LIV 2 Run takes to the Otter 

Running inspires and ignites hope. Running propels us to conquer many of life’s challenges. Running possesses the remarkable ability to transcend racial and socioeconomic boundaries, uniting us in a shared spirit of unity and community. At the heart of this transformative work is LIV 2 Run, an organisation which champions the potential of disadvantaged communities by affording them opportunities in the running world they may have never otherwise received. Fuelled by the belief that every person, regardless of their background or circumstances, deserves the opportunity to experience the transformative magic of running, LIV 2 Run is committed to dismantling barriers by extending a hand to those who aspire to run and dream big.

The ethos of LIV 2 Run extends far beyond merely lacing up running shoes. It’s about personal growth, physical endurance, and the unbreakable bonds forged on the trails. The organisation is testament to the fact that running can change lives, as three of LIV 2 Run’s athletes take to this year’s Otter start line. 

Sinovuyo Ngcobo, with a string of impressive finishes to his name, has been a part of the LIV 2 Run community since 2018. Having spent 5-years in the LIV village he sees his teammates as not “just another running group, but rather a second family who have helped shape his path in life.” 

In highschool Sinovuyo’ focus was track, field and cross-country, but after discovering the world of trail running, he never looked back. His deep affection for the mountains, with their tranquillity, open space, and solitude, fills him with an unmatched serenity and an unmatched sense of calm.

Running his 3rd Otter African Trail Race, Sinovuyo leverages two years of race experience to conquer the challenging terrain. He’s run in both the Retto and Classic directions, finding each equally demanding. Previously mentored by Ryan Sandes and Kane Reilly, he now shares his Otter wisdom with fellow athletes in the LIV village, inspiring other aspiring runners.

Sinovuyo racing Otter 2022 with Toni McCann.

Sinovuyo counts down in anticipation to the startline, as he hopes to makes his 2023-Otter goal – of improving his previous race time – a reality. 

Phakamani Madlala, affectionately known as “Beckham” because of his soccer background, made a swift transition to trail running. In 2022, his first big trail race at UTCT 35km saw him finish 9th after only two months of training. 

While initially unsure about pursuing trail running, as his running strengths included track and field, Phakamani was invited to a training camp in the Drakensberg in 2019; an experience which only nurtured his affinity for the mountains. 

For Phakamani, his involvement in the LIV 2 Run community serves as a way to stay connected with the challenges the local children face. He aspires to be a source of inspiration and a positive role model for them, fully aware that his actions hold him accountable. He adds, “Growing up in the same neighbourhood and interacting with the other children, I understand the daily challenges these kids face because I went through similar experiences. My goal is to inspire them, and it serves as a constant reminder for me to stay on the right path.”

To tackle the rugged terrain of the Otter Race, Phakamani has been learning from experienced runners, leaning on his fellow LIV 2 Run friend, Sinovuyo. His training regimen includes running on diverse terrains, focusing on rocky trails, stairs, undulating hills, and a well-thought-out nutrition plan.

For this year’s race, his objective extends beyond racing hard and completing the course. Phakamani aims to gain insights from our country’s top-athletes, which he aspires to leverage for both personal improvement and future coaching endeavours. 

Phakamani shares that, “in life when you are given an opportunity, you must take it with two hands;” and that is exactly what he intends to do with this year’s race. While both excited and nervous to line-up for the Otter, this race has always been a dream for him and he is ready to run, test all his learnings and leave everything out there.

Tsielo Tsanyane’s trail running journey with LIV 2 Run began six months ago. Prior to this, his primary focus was road, and track and field. Despite taking a break and feeling unsure about his athletic pursuits, Tsielo was drawn to the challenge of trail running and joined the LIV 2 Run village and shared that his experience with the LIV 2 Run community has been nothing short of amazing. The support and love he receives inspires him to give back and teach the younger generations. 

Taking part in the Otter Race showcases the opportunities LIV 2 Run has offered Tsielo. In preparation for the race, he has been diligently training on different terrains and acquiring insights into race strategies. While he won’t reveal it yet, he hints at having a “secret plan,” geared towards conquering the crucial “second half,” of the race – “which is where the race is often won.”

As a member of LIV 2 Run, Tsielo aims to inspire others by showing that opportunities can be seized and hard work does pay off. For this year’s race, Tsielo’s main goals include: “enjoying the experience, learning from top runners, and finishing strong.”

In a world often divided by differences, LIV 2 Run shows us the beauty of unity, proving that running can be a powerful catalyst for positive change. We wish the LIV 2 Run Elites – Sinovuyo Ngcobo, Phakamani Madlala and Tsielo Tsanyane – the best of luck for their Otter African Trail Race this year.