Not exactly a novice – she first began running four years ago to lose weight after the birth of her daughter Zimkhitha – Bonani is hoping to drop her time of six hours and five minutes from her maiden marathon (the Soweto Marathon) by more than half an hour.

Like most people turning 40, she is in two minds about how she feels: “I’ve got mixed feelings about it. I’m happy that I’m still alive but I’ve also got pressure from the things I wanted to achieve that I haven’t yet, so I’m a bit anxious about how I’m going to achieve them.”

Well, 42.2km is about long enough to work most of that out.

posted Saturday July 6th