“Being a good sportsman takes integrity. Sometimes you have to make hard decisions, but you have to follow through.”
In 2022 Leanda (aka Dada) was invited to represent SA at the Biathle World Championships in Madeira, Portugal.
This was a dream come true. She raised the necessary funds, packed in the training and headed to compete on the world’s stage, only to find that she had a stress fracture.
The 29-year-old started running at the age of 10. “My dad started coaching me for longer distance running events. I loved to run but at that age there are only short distances. I didn’t have the speed, so I always came last. He motivated and supported me.”
Dada loves spending her time outdoors. If she isn’t cycling, running, or swimming, she’s competing at Biathle, or Triathlon.
“A normal day for me means training before and after work. I commute to work most days which is literally the best breath of fresh air. I also get to cut through the traffic.”
Being an athlete herself, the Run Store sales representative can relate to her customer’s problems when it comes to finding their perfect shoe. A big benefit in her industry.
Finding herself in Portugal with a stress fracture was hard a pill to swallow. Facing the fact that she’d travelled so far, not able to perform how she’d hoped, she was left having to reset her mind.
“The race is not over until you reach the finish line.” She completed the race but is still determined to create another opportunity to win a medal at an international event.
Looking back at her support structure, she mentions riding partner and favourite person, Curtis. “He is the one who had the patience and belief in me when I could hardly ride without falling (at least once). He helped me become a better cyclist and killed the fear of hills (I now love them).”
Her standout memory is completing the Old Mutual Double Century for the first-time with her club’s second team (Bellville Cycling Club). This is her furthest distance cycled to date.
“Sport has given me reason to live more organized, it has helped me meet new people and made me realize that I can achieve things that I never thought possible.”
Follow her: @dada.dubruyn