The Global Running Family gets a Six Star Rating from Wandisile

AWMM Candidate   |  Apr. 02, 2024

When speaking to Wandisile about running, it immediately becomes apparent that he is not only in love with the sport itself but the local and international running community at large. “Runners are a different kind of people,” says Wandisile. “They are some of the most welcoming and most supportive humans you will ever meet”. 

In many ways, it is this love for this community that led him to pursue his Six Star journey, aiming to run all six of the Abbot World Marathon Majors. He recalls how his first Major was made possible because of a friend, Michael Clayton, that he made through Strava. “Micheal lives in America and we met through Strava. He invited me to come and run the Chicago Marathon, saying he would host me if I did. Initially I thought he was joking, but before I knew it I was on a plane to meet him in person,” explains Wandisile. Since then, Wandisile has gone on to run five of the other Majors, clocking some seriously impressive times like a 2h35 at Tokyo in March this year. With five Majors already in the bank, London is the six star race for him, and in true Wandisile fashion he’s doing it for the community as an Official Pacer.

Running for a Major Cause: Using Running to Help Others

Wandisile will be pacing the 3h15 bus and explains that this opportunity feels equally as exciting and rewarding as hunting down a personal best. “It’s fun to run fast, but it is equally rewarding to pace. This is my contribution to the community, to run with these people. They will arrive at the race hoping for someone to carry them along to that 3h15 finish, and I will be there. For some of them it will be their first time reaching that milestone; I find it so fulfilling helping them achieve this target goal,” he says while beaming with pre-emptive pride. 

On top of his pacing duties, Wandisile talks to us about how he’s used running, and specifically running the Majors, to fundraise. “Running must be more than about me. I want to see that six star medal and know that others have benefitted from my journey” he shares. He’s raised funds for the American Red Cross on two occasions, and for his hometown, Soto Village, back in South Africa on a further two occasions.“ This is my way of giving back to the community,” and so we see his global community stretching ever further, past just runners.

Cultural Diversity Makes the Majors for Wandisile

When asked about his favourite Major, he laughs and says that’s like choosing a favourite child. He explains that each and every Major offers a unique experience, and this is part of what makes the journey so special. “One of the best parts of running the Majors was experiencing this global running culture, and the diversity out there. And, well, I think Cape Town has a lot to offer in this regard,” says Wandisile. “We are an incredibly rich and diverse country and runners would get to experience a completely new vibe and culture,” he explains.

“There’s also so much to see in Cape Town,” he says, punting the tourism draw card of the Mother City.“ In terms of the other Majors I have run, I think the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon is on par, and I have no doubt that we have what it takes to become a Major,” he adds.

He ends by saying “I love that we are all different, and from all over the world, and it is running that unites us. This sport is magic like that”. And not only is this sport magic, but Wandisile, a shining ambassador of this sport, is too. Let’s wish him well as he represents us in London!

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