Kerry-Ann Marshall‘s running roots go deep, with a triathlete brother and ultrarunner dad.
She has combined her love for people, with her physical ability to become a physiotherapist and successful ultrarunner.
This is an extract from the full interview published in TRAIL magazine issue 19.
I have always been interested in the human body. The choice to study physiotherapy after school was a natural one.
After my physio degree at UCT I did one year of community service in Port Elizabeth, where I worked in a number of government hospitals. In the UK I worked in several physio specialities and I had the opportunity to study pilates, acupuncture and dry needling.
When I returned to South Africa, I was fortunate to get to work with Benita Kropman, who is considered a guru amongst athletes. She mentored me in the art of myofascial release through her Lyno Method®.
Last year I took the scary step of opening my own physio practice from home. I was quite daunted at first but the running community have been fantastic with their support.
The human body is such a complex system. I am a big believer in using a holistic approach when examining the body, and that no one treatment works for all patients.
I therefore like to use a mix of treatments ranging from dry needling, deep tissue massage, myofascial release, and functional movement rehabilitation exercises.
I also encourage my patients to listen to their bodies and receive regular maintenance to try and avoid serious injuries.
Having suffered from sporting injuries myself I can relate with my patients a lot. Rather than allow them to dwell on what they can’t do, I prefer to shift the focus to what they can do despite their injury.
I very seldom prescribe rest to my patients but rather find alternative cross- training exercises they can do during recovery.
My patients inspire me with their commitment and determination to improve. I love hearing about their dreams. Seeing my patients achieve their goals is always a highlight and gives me that extra motivation to keep running outdoors and loving everything that I do.
ON THE TRAILS
Since we returned to South Africa in 2013 I have started to take my trail running more seriously.
Throughout that first year back I struggled with a chronic hip injury which kept me out of running.
Having been away from the country for so long I felt like a tourist. There was so much to see and loads of running races to do.
With my injury I was unable to run fast, but I was able to run long and steady, so I set my sights on Comrades 2014. I was happy to get a silver medal in 7h08min and finish as the 13th woman.
Through my injury and the Comrades journey I knew I wanted to run long. I love the way that the body is exposed to so much more on these longer runs and how you have to deal with a vast range of emotions.
Endurance runs give me an inner peace, a purpose, and also an excuse to eat more chocolate.
I battled with a knee niggle after Comrades 2014 so much so that I had to scratch the rest of my season and focus on strength. This was a difficult time for me.
I was on such a high after Comrades and then having to sit back, work on strength, and be patient was tough.
In contrast, 2015 was a true blessing. My body responded well to the strength work and I was able to run all the races that I couldn’t do the year before.
There is so much more to Kerry-Ann, from her upbringing in the Eastern Cape, to international travels with handsome husband Nic Marshall, push-up competitions with her triathlete brother, Stuart Marais, and her life-long chocolate love affair. Read about it in TRAIL magazine issue 19.