Inspirational Runner: Dieter Strumpher
Let us stop for a moment and look at ourselves in another way. “How can I do this?” Its simple you start with day one.
From time to time it seems that despite of all our efforts, we experience various emotions in our lives, such as despair, anxiety, fear, apathy, mistrust or anger.
My emotions? Well, I struggled with depression and I was living with an eating disorder.
This isn’t the kind of story one tells to brag to friends around the braai. It IS a story I share with people who struggle. My story illustrates a very difficult time in my life and I hope it inspires people to speak out and step up, reach out and change.
I was always the guy with a smile on my face but something was stirring deep inside. Eating unhealthily and making mistakes, never realising how much I was changing until one day… It was the day I was part of a group photo shoot and I didn’t recognize the man staring back at me. The man staring back it me weighed 115kg!
That was the day I “woke up” and decided: I didn’t want to feel like that anymore, or ever again. So I changed.
Just like that.
It was a massive choice and it wasn’t easy, but for some reason running – no matter how slow - gave me the motivation to reach my goal. Each step brought me closer to my goal. There wasn’t a day called “someday” in my book, it was today.
So I ran, trained and started to live a healthy life. I had a desire to become fit. Become better.
Running has educated me to be patient and pace myself - a discipline I learned in all parts of my life.
I encouraged myself to push through those struggles every day. I told myself to step up and face my challenges with positivity and not give up. It was pure mind over matter. And I won.
Being active is now something I love. I love running and hiking. But running gives me the relaxing “me-time” others get from, say, reading a book. Running also gives me the satisfaction of tangible improvement, like testing my limits and breaking personal bests.
We get inspired by the strength of the human spirit. We constantly learn how to become a better person. And when you see someone run a race, you can’t help but be inspired to do the same.
SO – a year ago I made it my mission to do my first Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon. Next weekend I will line up to do my first Ultra. Who knows… maybe one day I will even do my first Comrades.
Everyone struggles with something. But what makes the human race unique is that we can push ourselves to achieve greatness. All it takes is a decision. All it takes is YOU to take that first step.
If I can do it, so can you!