Long distance runner Veronica “Vee” Mthethwa wants to do South Africa proud by completing the NYC Marathon today.
DURBAN - Ballito domestic worker turned long distance runner Veronica “Vee” Mthethwa was not deterred by the terror attack that took place on Tuesday in New York. Instead, she planned to fly the South African flag high when she joins thousands of athletes in the city’s marathon on Sunday.

“We are not scared but of course we will be cautious,” she said on Saturday.

On Tuesday Sayfullo Saipov was alleged to have deliberately driven a truck down a bike lane which claimed eight lives and resulted in several injuries. It was the first incident of terror in New York City following the 9/11 bombings.

With her employer and best friend Jody Cameron by her side, Mthethwa took her first international flight to the US on Thursday.

“We are obviously more aware of our surroundings so we practise caution while we are here but we’ve had to deal with a lot to get here and we are focusing on the positive,” said Cameron.

Mthethwa, who has been on a strict diet, said she was excited about the race. She had a lingering foot injury but said she was ready.

The 34-year-old said it was a dream come true for her to run the NYC Marathon and she hoped it would inspire other people to follow her.

“I couldn’t have come this far without Jody and Peter (Cameron). They have shown me how your employer can end up being your family. They support me in all that I do and Jody is the one who does all the running around doing fundraising and making arrangements for me to live my dream."

She said during her "Dreaming of NY" fundraising campaign she saw the true generosity of people.

“I am still in shock. I have been blessed by over 100 people from all walks of life who have made this happen for me. I’m speechless from the kindness everyone has shown me and so grateful to be fortunate enough to have my dream come true.”

She wants to use her run in New York to raise funds for Summerhill House, an NPO which runs a feeding scheme and an orphanage in Etete, outside Stanger. “We learnt very quickly that they are in need of support so we are going to do something really crazy and attempt to raise R1 million."

SUNDAY TRIBUNE