Meet the lucky Whale of Trail winner, Sonja Cowlin

“I was sitting at home affairs which is one of my least favourite places in the world when I got the call to say that I’d won Whale of Trail entries. I was beyond delighted and my reaction definitely caused a few heads to turn.”

Sonja Cowlin, our 2018 Whale of Trail competition winner, has been having an absolute blast getting ready for the run with her partner of choice, her husband John!

Read how they’ve been getting into shape, what they’re most nervous for and why doing this race is reason to make them smile!

  1. How did you feel when you found out you’d won the entries?

I was sitting at home affairs which is one of my least favourite places in the world when I got the call to say that I’d won Whale of Trail entries. I was beyond delighted and my reaction definitely caused a few heads to turn. I have always wanted to do this race. John (my husband) and I have hiked the five-day trail and I have friends who have done the race, so it’s been on my bucket list for a while.

  1. What kind of training have you been doing?

With a busy schedule between work and kids we have had to be creative with our training. Thankfully we have my mom living with us, so we can train together over weekends which has involved a lot of awesome new routes like: Newlands, Constantia Neck, Vredehoek, Orange Kloof, Cable car road etc. For the beach training we have run on Blouberg, Muizenberg and Onrus beaches and during the week we to try and squeeze in a few early morning runs before the day starts.

Two years ago we planned this amazing trip with friends to Namibia…. long before we knew about winning the race entries, and it has turned out to be over the time when we need to peak in our training. We’ve used that to our advantage though, and have thoroughly enjoyed finding time and new routes whilst spending time with friends in Namibia. The dunes at Sossusvlei came in very handy for some beach training, and we did a crazy 20km midday run through the desert in 29°C. I felt a bit like a rare desert animal as people pointed and took photos of these crazies! Made me laugh. We also found some hills and rocky mountains in Etosha and Fish river Canyon.

  1. Which part of the route scares you the most?

Initially the beach part scared me the most and the thought of running that on tired legs is daunting. However, I think I am now more afraid of the hilly start and pacing myself so that I reserve my energy for the last few kays.

  1. Which part of the route are you most prepared for?

I am hoping that our training on different terrains have prepared us for both mountain and beach. I feel confident that with we will be well prepared for the sand!

  1. What most excites you about the Whale of Trail?

The idea of getting to run that beautiful route again makes me so happy. I can’t wait to embrace the beautiful scenery; the landscape, the vultures, the whales and just soaking it all up. I want to enjoy every moment and am delighted to be able to do this with my hubby and best friend John. The trail holds very special memories for us both and the journey of doing our first long trail run together has been challenging yet very rewarding.

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