Annie Bothma is a name you have been hearing a lot of lately, especially to anyone in the Western Province where since returning from America has been dominating the local road running scene and looks to take that nationally come 2019.
The Nedbank Green Dream Team athlete has come back to South Africa a different athlete then when she left the country 3 years ago. Leaving for the States in August 15, Bothma looked forward to a successful International opportunity for college and sport but it was a rollercoaster of emotions and tragedy for the young athlete who is now based in Sea Point in Cape Town.
“I went to Boise State University (BSU) in Idaho for one year and after just a month there I had my first mishap,” said Bothma. “I was hit by a truck biking from practice. Being injured and having to adjust to being alone in a foreign country was very hard.”
Bothma toughed it out for a year before deciding to transfer to Coastal Carolina University which saw Bothma have great success.
“My second University was a lot better and the three seasons that I competed for CCU I won 4 Conference titles (2 x Indoor 5000m, 5K Cross Country and 10000m Outdoor track). I also won two NCCA regional titles in the 10000m and 6K Cross Country. I ran in the 10000m at the NCAA National Championships at Eugene in 2017 and became an All-American (Top 20).”
Everything was going right for Bothma but the fairytale dream ended up turning into tragedy yet again. “Sadly, I went through yet another car accident at the beginning of this year. This time I was driving and my car rolled after being hit from the side. Physically I didn’t get hurt, I only suffered a concussion and whiplash, but mentally it broke me. I had enough.” After that Bothma decided to come back to South Africa, “where I am surrounded by my people - the ones that love me most.”
The last 5 months since returning from the States have been the best moments of Bothma’s life she says. Besides dominating the road, Bothma has finished her masters in personal training as well as starting up her own business called Fired Fitness.
“I am proud to be back running in the Green and feel stronger and healthier than ever before.” Being part of the Nedbank Green Dream Team setup has also assisted Bothma in reaching her goals. “Nedbank definitely had a big part in my early development as young athlete. I started running for Nedbank in December 2013. For the next year and a half after that, before I left to go to the States in August 2015, Nedbank supported me a lot by giving me running shoes, supplements and helping me compete and get exposure at bigger races.”
Focusing not only just in running has transformed Bothma into one of the Country’s best road runners.
“I would say one of the biggest contributions to my progress lies in my strength and conditioning training. Before I left to the States I hardly did anything to strengthen and correct my weakness, while now my strength training form a big part of my program. I don’t do any other forms cross training anymore. I also changed my warm-up regimes and included more dynamic exercises as part of my routine.
Bothma also gives praise to her coach Bennie Stander that has guided her to success. “He is the one coach who manages to keep me both injury free and help me get good results. He knows what works well for me and never gave up on me despite my all accidents and medical history.”
Looking ahead to 2019 Bothma wants to take her current form nationally. “Expect to see me at most of the major races across the country. I will be chasing fast times and just giving it my best.”