She was never a conformist growing up. Very early on in life, she bartered Barbie dolls for finessing the art of ‘mokanangwana’. When weaves, cliques and ‘kozekuse’ was the life in tertiary, she donned the number 8 jersey for her varsity banyana-banyana team. Her spectacular display on the flanks, switching comfortably from left to right depending on the mood, earned her the heavy jersey number 15 on the SASSU National Team starting line-up. She continued playing post varsity but a few months in, growth crept in and life happened. She subsequently found herself inactive and the weight gradually piling on. Her saving grace became the connections she made during her diski days. During her middle fielding days she befriended some unforgettable people. One such person was the lion who later lured her into embodying all that this pride Fat Cats, is about.
Ladies, gentlemen and Cats, it is Wednesday and today we are crushing on ‘Fat-Cats-compressed-into-a-petite-gorgeous-dynamic-package’ … Lebo “Dynamite” Mathatho.
This descendent of the white glove, ‘steppe’ nation of Mahwelereng in Mokopane, Limpopo, was born on the 25th September 1981. She graduated to university during the era when information technology was fashionable. She briefly jumped on that wagon before she realised that her passion lies elsewhere. It was at module 16 of her National Diploma in Security Risk Management that she knew she had found her niche. Her action prone, energetic, inquisitive and very interrogative child was being nursed. She went on to be a modern day Cop and later expanded into Forensic Investigation.
Her pursuit for a better life did not conventionally lead her to the City of Gold but rather had her relocating from her country of origin and finding a habitat in Europe aka Zilleville, or to the par minded, Cape Town. A country she has called home for the past 6 years and a home that has the #Redskippa❤family flirting with the idea of expanding its footprint – and Lebo being the engineer in charge.
“When I relocated to Cape Town six years ago, I was inactive. Then one day, while I was going on with my typical couch potato ways, I spotted some running posts by Tshepo Makwela. It must have been 2014, if not 2015 and his weight loss, achieved through running, was amazing”. That pinnacle moment led her to supporting Fat Cats at the finish line of OMTOM in 2015. “There must have been about six FCAC athletes, with Michelle being the only female”. The jubilance she experienced when seeing people crossing the finish line led her to her first OMTOM race in 2016, and as they say the rest is history.
“Running has since changed my life in the most spectacular and fulfilling way. I have learned the value of time, good health, focus, commitment, success and the power of mind, body and soul. It has also taught me the value of friendship, sportsmanship and yes, love”.
In 2016, she braved her first Ultimate Race, and by far the longest she had ever ran. This at the back of 600km solo training. “As if in direct competition with the earliest bird, before the fattest worm could be snatched we were already up and about. Shelela Tours, our tour operator of choice, had our breakfast ready. I had my oats, took my camel pack with supplements and a tambourine I was gifted with by my club-mate Smoky😻. This would keep me company in case the going got tough or boredom harboured me along the route”. Now the tambourine has become part of her signature pacing act. With her, she also had a little blanket for the early morning cold at the start and the on-route gifting to the less fortunate that line up yearly to support Comrades Marathon runners. She triumphed her first down run in 2016 with a time of 11H48. She has since plummeted her times yearly ever after. Completing with a time of 11H33 in 2017 on the up run and crushing the 2018 down run with a bronze medal time of 10H51. Legendary!
She was one of two Fat Cats ladies that lined up for the Comrades Marathon in 2016. The two were also instrumental in beckoning more women to take up running and more women to line up for the Comrades Marathon. “After my first Comrades Marathon, I was diagnosed with anaemia. The doctor informed me that this would be life altering, especially since I am an endurance runner. Suddenly I had to hawk my menstrual cycle and flow. The daily intake of iron supplements became a monotonous routine. But I never skipped a dose because I was wary of the fact that failure could result in a cardiac failure or even worse, death”. This however has never stopped her from doing what she loves and enjoy, running. “Hey, #SheRunsPeriod! LOL!”
She is passionate about living and loving, creation and rewarding deeds, her CIA ways, and of course family.
When she is not running, she unwinds with a palatable SA fermented bottle of bubbles, travels in pursuit of the best bubble destination and even hikes alps, like Neil Joubert Wine Run, chasing bubbles.
“What can I say, I am a simple person. I live to love and I love to live!”