If you haven’t met Nicolette Griffioen yet, know that you should visualise someone taking on tough trails with a determined expression, and her distinctive run style, doing what she set out to do: win. It will be that or her relaxing barefoot, book in hand, eating a slab of Cadbury’s Dairymilk, with her beloved dog Dobby at her side.
The K-Way/Inov-8 athlete has shot into the limelight with epic wins all over the country: Ultra-trail Cape Town 100km, Ultra Trail Mount Moodie 87km, and Drakensberg Northern Trail 20km. At the Ultra Trail World Championships in May, Nicolette place twenty-fourth, the best position of any South African athlete at the race.
Nicolette is a determined and competitive runner, but also a big softie when it comes to animals and their welfare, so luckily for her she has managed to combine these two aspects of her life into one with the help of Dobby – her training partner and dog.
Nicolette will more often than not bee seen traipsing through the bush around Oori Nature Reserve in the Rhenosterspruit area near Lanseria with Dobby at her side. Her mum, Lee Oliver, credits her love of animals as the start of her passion for trail running.
Lee, who lives with Nicolette on her communal plot in Oori Reserve, speaks of how taking the dogs for a run quickly turned into a podium finish at her daughters first competitive run.
“She started her running by taking the dogs for evening runs on the farm and after she entered her first trail run she was standing on the podium.
“She loves the excitement and challenge of being out on the trail and finds the monotony of being on the road difficult and boring. She is happiest when she is out in the bush.”
Nicolette is an animal lover through and through, and it does not stop with Dobby, the young runner is currently studying towards a Veterinary Science degree and hopes to incorporate her running into animal welfare.
“I am studying Veterinary Science part-time. I intend to combine my running and love for animals in the near future.
“I want to start regular doggy trail runs, and will do a long trail run barefoot to raise money for rescue dogs and shelters.
“I never run with music on the trails as I like to be one with nature – hear the birds calling, rustling in the grass – it’s what keeps me occupied on long runs.”
Read more about our cover athlete, Nicolette Griffioen, in TRAIL 15