Fierce, Fearless, Fabulous, Forty – Meet Daryl

Guys, Daryl is a powerhouse! I just know, irrespective of your age, she will inspire you. Daryl is another of my acquaintances through infertility support forums. She became a first time mom at 39 and a first time Comrades runner at 45! GO DARYL!

Here is her story….

Name and Age

Daryl Faure Age 47

Blog Address and social media handles

None (perhaps this is a reflection of my age or the fact that my life is so full and busy I don’t have time for all these extra demands, or perhaps just that my technology is almost as old as me).

How do you feel now that you’re in your forties?

It is true, that with age comes wisdom. That is never meant to be condescending to younger women, but the reality is that the longer you live, the more life experiences you will have, and this will form the basis of how you react to the people you encounter and your new life experiences. I love being in my forties. I have gained an inner strength, and physical strength that I didn’t know I had before now. My journey growing me to the person I am now, has given me a quiet confidence that there is nothing I cannot handle. My personal Faith and trust in my Lord and Saviour has grown incredibly, and that in itself has added enormously to the quiet confidence I feel.

What has been your greatest achievement since turning forty?

I gave birth to my very long awaited son at the age of 39. That is another long journey that taught me so many life lessons. My greatest blessing and learning curve has been mothering this child. My greatest achievement though, has to be running my first Comrades in 2015 (The 90th Comrades), the year I turned 45. Let me tell you how it came about, in the hopes of inspiring many of you who may have similar aspirations, but who think you are “too old, too unfit, too anything to make it happen”.

I gave birth to Dylan in April 2009 after 4 IVF’s and years of longing, tears, miscarriage, loss of faith and hope. When I finally held him in my arms. It was the happiest day of my life. I had waited so long for this precious child, that I was not going to miss a moment, so I became a stay at home mom. When Dylan was 2.5 years (I was 41 years old), I had reached a stage where I was ready to reclaim some of my identity as Daryl, the woman, not just Daryl the mom. I had become friends with Heather, at Moms and tots. She was my age, so we were the older moms in the group, and with two boys of her own, she had run the Two Oceans Half Marathon for the first time in 2011. I thought, well if Heather can do it, then so can I, so I downloaded a training program from Runners World, to take you from Couch potato to running 20 minutes non stop, in 10 weeks. On 13 November 2011 I went for my first run/walk. I fast tracked the 10 week program slightly, as I had a toddler and was thus not a total couch potato, and when I could run for 20 minutes non stop, I downloaded my training program to get me to run a half marathon. On 7 April 2012 I ran my first Half Marathon in a time of 2hr38.

I continued training and doing more half marathons, my confidence grew, and I lost a few kilo’s along the way. Then in 2014 I decided to try and run my first Marathon. Heather and I were set to run the Peninsula Marathon together, but then I got sick just before the start and decided not to risk running it. I was not going to put all my training to waste though, and entered the Weskus Marathon a few months later. I ran it on my own, as Heather had not entered this race, and finished in a time of 5hr16. I swore I would never run another marathon again, until a few days later…

By this time I had joined the Fish Hoek Running Club, and inspired by my dream, since I was a little girl, to run the Comrades marathon, as well as advice and inspiration from some amazing other club runners, mostly older than me, I plucked up the courage, talked my running partner Heather into joining me, and entered the 2015 Comrades marathon. It was written in the stars for us. It was the 90th anniversary of Comrades, Heather and I were both turning 45, and it just felt like something we could do – with a little, okay a lottle training.

Now that I had entered, I had to run a qualifying marathon in sub 5 hours. This felt totally impossible, remembering how I had felt at the end of my first (and only) marathon. A good friend, and barefoot runner, Paul talked me into running the PPC Berg Marathon with him. Heather was going to run too, but ended up twisting her ankle quite badly a few weeks prior to the marathon, so only Paul and I ran. The day of the marathon dawned freezing cold and pouring with rain. Needless to say, it wasn’t easy (no marathon ever is), it’s quite a hilly route, and the rain and cold nearly broke me, but with Paul’s constant encouragement and pacing me, we finished the marathon in 4hr57.

Many more training runs followed, and I downloaded Don Oliver’s Alsoran training programme for Comrades Novices. I ran the Peninsula Marathon in February 2015 in a time of 4 hr35 (a PB for me to this day), and in April 2015 ran my very first Ultra Marathon, the Two Oceans 56km Ultra Marathon in a time of 6hr32.

On Sunday 31 May 2015 I stood in my seeding pen as the opening bars of Chariots of Fire began to play, and sobbed. Who ever would have thought that I would actually achieve my dream of running the Comrades marathon, and especially doing my first at the age of 45. Well I did, and finished in a time of 11hr42 minutes. I have never been more exhausted, nor more proud. It was made even more special by the fact that my friend and running partner Heather and I ran every step of the way together.

What started off as a once only dream, was followed by “well now you’ve done an up run, you have to do a down run”, and so in 2016 we went back for the down run, which we finished in 11hr40, and obtained our Comrades back to back medals. That was going to be the end of Comrades for us! I’m not going to lie, it is very hard to be a mom with young kids, and fit in all the training runs, watch them play sport on Saturday morning, balance the needs of your spouse and family, and still have some energy left at the end of the day. However, after watching Comrades from the couch this year, and suffering from serious FOMO, and the knowledge that there will come a time when we physically will not be able to run Comrades anymore, we have decided to go back in 2019, the year we both turn 50, and run it again.

Let me finish by saying I am not some super fit athlete who spends all her time in the gym. I am just an ordinary mom, with fat rolls and cellulite, who had a dream! If I can do it, then anyone can. Yes, you have to be disciplined enough to get up and do the training, when it’s cold and wet and the wind is howling, but if you follow the program, then you can do anything you set your mind too.

As a mature woman, do I have any regrets?

I regret not starting running when I was younger. Just think what I would have achieved! I regret not going to see a Fertility specialist in my early 30’s, when it took me 2 years to fall pregnant the first time. I subsequently miscarried that baby, and then it took me another four years before I finally went to see a specialist, all the time listening to those who told me to “just relax, you’ve been pregnant once, it’ll happen again”. This meant I was 39 when I had Dylan, and very sadly, we were unsuccessful in our attempts to have a sibling for him.

For the rest, I look on everything as a life lesson. Have I done things I’m not proud of, absolutely, but they all shaped the woman I am, and I have learned from them, and am very proud of the woman I am today.

Advice I’d give to my younger self?

Believe in yourself! Also, even though you work in a man’s world, you don’t have to behave like a man to fit in. Most importantly, learn to forgive, yourself, and others.

What have been the biggest changes I’ve noticed since turning 40 – That everything starts heading south, and that your hormones start singing a different song. Expect change!

What do you still hope to achieve in your forties?

To run another Comrades, and to be able to do one pull up without support. A six pack would be great, but I believe in setting realistic goals for myself.

Advice to women who are fearful about turning forty?

Embrace it, and yourself. If you don’t already do it, now is the time to start making time for yourself, and taking care of yourself, without any feelings of guilt for putting yourself first. The pressure to conform is gone, you know what styles suit you, so spend money on things that suit you and not what is the latest fashion. Listen and trust your inner voice, it won’t let you down!

What is one of societies stereotypes about women in their 40s I wish I could change?

Being fabulously 40 means I don’t worry about what “”society” thinks. I know what works for me!

Daryl, your story is truly inspiring. It’s one of absolute inner strength, a quality I believe is inside of all of us, we just don’t realise it until we’re pushed to find it.

Would you like to be featured in our Fierce, Fearless, Fabulous Forty series? 

Then drop me an email.


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