Bennie Roux interview

Meet Yster, one of SA's ultra running stars. Bennie, known as Yster (iron-strong) to his friends, eats ultras for breakfast - including the Comrades Marathon, Addo Elephant Trail Run 100 miles, and The Munga 400km. Cover athlete of TRAIL 25.

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38 Bennie Roux interview header image by Sven Musica TRAIL 25

Would you believe Bennie Roux used to hate running?

From 97kg and hating life, to podiums at SA’s toughest distance trails, obstacle course races, and loving it all with his wife and boys: Bennie is a life-changer.

Get to know this down-to earth ultrarunner in his own words…

Running is punishment

38 Bennie Roux race wins and sponsors image by Sven Musica Phonix Capture TRAIL 25I used to hate running!

Running was, and still is, all the other sports’ punishment.

At school we even had to run as a penalty for not listening to teachers.

To run for fun and enjoyment seemed impossible to me when I was young.

I used to cycle, and even got provincial colours back in the day. I only started running when cycling became too dangerous.

And I wanted to prove to my older brother that I was also capable of running Comrades (he did it when he was 18-years-old). This was where it all started, back in 1999.

I started doing the Comrades Marathon in 2000 with a bronze, followed by a couple of Bill Rowans, before five consecutive silvers. My best time is 6:53:13 in 2016.

Bennie Roux stats TRAIL 25Running saved my life

I used to work as an IT programmer but despite working in a great team with the best team leader ever, we had a terrible team manager. It was so bad that I got depressed: my only fix was running. As my work life got worse my running improved… that was my balance in life.

At the time I weighed about 97kg, compared with my current 79kg.

One day I just sat at my desk, trying to look busy (our manager cared only about bums in chairs, not our output) and I thought to myself What a waste of life! Sitting here eight hours a day just for money! It felt like I had sold my soul.

Roux family at Warrior Race Hugo and Ruben boys t25 etch
Roux family, Isabel, Bennie, Hugo and Ruben at Warrior Race.

That week I decided to quit. We had some small sidelines of income, just had to budget a bit better.

The less you need the more you have.

In a way, running saved my life!

For Bennie Roux’s daring ledge rescue, and confessions of his wife, Isabel Roux, read the full interview on page 38 of TRAIL 25.

Keep up with Bennie on Twitter and Strava.

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