• Mosibodi Whitehead

Marima's vision board journey teaches the importance of writing down one's goals

Although he is better known as a comedian Steve Harvey is gaining prominence as a motivational speaker these days. His rags to riches story underpinned by an unshakable faith in his Creator has endeared him to millions around the world who wish to follow in his footsteps. But for the man who made a name for himself in The Original Kings of Comedy, achieving success is less about wishing and more about planning - writing things down to be specific. “That’s what all successful people know, you gotta write it down. Writing it down makes it doable,” he told a packed hall of University Graduates.



Sipho Marima also believes in writing things down. The 30-year old Giyani-born runner has his wife to thank for first taking an interest in the sport four short years ago. "I remember my wife went to run the Pirates 21km race. I used party a lot then. I came back home around 1am and she woke me up at 4am to take her to the race," he explains. "After dropping her off I went back home to take a nap and when I came back to pick her up she was lying on the floor and paramedics were attending to her because was cramping and she was crying," he shares.


While comforting his wife Boipelo, the gym manager at Virgin Active asked her why she was crying because her pain was self-inflicted. When Boipelo responded by telling her party animal of a husband that he couldn't even handle half the pain she had endured while summiting Northcliff Hill, it struck a chord deep inside Sipho. Initially motivated by bravado, Marima started because he wanted to show his wife what he was made of, but after completing his first half marathon in 2 hours and 44 minutes six weeks later the running bug had bitten. In September 2018 he completed his first full marathon in 4:28, but he wanted to improve.


Marima with his wife Boipelo and the family pose for a photo in December 2020. Photo Credit: Sipho Marima.

"I do a lot of charity work through my running where I would run races for donations so I can give back to the less privileged. So at some stage I challenged myself to run an uncomfortable and that was at the Johnson Crane Marathon where I ran my marathon PB of 3:50 even though I was aiming for 3:40," he says. "I was disappointed and the first question I asked myself was; have I prepared enough, have I trained enough, have I worked hard enough for what I wanted from myself," Marima told #TheTopRunner.


Marima running the Johnson Crane Marathon in January 2020. Photo Credit: Sipho Marima.

These probing questions forced Sipho to reflect on his life, leading him to conclude that he only had himself to blame for all his life's failures. "I've never really given it my absolute best. So I decided that I'm going to research if an average runner can become a fast runner through hard work," he said. His reading led him on a journey of self discovery which pointed to the idea of a vision board being a necessary tool for achieving one's goals. "Having a vision board, having a dream that you put down on paper and say this is what I want to achieve, then allows you to come to terms with the fact that achieving that is going to require a lot of hard work."


Marima's vision board. Photo Credit: Sipho Marima.

And that's what he did. Sipho ran sub 20 for 5km, then sub 40 for 10km and under 90 minutes for the half marathon as set out in his vision board. It all culminated in Saturday's run whose aim was to see Sipho attain his first sub 3 hour clocking for 42,2km. Although he fell 3 agonising minutes short, Sipho learnt a great deal about himself through the process. He believes others can benefit from his vision board approach to running. "When you have a dream or a goal, don't let anyone tell you that you can't do it. When I started with the vision board I had people telling me that it's too early in my running career to start aiming for a sub 3 hour marathon or sub 90 over 21km. I discovered through this journey that the only person who can tell me what I can and what I can't do, is myself," he advised.


Marima is paced by sub 3 hour marathon runners including Bongani Bilankulu, Admire Muzopambwa and Wandisile Nongodlwana during his sub 3 hour marathon attempt on Saturday. Photo Credit: Bongani Bilankulu.

To ensure that others can learn from his experience, Sipho has documented his journey in a book. The self-published volume which will be available from April is entitled How lockdown unlocked my potential was borne out of a realisation of the brevity of life. Brought about by all the death that surrounded him, Sipho asked himself if he was happy with the life he had led to date. His introspection was the beginning of the journey that would ultimately lead to the vision board. "I think during that period I identified potential in myself that I never knew I had," he revealed.


That he has chosen to bare all his personal struggles in a publication reflects the spirit of a man who has come to rely on others as his source of strength. Something he learnt through the overwhelming support he received from other runners since he began his vision board journey in June 2020. "I was so, so shocked when I got the start at 04H30 and saw a lot of people. I had goosebumps. Throughout this journey the support and interaction has been amazing. People say I am their inspiration, but what they don't know is they are my inspiration because every time I want to give up I think to myself; is this the message that you want to send out there that every time it get's tough? You quit? No! The message I wanna send is that no matter how hard it gets, if you want something you work for it. The running community is such an amazing family," he said. "This is not only about me, this is about all of us."


Marima embraces his wife and daughter after running a 3:03 marathon Saturday. Photo Credit: Sipho Marima.

It's like Steve Harvey said - if you want to achieve it, write it down. Sipho's journey teaches us that.

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