It’s been quite the year! Little needs to be said about the current state of the world and how it has impacted everyone in many different ways, I’m sure we’re all a little tired of hearing about the “new normal”. And, as runners, we really just want our races back, right?

With very few races around the calendar, many runners are struggling to find the motivation to lace up and get out the door (if you’re even allowed to), and so the team at Coach Parry has decided to bring sexy back, no wait that was Justin Timberlake… 

We’re bringing Fast Fridays back!  

The first Fast Friday feature of 2020 is Simoni van Zyl (aka Mrs Rooies). Simoni has not only been one of our most consistent members in all our live-streamed strength & conditioning classes but has smashed PBs in both her 5k and 10k, since lockdown hit in South Africa at the end of March. 

You shouldn’t run again!

Simoni started running casually in 2015, but after seeking medical advice for a “niggle” she was experiencing in her knee she was told she shouldn’t ever run again. 

Shattered that her Comrades Marathon bucket list item would never be ticked off, she sought second opinions, worked really hard with a chiropractor and also joined the Coach Parry Online Training Club in June 2019 to get started on that Comrades Marathon dream. 

Simoni qualified for Comrades, ticked off one ultra marathon and was right on track for the Big C, but then COVID happened. 

South Africa entered one of the strictest lockdown policies in the world, which included only being able to leave your house for food and medicine, this also meant no exercise outside your property. 

As a result, Coach Parry put together training plans and live-streamed strength sessions that members could join from home via Zoom.

Simoni hardly missed a strength session during the lockdown

Simoni and her husband Riaan (Rooies) were in nearly every single strength session during this time. When exercise restrictions were lifted, Coach Parry advised Simoni to step back from the ultramarathon training and to focus on some shorter distances. 

Simoni started on the Coach Parry Sub60 min 10km plan. Simoni’s “race day” was a windy day on 30th of July and although she had the luxury of being at sea level, she took more than 6 minutes off her previous time which was run in May 2020 and ran a 56:44 PB (from a 1:03:24 – inland)

But wait, there’s more…

…With COVID still rampant worldwide and South Africa starting to reach their peak infections, there were still no races and lockdown in South Africa, albeit much less restrictive. 

Coach Parry then advised Simoni to jump onto the sub 24min 5km training plan

Fast forward to September 6th and Simoni smashed a 24:44 PB, taking more than 2 minutes off her previous 5km PBs of 27:27 (inland) and 26:08 (coastal)!!  

When I asked Simoni what the hardest part about reaching these goals was during this time she said “Trusting in myself and sticking to the plan! I constantly had to remind myself “iPhupho Lami – Dare to dream*” Thanks a million to the Coach Parry team for their dedication and hard work!” 

Imagine going from being told “you will never run again” to smashing 2 PBs consecutively in 6 months! “iPhupho Lami” indeed Simoni! 

We’re proud to be a part of your journey! And we look forward to helping you tick Comrades Marathon off your bucket list soon!  

*iPhupho Lami – Dare to dream was the official slogan for the 2020 Comrades Marathon. The direct meaning translated from isiZulu is “my dream”


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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