Over the next couple of weeks, HPCA will highlight the runners who have chosen to run for hospice and raise funds for our cause in next years Comrades Marathon. We had a chat with Carel Nolte who shared with us his background and the reason why he is so passionate about hospice & palliative care.

Could you please tell us a little about yourself?

I grew up in Johannesburg, studied in Stellenbosch, lived in the UK for a few years and am currently a passionate Jozi dweller (I have a tattoo of Africa and Joburg’s skyline, so my loyalties are clear!) I am part of a group of people who started www.cnandco.com - we help businesses grow and do so by taking what we do seriously, not ourselves. We aim to make a difference while having fun. I am also the chairman of St Stithians College where I contribute to the work done by the amazing team there. Education is, after all, one of the things that makes the world a better place.

What got you started into running – was there anyone close to you that inspired you?

I never thought I could run – and in fact, when I started, doing 5km was “impossible”. Through the inspiration of family and friends who believed in me, I have now done three Comrades, a few overseas marathons and many local runs – and love them all! Mental activity, public speaking and intellectual pursuits come easier to me than exercise – however, I believe anyone can do anything – you just need to believe in yourself and have support from those close to you! My first running inspiration was from my fellow Daredevil (for cancer charity) runners. 

How long have you been running for in general and for comrades?

From about 2012 running generally (my first race was the 10km Jozi Nike night run and I was petrified I wouldn’t finish!) and Comrades in 2013.

What do you enjoy about the event?

Everything! Seriously, Comrades is amazing! But a few highlights have got to be the diversity of the runners. The sunrise as you get into your stride. The sheer toughness of it and the phenomenal support of strangers – both runners and supporters. Being able to contribute to charity. Reflecting on life as you hit hard times during the run. Seeing the determination in your fellow runners’ eyes as you run together. The exhilaration of crossing the finishing line, getting your medal and having that first beer! When things get tough during the race, I remind myself that I can choose to do the race – many others can’t. And I remember my mum who died a few months after my first Comrades and her strength of character.

How do you prepare for an event this big?

By not taking it too seriously! Comrades does require training and discipline, but it also requires perspective. Life has many aspects to it and I don’t let my training take over my life (if I was aiming for anything other than a finish, that may have been different). I do strength training twice a week with a trainer, run a few times on a treadmill and do a race or so every two weeks. I remain convinced that this race is mainly about your head – basic fitness and strength, but mainly your head!

Who are your biggest fans/supporters?

My running partner Allan Bader, my seconder (best in the world!) Kurt Solomon, the St Stithians community, my running club Born2Run, my team mates from CN & CO and our clients – and the list goes on. I count myself very lucky with the family and friends I have.

What is your favourite food before and after a run?

I eat high protein, low carbs before the race. So, a steak and salad for lunch and very light dinner. For breakfast, a banana and a few pieces of biltong. During the race I don’t eat (I drink lots of water and have a glass or two of wine near the end and toast my fellow runners (and after the race a big dinner with friends – this year will be on Florida road, Peri Peri chicken!

Do you enjoy running alone or prefer a group?

I love starting and ending with people I know but generally run alone. Two of my Comrades I have run with my running partner Allan Bader and one alone. We will see what happens this year!

How has running changed your life?

For the better! I have met some cool people, seen some cool places and re-affirmed for myself that anything is possible. Anyone can do anything if they put their mind to it.

Is there any reason you chose Hospice as your preferred beneficiary?

For sure. Many of us are touched by the work that Hospice does – usually when a loved one benefits from the tremendous care, support and practical attention just before death. I wanted to highlight to people that we shouldn’t wait until we, or a loved one, is dying to start supporting and helping Hospice. Find out more about what you can do to contribute and get involved. Dying is a big part of living and is not something we should fear talking about. Thank you, Hospice, for all you do for so many.

Help Carel reach his target of R25 000 for hospice by donating here.