An icy wind was blowing when we met at Spout Coffee. She was warmly wrapped in sporty attire with shiny, silver sneakers and we luckily found a cosy spot next to a heater.
Charné Bosman, sponsored by Murray & Roberts, just ran the Comrades and finished 8th. She is turning 44 this year and this was her 6th Comrades in which she won in her age group category. It is a dream of hers to pocket ten gold medals from the Comrades Marathon and it looks like she is reaching this goal rather quickly.
She is also an ambassador for the Spar Women’s Challenge Tshwane in which she was the winner of the inaugural race in 1997. She’s one of its longest-serving supporters, having missed only two races. Since then Bosman has grown into one of South Africa’s most recognisable ultra-distance runners and she says that through this she has learned to appreciate the meaning of the saying: Age is just a number. “I don’t view my age as a hindrance or something that should be overcome. My drive comes from within – I am an athlete and it is such a privilege to wake up each morning doing what I love best.”
This year’s Spar Women’s Challenge Tshwane goes hand in hand with what Charné believes in: Yes, I am. It is about embracing who you are as an individual and all the roles you play as a woman. Bosman personifies this year’s theme perfectly, overwriting the world’s perceptions of age and athletic performance. “I live my life on the premise that everything I want to achieve is within my reach,” she says. “I want to tell women that nobody can take your dream away and that you must never let go of something so precious to you.” She says that Yes, I am is not only a way of emphasising a person’s worth, but also to inspire women to claim their identity. “There is something great in all of us, but sometimes we must help others to discover it themselves.”
On 3 August, Bosman will line up with 25 000 women from all walks of life and all fitness levels for the Spar Women’s Challenge Tshwane – 22 years after she won it. It should be a day to remember.