Ndyebo Mapekula, took the challenge to the next level by completing his first ever marathon in the grounds of his apartment complex in one day. Picture: Instagram
Ndyebo Mapekula, took the challenge to the next level by completing his first ever marathon in the grounds of his apartment complex in one day. Picture: Instagram

This runner completed his first full marathon in his backyard in 5 hours

By Lifestyle reporter Time of article published Apr 9, 2020

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There is a challenge  among  runners on social media to keep them healthy and active.

The challenge requires runners to run 2km a day to make sure that by Day 21 of lockdown they would have ran a full marathon - 42km. 

However, captain of adidas Runners in Cape Town, Ndyebo Mapekula, took the challenge to the next level by completing his first ever marathon in the grounds of his apartment complex in one day. 

Mapekula got the idea from fellow Adidas Runners Captain of the Dubai team, Lee Ryan, who ran 100km in his 30m backyard: “I was inspired by how determined Lee was to complete this mountain of a task". During his run, Ryan spoke live on Instagram about having the right mindset to complete a challenge such as this. 

It took Mapekula just over five hours to complete the marathon – his main goal was just to finish. He wanted to test his ability of running in isolation with no music or external pressure from other runners. He went into the challenge not knowing what to expect, and continually thought about Ryan's advice on how to keep a positive mindset. 

“I’m not a marathon runner and never thought I’d run one. I usually run 21km and the shorter distances of 10km and 5km. The furthest I’ve run in one go is 25km. The way that Lee kept going back to one’s mindset, that’s what made me challenge myself, not just physically but mentally too. I really wanted to do it,” said Mapekula.

Mapekula believes that being healthy isn’t just about keeping fit and eating the right foods, he also believes that there’s a need for mental and emotional fitness too, and he believes that’s how he achieved his goal. 

What makes the achievement even more astonishing is the fact that Mapekula only came to a final decision the evening before embarking on the marathon. He made the decision to run late in the evening, and was up at 5am the following morning, ready to clock up the kilometres.

When asked if he would be challenging his friends to run their own marathons, he answered an emphatic “No!” He added, “This was my own mental challenge. If it was just about running a marathon, I probably wouldn’t have done it.” 

Mapekula's advice to those going through lockdown right now is to stay at home. “Use this time to get to know yourself better, and your capabilities. We tend to make excuses that we don’t have the time for certain things, and now is the time to do those things. You don’t need to do a marathon in your backyard - you could start a new book, try a new hobby, or bond with your partner or children. Use this time to take care of your mental, emotional and physical health. We have the time to be better versions of ourselves, not just externally but internally as well.” 


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