Zonke and Zama Mthethwa reject the idea that women are inherently in competition with one another and have used their all-women running club as an inclusive and safe fitness environment for the women runners in Johannesburg.
The siblings decided to extend their sisterhood to their community and started The Pack running club.
Every Saturday at 6:30am, the women gather at their Rosebank meeting spot to begin their run in the area. The runs are distributed into different fitness levels; 5km, 8km and 15km.
“We started The Pack because we recognised the importance of having a safe and inclusive environment for women to get into running. We take great inspiration from women all around us and wanted to create a space where we can continue to embrace, engage and empower one another,” said Zonke.
Zonke said safety has always been a huge concern but they have found other great benefits to having a women-only running club.
“We come from a society where women are often pitted against each other, and there is this widespread generalisation that we always only see one another as competition. It was important to create this platform and change the narrative. This is a positive space were women motivate, uplift and celebrate one another,” she said.
Running clubs are not a new phenomenon, the Nike and Adidas running clubs are well known in South Africa, but Zonke maintains that there is a need for a women-only running club.
“The difference is that the experience becomes more relatable. The starting point for all runners is the same, and seeing people progress and reach particular milestones motivates you to do the same.
“Not only are you working towards getting better, but you are surrounded by people who want to provide you with the support and tools you need to reach your running objectives. We're all rooting for one another, and that's what sets this apart,” she said.
Zonke said their ultimate goal is “to get more women on the road” to share knowledge with so that everyone gets the most out of the experience.
“The plan is to make The Pack experience available to women from different pockets of the country and the continent,” she said.
The Pack also has a branch in Cape Town that gathers at 7:30am in the City Centre, but it's not the only running club dedicated to women.
Catch Me If You Can is another all-women running club. This is an app based running club that offers free and paid for membership. It encourages women around the country to be leaders of a running club in their towns or cities.
This running club is available in different areas of Johannesburg, George, Richards Bay, Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria.
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