“Rising up, back on the street, did my time, took my chances. Went the distance, now I’m back on my feet, just a man and his will to survive..”
The opening lyrics of the famous Rocky song “Eye of the Tiger” by ’80s pop group Survivor seem to describe aspiring boxer Xolisani Nohashe’s life story very aptly.
The 28-year-old, in trademark red shorts and red boxing gloves, runs 20 km to work and back daily while practising combos. He’s been doing it for almost two years – much to the amusement of motorists on the R102 – and is in the fittest condition of his life.
He related: “I lost my mother in 2013, I’ve been surrounded by alcoholics, I spent some time on the street and delved into drugs, but one day I woke up and decided I wanted to follow a dream, and that’s the day my life turned around,” the slender athlete says, evidently proud of what he’s accomplished so far.
He sets off at 05:40 from his home in Makhaza, Khayelitsha, runs on Baden Powell Drive, across the N2 bridge, and turns onto the R102 old main road to reach his final destination at 07:40 at The Sanctuary Car Wash in Somerset West, where he is employed.
When he’s late for work he can make the run in an hour and 50 minutes, but prefers being early as he enjoys the run and would rather not rush it.
Nohashe grew up in Butterworth, Eastern Cape before moving to his family in Khayelitsha in 2013.
“Life wasn’t easy and we had many problems as a family,” he said. “Although I slipped into a life of regret and depression, I was fortunate enough to make a life decision one day, and that was to pursue my dream to run a marathon and become a boxer.”
Nohashe admits he’s had a late start to his journey to fitness and is yet to join a running or boxing club, but the most important aspect to him is that he’s confident, ambitious and in control if his life.
“I used to run early in the morning around Khayelitsha, before taking a bus or taxi to work, but one day I decided I should rather run to work,” he said. “I’ve never looked back since.”
Nohashe used to take the N2 highway for his run, but several months ago was robbed by some armed men just outside Macassar. He has since changed his route and it’s proven to be a blessing in disguise.
“There are other people also running and cycling on the road, some of whom have become my friends, but it’s mostly the motorists who drive past me every day that have become a source of inspiration.
“People of all colours, black and white, hoot, shout, scream and wave, telling me to keep it up and keep it moving. It’s really pushed me to become consistent, and for the past year I’ve been running almost 40 km a day, six days a week. The community has inspired me.”
He says it’s only right for the people who support him on the road to know his story and his background as well as his ambitions.
“I came from the streets, and on my own I managed to turn my life around. Those who encourage me on the road have really contributed a lot to my positive attitude and mental health, and I have dreams of one day completing the Two Oceans Marathon and perhaps even entering the boxing ring for a bout. The sky’s the limit and I know I can achieve these goals one day.”
Nohashe expresses his gratitude to all his “fans” and has his fingers crossed that some day soon more doors will open for his dreams to be realised.
To get in touch with him contact him on 072 032 8838.