Words: Lisa de Speville
As I see the seats filling up and my interactions with speakers and helpers and sponsors and audience increases in the lead up to FEAT, I find it harder to keep my lips sealed. And so, even though I introduced you to two more speakers yesterday, I just can't resist introducing you to two more wonderful speakers - Sam Stainton and Hazel Moller - to kick off your weekend of adventure and activity.
As I won't get a chance to tell stories about speakers on the night at FEAT, I'll tell you one now about Hazel. As a runner myself, I can relate more closely to her exploits than disciplines with which I'm not familiar and as such I am always impressed - and proud - of what an incredible runner Hazel is.
It is interesting reading the bios of speakers, especially those I know. In this case Hazel's bio triggered memories of how we met.
Hazel and I met in the 90s, through aerobics - which I was equally addicted to, especially step aerobics. We attended classes regularly together for many years and it took some time before we started chatting.
When she was pregnant with her first daughter, Hazel ran through the pregnancy and although she slowed down, she ran as beautifully as ever (she makes running look easy). After her daughter was born I remember her telling me how the day before she delivered, a Sunday afternoon if I remember correctly, she was out for an afternoon run and after 18 kilometres she felt 'quite tired'. She phoned her husband to fetch her. Hazel went into labour in the early hours of morning. Shortly after her second daughter was born I saw Hazel at Johnson Crane. She came through for the 21, skipping on the marathon so that she could get back to feed her baby girl.
And Hazel just keeps getting better. In May I followed her Ten10 Challenge closely, waiting eagerly for updates on her progress. Running 90km every day for 10 days - on tar... remarkable!
Tickets have been flying this week. Book yours through entrytickets.co.za.
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About the speakers
SAMANTHA STAINTON started climbing seven years ago at the age of 12 and her focus has been sport climbing - lead and boulder. "I do it for the adventure and the people because climbers are definitely the best kind of people," she says. Last year Sam was selected to represent climbing at the Youth Olympic Games and she placed 19th in the semi-finals at the World Youth Championships in New Caledonia. So far this year her climbing highlight has been 7th at the KAILAS bouldering competition in China. She has also won gold at competitions in Gauteng this year. Sam is currently studying BA Motion Picture at AFDA. Climbing + film = a perfect recipe for great things to come. At FEAT Kids Sam speaks about 'Behind the chalky hands'.
Looking at her long-distance running achievements you'd never guess that HAZEL MOLLER wasn't always a runner. Prior to moving to Jo'burg in 1994 for work as a chemical engineer, her sporting achievements were zero. New to the city, Hazel took up aerobics at the local gym to meet people. She loved it and within a year got her instructor qualification. To keep fit, she started running on weekends. In 1999 Hazel ran her first Comrades Marathon; she has run 14 more since. While running the Bergville to Ladysmith Ultra in 2001, she met Chris - they married three months later. They have two daughters and Hazel ran through both pregnancies, up to the day before each baby was born. In the years since running her first Washie 100 miler in 2001, Hazel has completed 26 100-mile races! Her proudest results include the winning the Midlands 100-miler in 2005 outright - against men and women, a Washie double in 2013 (in 42 hours she covered 322km) and her Ten10 challenge this year, where she ran the equivalent of 10 Comrades Marathons in 10 days. "I am not an athletic person - I have been asthmatic since childhood. But," she says, "I train hard because I love running."