32Gi is proud to support many athletes and clubs around the world. Back in South Africa, they have teamed up with Born2Run for 2017. This club caters for anyone from your Average Joe, to Elite Runners. The club also has a great structure in place that helps support development. On this episode of 32Gi Sports Nutrition, hear more from Elite Team Manager, Grant Johnson; about the club and how they also help drive good nutritional practices.
This is 32Gi Sports Nutrition, welcome back, I’m Mr Active, David Katz. Great pleasure to have a guest on the show today and it’s Grant Johnson who is the Elite Team Manager for Born2Run Running Club in South Africa. Grant thanks very much for joining us on the podcast.
Grant Johnson: Thanks David for having me.
DK: Grant, first of all, I love the concept of Born2Run. For people out there, people maybe who are not based in South Africa; just explain to them what happens. Because it’s a club that is a little bit different. It’s not based in one location, you can join it anywhere in the country. But the best part of that club is that some of the members, that portion of money they pay, that then goes on to support development runners. I think that’s fantastic.
GJ: Yes, so the club started about four years ago. We’ve got a club within East London, within Cape Town and Johannesburg. Then we’ve got a satellite club basically where members from around the country which aren’t in any of those three provinces can still run for the club.
DK: Just explain to us more about that initiative; how members who join and can pay. Can afford to pay a bit more, then sponsor some athletes who can’t afford?
A structure that supports development runners
GJ: First of all, to be part of the club, generally if you want to be part of the teams that fall under the elite or members that fall under the elite team. You need to be within the province where there’s more than, I think it’s three members in terms of being in the top ten for example, for Comrades or Two Oceans. But then a lot of clubs can become very expensive.
So in terms of development athletes, we offer them clothing which we get from Puma and shoes from Puma. Then we also get members that contribute. In terms of our development athletes, we have a sponsor, an athlete programme. So those that have a bit of extra money can contribute in terms of helping development athletes realise their dreams.
DK: Grant, what are some of the successes you’ve seen out of that programme in the last four years?
GJ: Well, for example a few of our elite athletes at the moment started off as development athletes. So Maputhi has become a brilliant trail runner and she’s making very good progress. Not just in terms of the trail series running or the long distance trail races; she’s also doing very well and excelling at road running.
She’s obviously inspiring a lot of development athletes or athletes alone that cannot afford to run or afford to get shoes. To get shoes, to get inspired, to show that even if you don’t have money, there are ways in which you can realise your dreams.
DK: As an elite club you’ve had a lot of success over the last couple of years at the Comrades Marathon, which of course is the ultra running Holy Grail, especially here in South Africa, but world renown. Yes, the development runners, they’re coming through, but as an elite club, you guys have a decent pedigree as well and especially in the ladies?
Keeping top class Comrades Marathon runners fuelled
GJ: Yes, in last year’s Comrades we had three Gold Medallists and our fourth lady came in in 13th place. So this year the goal is to get four of our ladies, at least, into the top ten.
DK: Very impressive, very hard race and anything can happen on the day. Grant, looking at nutrition, you guys have an association now with 32Gi. A lot of that I presume goes into helping the elite team and of course the development runners.
GJ: That’s correct. Our club, or should I say 32Gi sponsors the elites. The club purchases nutrition from 32Gi to help our development athletes to obviously get through races without having to just use Coke and water. Which is generally what our athletes get, or people taking part in races get given. It helps them achieve their goals; it helps them to get there a bit faster. Without breaking down and having to walk half of the race as we see a lot of athletes do do.
DK: Grant, from a nutritional point of view, as a Team Manager, you’re a runner yourself; you do a bit of coaching, what advice do you pass on to the athletes?
GJ: Athletes need to make sure that they don’t run out of energy. 32Gi as a nutritional supplement helps you with that because it helps you from not spiking. What happens is, as you’re running your race, your glucose levels or your sugar levels drop. Whereas 32Gi helps to keep you going.
It doesn’t give you spikes in terms of energy and it doesn’t make you hit a humungous low. Which the general drinks would give you, or sweets, which are given to you on races give you. They help keep you at a level where you can keep going for longer basically.
The importance of a nutritional education
DK: One thing Mark Wolff always preaches is natural food first, clean food first. Of course with events like Ultra Marathons and the Comrades Marathon you do need to add and supplement. But in terms of that and looking back at the development guys, are you giving them a lot of advice when it does come to every day nutrition and nutrition then around a race?
GJ: We give them as much as we can. The nice thing with 32Gi is that they are always willing to offer advice and help coach people in terms of their, how to use their products successfully. I know that 32Gi is coming to give a talk before Two Oceans and I think also before Comrades in order to help train people.
A lot of people using other supplements, for example, they don’t know how to use these products, along with 32Gi. Because they take a whole lot of products, they think the more I take, the better I’ll perform. There is such a thing as overdosing on sports supplements. So they’re going to help train in terms of when to take what products in order to get you through the race the best.
DK: If you are listening to us somewhere outside of South Africa and you’ve never heard of the Comrades Marathon, I’ll put a link to it, it is an incredible race. As is the Old Mutual Two Ocean’s Marathon, which is also an ultra, not quite as far but around Cape Town and it really is a beautiful race.
I’ll put links up to that if you want to find out more about those two great South African Ultra Marathons. Grant coming back, you’re a runner yourself, quite a decent runner, what are some of the tricks that you have when it comes to nutrition?
Grant’s best piece of nutritional advice
GJ: Well, first of all you need to eat before a race. A lot of people think, if I have a big meal the night before, then I don’t really need to take supplements when I’m racing. But even I have had instances where I’m in a hurry to get to a race, I don’t eat properly before the race. Yes, you start off as you would normally do, but half way through the race you can actually feel your body dipping. The good thing is to obviously train your body.
Another thing is that you need to practice or train your body to use different supplements. Because a lot of times people think, oh, I’m going to do this big race so let me take these supplements. If your body is not used to it, your body will react differently or it will not react in the way that you would expect it to.
DK: One of the most basic bits of advice there, never try anything new on race day, but I think every single runner at some point has made that stupid mistake Grant. I probably have, I’m not sure if you have?
GJ: Yes, I have actually.
DK: Well, there we go every single runner! We know it and we preach it, but every now and then, you do learn your lesson very quickly. Grant, thank you very much for joining is; before I let you go, if people want to find out more about Born2Run and maybe that ‘Adopt an Athlete’ programme, how do they do so?
GJ: The best way to do it is to go onto our website, which is www.born2runac.co.za.
DK: Perfect Grant, thank you very much. Such a natural form of exercise and fitness regime, we love talking running on the show here on 32Gi Sports Nutrition. From myself Mr Active, David Katz, we’ll catch up with you again on the podcast very soon.