Advocate, ultra-distance athlete and coach

Ann was born in Harare, Zimbabwe before moving to South Africa as a very young child. She grew up and attended school in Howick, a small town in the KwaZulu Natal Midlands, attending university at in Pietermaritzburg where she completed an LLB (Bachelor of Laws) in 2003.

Prior to being admitted as an advocate in 2017, Ann worked for 8 years as an attorney in Johannesburg, specialising in competition law (anti-trust). Ann has a Masters in Law which she obtained through the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2012, after being awarded a Chevening Scholarship.

In 2013, Ann and her husband David founded the Born2Run Athletics Club with branches in Johannesburg, Durban, East London and Cape Town. Their vision for the club was to establish an environment in which talented club runners could be nurtured and encouraged to progress into the ranks of the elite. Between 2014 and 2016, Born2Run became home to several established elite female athletes including Julanie Basson, Salome Cooper, Yolande Maclean, Belinda Waghorn, as well as up-and-coming talent such as Stephanie Smith and Altus Badenhorst.

In 2017, Ann left the management of Born2Run to start a new, elite and sub-elite ladies only team focused on the marathon and ultra-distance events. This team, sponsored by Massmart Holdings, became known as Team Massmart and focused on the development, sponsorship and mentorship of South African sub-elite athletes. The team was particularly committed to assisting female athletes of colour to excel and move into the elite ranks. Members of this team included Two Oceans and/or Comrades gold medalists Stephanie Smith, Katy Van Meter and Ramadimetja Babili, as well as elite athletes such as Renata Vosloo, Victoria Cotter, Enie Manzini, Melinda Jansen van Vuuren, Jenni Kruse, Caroline Poonan and Kate Murray (nee Roberts). Roughly half of the members of Team Massmart were coached by Team Ashworth.

With effect from May 2021, David, Ann and the members of Team Massmart aligned themselves with Phantane Athletics Club, an elite and development team based in Avoca Hills, KwaZulu Natal. Phantane AC was founded by Mduduzi Khumalo in 2013 to service the community in which he lived. Acutely aware of the hardships faced by young athletes from disadvantaged backgrounds in townships and rural areas, Mduduzi formulated a plan to identify young talent and assist up-and-coming athletes to receive support and earn an income through their running-related performances.

In joining Phantane AC, Ann and David hope not only to contribute toward the further growth and development of the club, but intend to merge the elite ultra-distance ladies team, previously known as Team Massmart with the club’s existing mens team. This will add a strong ladies compliment to the mens elite team and provide the perfect platform from which Ann will be able to launch a female-focused development initiative in both Durban and Johannesburg.

It is Ann’s intention to identify young, female talent within the Durban area who will receive coaching from Team Ashworth, as well as the guidance, advice and mentorship of the elite and sub-elite athletes who previously formed Team Massmart (the club is awaiting a decision concerning its application to register a second branch with Central Gauteng Athletics, after which the ex-Team Massmart ladies will officially join the club). This new ladies team will focus on road running, racing distances from 10km to the Comrades Marathon.

Ann is passionately committed to the development of the sport and hopes to inspire and assist the next generation of female talent to aggressively pursue their athletic dreams.

Ann is proudly supported by Saucony, Polar, Nuun Hydration and ERW Active.

PBs

(1) Valencia Marathon (42.2km): 2h35.44 (13th) [2018]
(2) Comrades Marathon – Down (90km): 6h10.04 (1st) [2018]
(3) Two Oceans Ultra Marathon (56km): 3h50 (5th) [2018]
(4) Loskop Ultra Marathon (50km): 3h24 (1st) [2019]
(5) Comrades Marathon – Up (87km): 6h27 (4th; 2nd South African) [2019]

Social media

You can follow Ann on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Coaching

Ann has coached athletes for more than 8 years and currently coaches elite, sub-elite athletes and more social runners who participate in road and trail races ranging from the half marathon to ultra distances.

Ann’s coaching style and ideology is based on her own experience as well as the information she has gleaned by attending a range of online classes and seminars related to optimal training, supplementation and nutrition including the 7-week course entitled ‘Women are not Small Men‘ offered by internationally renown physiologist and researcher, Dr. Stacy Sims. Ann is a vociferous reader and can be relied upon to stay up to date with scientific research related to optimal athlete performance, despite adopting a “gut feel” approach to her own training and coaching.

Ann believes athletes need to train smarter, not harder, and that good nutrition (both in terms of eating well and eating regularly) is critical to an athlete’s performance. Having suffered from chronic low energy availability and later RED-S as a result of following a very restrictive high-protein, low fat, low carbohydrate diet for three years, Ann was encouraged to launch a program, known as athlEAT™, aligned to Team Ashworth coaching, through which she hopes to educate athletes on how to properly fuel their performance.

For more information about athlEAT™, click HERE.

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