“…she has achieved, what most deem, the impossible. …”
Amy Sartori @amy_strategist
Amy Sartori, aged just 29 is living life to the fullest! An independent woman chasing her dreams. 2014/15, she conquered Comrades both down and uphill and became one of the few back-to-back medalists of this Ultra marathon. She’s now venturing into the world of Triathlons, as if the Comrades wasn’t enough, a true lover of all endurance sports that she is! When not pursuing her dreams outside the office, Amy is Head of Strategy at Group Africa Marketing, with two degrees from the University of Johannesburg: BComm Sports Management and BComm Honours in Strategic Management. Her family and friends are her greatest blessings.
Be inspired …
EKL is me
AS is the endurance athlete and career woman
EKL – Why did you decide to become a runner?
AS – I was searching for something to calm me, calm my soul, calm the craziness of the world I found myself in. I went through devastating relationship circumstances and found myself as a victim of impersonation. Both situations were those that you “hear” about. Not situations that could possibly happen to a friend or family member, let alone yourself.
On a business trip to CPT in the November of 2011, I sat next to a runner, he recommended that I enter my first 21km, the Dischem 1/2 Marathon 2012. It was scheduled to take place 7 weeks from that discussion. I said, “why not?”. I started training a week later, and so began my journey of finding “me”.
EKL – How long have you been competing?
AS – Dischem 1/2 Marathon 2012 was run in January, I entered a few more events over the next few months before moving to Europe for the remainder of the year. Unfortunately, I only managed a few runs while away and was unable to carry out consistent training. This was incredibly tough for me, but it was a beautiful lesson in itself. I understood that running was a privilege, a freedom. When I returned to South Africa at the end of 2012, I put on my running shoes and never looked back.
EKL – As a runner what is your ultimate goal, and do you prefer road or trail running?
AS – There is no ultimate goal. My goals continuously evolve. First, my goal was to run the Comrades Marathon before the age of 30. After running my first Comrades Marathon at 27, I decided that my next goal was to achieve my back-to-back medal. Long term, I am aiming to complete 10 Comrades Marathons (time goals have been set for both the up and the down runs), to obtain my permanent number. I also have dreams and goals to Run various marathons around the world.
Road running over trail running, at the moment.
EKL – How do you prepare for a major race like Comrades from a training and nutrition point of view?
AS – Comrades training and training for any run is specific for the individual. I have battled with injuries from school netball, so have to be very focused on strength and stability. Personally, cross-training suits me best. It allows for your body to recover from the impact that running has on it, while still ensuring that you are getting exercise and working your muscles. Pre-Comrades, I identify events that I work towards for training, identify the full marathon that I will use as my Comrades qualifier, and ensure that I am prepared for those events. I tend to lean more towards the “tougher” runs, to not only prepare my body from a physical point-of-view but from a mental perspective as well.
Nutrition is key in training. You need to eat to fuel your muscles. I tend to stick to the proteins and vegetables, with the aim of cutting out all refined carbohydrates.
The greatest advice I can offer with Comrades preparation is to listen to your body, from a training and nutritional aspect. Don’t try “new” foods/gels / supplements close to a big run or event. Stick with what works for you, and if you want to experiment, do so on training and shorter runs.
EKL – Which runner inspires you and why?
AS – If I had to identify a famous runner, it would be Caroline Wöstmann. The ladies Two Oceans Ultra Marathon and Comrades Marathon winner of 2015. What inspires me the most, is that she is an “ordinary” person, with a family, a day time job and yet she has achieved, what most deem, the impossible.
The runners that share the road with me every day, inspire me. Take the time to chat to fellow runners, each runner has their own story, I have become incredibly emotional on many runs, after fellow runners have told me their story, of why they started running.
EKL – As a sport do you believe that running is growing in popularity in South Africa?
AS – Most definitely. The number of runners at events have increased year on year since I started entering events. I strongly believe that social media has had a positive part to play in this growth, with people sharing their personal running victories, which ultimately inspires others to join.
EKL – I know you’re training for the 5i50 Triathlon in Germiston later this year, what motivated you to make this move?
AS – Having taken part in a few open water swimming events and cycling events, and with cross training forming part of my schedule – I decided it was the natural progression. A new way to challenge myself, to overcome my weaknesses (I am a useless swimmer) and discover my limits. It is a personal goal, endurance events teach a person a lot about themselves. I decided that the 5i50 would be the perfect TRI to start with, before entering the Ironman events. And… it looks like HUGE fun!!!