Linda Doke - passionate athlete donates sports gear to LEAP
Linda Doke is a trail runner by passion and a journalist by profession. She has been running for 16 years and after moving to Cape Town ten years ago, discovered a love for trail running. Linda kindly donated a number of sportswear items for use by young LEAP athletes (read more about LEAP here). These aspirant triathletes - many of whom will be competing in the BSG Energade TriSeries final in Cape Town on the 5th of December - were thrilled at the prospect of now being able to training in the appropriate gear. Linda recently spoke to us about what inspires and motivates her.
Why did you start doing trail running?
I started trail running in about 2003, when I moved to Cape Town from Joburg. I had been a road runner until then, and hiking the various trails around the Cape peninsula got me longing to do something more than, well, simply hike. I live in Hout Bay so am spoilt for choice when it comes to mountains to run on, and the shift from road to trail was easy – I took to it as though I’d always be doing it!
What made you make the donation to LEAP?
I heard about LEAP through BSG’s Greg Reis. The programme is an incredible initiative and one that can benefit South Africa from a grassroots level. Learning and education is fundamental to any country’s future – it provides the cornerstone to growth and progress. Sport too provides an important level of learning – apart from all the health benefits derived from physical activity, it teaches goal-setting, drive, competition, communication and teamwork, and is vital for shaping young people into clear-thinking, responsible adults. Blending education with sport provides a good balance of learning, encouraging well-rounded, well-adapted people that are able to work well together and look to the future.
Why are you passionate about growing this sport?
I’m passionate about encouraging all sports – the more sports we have to offer our youth, the greater their growth and learning potential.
Have you ever done a triathlon? If not, would you?
Definitely – I tried my hand at triathlons between 2004 and 2006. I did a few short distance triathlons and then did Ironman PE in 2005 and 2006 (best time 12:16) and then opted to head back to purely running (both road and trail). I’m not much of a cyclist, I’m afraid – I far prefer being on two legs than two wheels.
How do you feel when you finish a race?
It depends on the length of the race and its degree of difficulty. But I usually feel tired and elated.
What are the highlights of competing for you?
I love the challenge of pushing myself, of learning how to maximize my strengths and improve my weaknesses, of racing other people, and of racing the clock. The ideal race for me is tough, challenging, technical – and if it can have fantastic views, that’s a bonus!
What is your weekly routine to maintain a good physical condition?
Being an ultra-distance trail runner I need to focus on strength conditioning as well as endurance and stamina. Personally I don’t find that training big mileage each week works for me, and I opt instead for lower mileage made up of quality workouts. I tend to run 5 to 6 days a week, averaging about 70 - 80km a week. I make sure my workouts are varied, with a lot of hill work, and technical ascents and descents. I also try to get to the gym a couple of times a week for leg strengthening and stability work.
How do you find the time to prepare for a race and maintain a balanced life style?
I’m really fortunate – I work freelance (as a journalist) from home, so I’m able to juggle my work and my training into my average day. I’m also lucky that my husband Craig is also a runner, and we share a love for fitness and trails. He’s tremendously supportive of all my trail running, and is always there whenever I need him.
What would you say to other athletes that would like to do trail running?
Don’t keep talking about it – start today! Get onto the trails and experience the joy of freedom – to run and to be alive!
Ask questions and get advice