Home of the Crocs ~ Founded in 2001
Home of the Crocs ~ Founded in 2001

Erika Sissison - 2007

Why did I start walking?
When I was widowed suddenly in 1988, I decided that I had to meet new people in order for me to get on with my life. Being a sporty type, I decided to give squash a go.

I started playing squash and ended up playing in the Zululand League. Due to the amount of squash I was playing I developed a common squash injury called Rotator Cuff Syndrome. My current husband Noel was running for the Empangeni Running Club at that time, and when we attended the running activities, I could feel the camaraderie and friendship that existed amongst the runners. Despite my injury, I continued playing squash but unfortunately hurt my back in the process. I had to lay off squash for quite a while, and out of sheer frustration started walking. One day I walked passed Lynn Bannock's home, and she asked if I wanted to join her and her two friends for a walk. Well, that was the beginning, and I haven't looked back since.

Being a new walker, I could not visualize myself walking further than 10 km. Needless to say, my first race was the Ladies Spar 10 km which I did with my daughter Lindsay. I thoroughly enjoyed the outing and the vibe that was generated by the walkers of all shapes and sizes. After seeing a couple of 'Crocodiles' participating in the walk, and the great time that they were having, I joined the new Umhlathuze Athletic Club. After competing in a couple more 10 km races, I wanted another walking challenge and set my sights on the then Ticor 21km race. Not knowing what to expect and not knowing the route, I teamed up with Sonia Baumann. When I finished in 3h20 minutes I was over the moon knowing that I could now do a 21km. Being a competitive person, I wanted to improve on my time and this year did the same route in 2h52 minutes, of which I am extremely proud.

I have competed in a number of walks since then, but the most challenging and humorous I found was the local Mfuli Mountain Challenge. If I can recall correctly, I was the only one that took the wrong route (despite it being clearly marked) at one stage, and for my mishap I was awarded the "Padsoeker" of the Year 2006 title at the annual prize giving.

My goal this year was to do the Illembe 50 km, but due to unforeseen circumstances I will not be able to do it. I have decided to do the Sani Stagger 21km walk instead, and am really looking forward to that.

I am very fortunate that my husband and I share the same outdoor interests. To me, walking is a way of life which I immensely enjoy.