Even though Charmaine Botha was always active growing up and managed to compete at cross country national championships at school level, she found running around a track monotonous.  

In high school, she took up cycling and from there went on to run her first Comrades Marathon when she was at university in 2007.  

Charmaine is a teacher and a mom of twins. Her twins were born premature and she had to take a year off work and training took an obvious back seat for a few years. Her twins are 7 years old now and so life has bounced back to some normality (as normal as life can be with twins) over the last 3 years or so and Charmaine picked up where she had left off.  

Back to training, and with Ironman goals in sight, Charmaine taught herself how to swim. 

About 2 years ago Charmaine joined the Coach Parry Online Training Club in the hopes of finishing the Ironman 70.3 in East London that she previously DNF’d.

Charmaine went on to successfully complete the half Ironman in East London and was building up to the big one – Ironman South Africa in Port Elizabeth – and her 5th Comrades.  

Charmaine was in amazing shape.  

And then Covid hit.

I think we can all agree that 2020 has generally not been a kind year as a result of the pandemic, and with IMSA and Comrades being cancelled there didn’t seem to be much training joy around… 

…until Charmaine ran her fastest 21km in 11 years and also went on to PB over the 10km distance too! (take that 2020) 

With IMSA and Comrades being cancelled due to COVID, Charmaine had deferred her IMSA entry to 2021 and took CoachParry’s advice to focus on some shorter distance running during this time.  

What started as an easy Sunday 21km run with clubmates, quickly turned into a slightly faster pace and a finish time of 1:48 and her fastest 21km time in 11 years! I would love to have seen what she could’ve done in an actual race on this day.

“It was honestly the first time in more than 13 years that I have managed to run a half marathon easily under two hours, smashing it in under 1:50… 

Thanks to Coach Parry, and his awesome team. I am back and loving it!” 

Eight weeks later Charmaine went on to crush another PB running 10km in 49:20, where her previous PB was 52minutes, also only being run before having her twins 7 years ago. 

These times have motivated Charmaine to keep going even in times of uncertainty and kept her IMSA 2021 and 5th Comrades goals on track. 

I asked Charmaine what the biggest contributor to her success has been…

“It has to be the Coach Parry green blocks on the platform! I hate having red ones!  I also enjoy the forum, there is always someone on call to answer my many questions, share in my successes and of course my failures. Consistency is definitely key, and strength training has become a part of my training, something that I never paid much attention to before” Charmaine said

This is one of my favourite Fast Friday stories we’ve ever written. In a year that has taken so much from us all, Charmaine has found success. 

Where most people say they “don’t have time” to train and reach their goals Charmaine has done this as a wife, a mom of twins, a high school teacher, a swimming and cross country coach…  

…Charmaine’s answer to time management – “Well let’s just say it requires a lot of early mornings and late evenings, a lot of naps on the weekend to recover, and a lot of love and good food to keep my husband happy as best I could” 

Charmaine, you are superwoman! 

We are so proud to have you on the CoachParry team and can’t wait to get you to your IMSA, Comrades Bill Rowen and future green number goals!


With a passion for high performance sport – Lindsey Parry is one of South Africa’s most widely recognised coaches. Having led a team to the London, Rio and Tokyo Olympic Games as well as the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, the Gold Coast & Birmingham, and coached both triathletes and runners onto podiums of some of the world’s most illustrious races, Lindsey has a unique ability to understand what it takes to succeed at any level and thrives on coaching, motivating and inspiring others to do the same – whether it’s on the track, on stage or behind a mic.

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