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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

Cross country is key to Bosman's longevity as she sets new 10km age group record at SPAR Grand Prix

When it comes to longevity, few can claim to do it better than Charne Bosman. Almost twenty years after setting her 10km personal best of 33:50 in Nelspruit in 2002, the 45-year old came within two minutes of that performance when she set a new age group record during the Cape Town leg of yesterday's SPAR Grand Prix series. Bosman stopped the clock in 35:32 which is a new national record for runners aged 45 to 49. The Murray and Roberts athlete believes she is still competitive after almost three decades as a top runner because she was patient and started on the track and cross country before moving to the roads.

Bosman cruising to victory in her category during the Cape Town leg of the SPAR 10km Grand Prix. Photo Credit: Charne Bosman.

"It started in 1992," she told #TheTopRunner. "I remember we had moved from East London to Pretoria and my niece was running so I started running with her. And from the very first step, I just loved it and I am still loving it," explained the woman who first appeared on the running radar as a promising cross country runner named Charne Rademeyer. "When I started running, within my first six months I got my Gauteng North colours for cross country and then in 1995 I came second at SA Cross Country champs and that was automatic selection for the World Cross Country champs," she recalls.

Bosman didn't look back. After first representing South Africa at the 1996 World Cross Country championships in Cape Town, she became a stalwart of the team earning selection for the next six years in a row. That was to be the foundation of a road running career which would culminate in victory at the 2016 Comrades Marathon, but not before tackling the SPAR Grand Prix series where her cross country background saw Bosman excel.

Where it began with cross country, Bosman enjoys trail running these days where she is no stranger to the podium. Photo Credit: Stillwater Sports.

"My first SPAR Ladies race was the Pretoria one. That was in 1997. I was running 35 minutes at altitude still," she shares. Bosman went on to win the Soweto Marathon before turning to the ultras. But when the Covid19 lockdown brought an end to the ultra marathons the youthful veteran turned to the trails, while working on her speed over the shorter distances. That paid off handsomely this weekend as the school teacher finished just outside the top 10 (twelfth) at the Greenpoint Stadium, only nine seconds behind tenth placed Lebogang Phalula-Luthuli. More impressively though, this new record is a mere two seconds slower than the 35:30 she ran when she made her SPAR Ladies debut 24 years ago!

"Cross country was a big thing back then in South Africa and I was training a lot for cross country and I think that's why my career lasted such a long time, because I started with cross country and I did track. And I only started running on the road later. I did my first half marathon when I was 23 years of age and my first marathon when I was 28. I must say, I'm turning 46 this year but the thing is that when you really love something you will keep on going and that's the reason. Every morning when I wake up I still enjoy my running. And that's the positive thing," she shared.

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