Donation of Running Shoes Brings Hope to Struggling UKZN Athlete
Third-year BSc Geological Sciences student and member of the UKZN Athletics Club, Mr Mbuso Sibiya thought his running dreams had come to an end when his only pair of running shoes was damaged while training, but a Good Samaritan came to his rescue and donated a brand new pair.
Staff member, Mr Tony Singarum, said he could not ignore the plight of the student who approached him for a pair of second hand shoes. He donated money for him to buy himself a new pair.
Sharing his excitement, Sibiya said, ‘I was about to stop running while I saved enough money to buy new shoes. That was going to take me more than three months.
‘I would like to say thank you so much to Tony for helping out and for giving me a chance to continue nurturing my talent. I like running and I don’t know what I would have done without running shoes. May his kindness continue and God will reward him one day. This gesture has taught me to also lend a hand when needed,’ he added.
He had hoped to run the 2020 Comrades Marathon, which he qualified for in Cape Town last year, but due to financial difficulties he could not register in time. ‘I am looking forward to next year, hopefully I will have money to register.’
Sibiya said running has taught him not to quit even when the going gets tough. ‘I now treat everything I do as running. I never give up without finishing it. Running has also taught me to be patient because becoming the best runner does not happen overnight. I take that and relate it to other life situations.’
Challenges that hinder his running career includes taking breaks due to not having proper running shoes, not sticking to the required diet due to financial constraints, not having race entrance fees, and not being able to afford energy boosters, recovery drinks and other equipment. His last race was in October 2019.
However, he said that the sport has taught him to be disciplined and helped him to balance his running and studies. He encouraged staff and students to join the University Athletics team. ‘Joining a team is important because when we run as a group, we push and motivate one another to achieve our different goals. Joining the club does not mean you have to be super-fast or competitive.
‘You will meet experienced athletes who will coach you to avoid injuries or pain. This will make your running easy and enjoyable and you will run forever, and stay fit and healthy,’ said Sibiya.
His highlights include running the Cape Town Marathon and the FNB Durban 10km that gave him the chance to run among some of the world’s great athletes. His best time for a marathon (42.2km) is 3hrs:09mins while recording a time of 32mins:46sec for a 10km race.
The youngest of four siblings who was born in Mbuzini in Mpumalanga province, Sibiya thanked his family, friends, teammates and the University for support.
Words and photograph: Sithembile Shabangu