#TeamRed athlete Josh Marais prepares to secure a coveted Comrades silver medal.

Running to victory!
#TeamRed athlete Josh Marais is a passionate runner who is preparing to secure his back-to-back Comrades medal by running under 7h30 to earn a coveted silver medal.

Josh is also passionate about supporting the running community as a coach and the co-founder of the Natural Running Co.

  • Lives: Northcliff, Johannesburg
  • Qualifications: BSc Computer Science. Qualification in bodybuilding and contest prep
  • Occupation: Full-time Coach
  • Age: 29
  • IG: @joshdylmarais
  • Race PBs: 5K – 19:11; 10K – 39:25; 21.1K – 1:28:00; 42.2K – 2:58:22

Coming from a personal training background, I slowly fell out of love with spending every day indoors in a gym with my headphones in and not communicating with anyone.

I decided to attend a group run one day and immediately loved how I was able to meet and engage with so many people from all different walks of life. I started attending these runs more regularly and started going for runs on my own. The combination of the community aspect and the tangible improvements I felt each week after every run got me hooked! I now visit the gym (which I do, a lot!), it’s to do workouts that help improve my running rather than just make me ‘look good’.

Being a leader and leading by example, along with my desire to see how far I can go. I am a coach to over 25 athletes, and in my personal story, I have so much more I still want to achieve. In my eyes, this is still the start of my story.

I am currently training for a Comrades silver medal. My weekly mileage is between 80-100km. I also visit the gym twice a week to do my runner-specific leg workouts and pedal on the Wattbike.

Monday: Aerobic base miles + gym
Tuesday: Aerobic base miles
Wednesday: Double threshold day (1 morning and 1 afternoon session)
Thursday: Recovery run
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Long run
Sunday: 1-2 hour long run workout incorporating some gnarly hill sets.

Being the co-founder of a running crew, it’s completely a part of me and my lifestyle, whether it’s my planning events, leading community runs, coaching my athletes, or completing my own training.

Runner-specific strength work is paramount. All forms of cross training are beneficial to the cardiovascular system too, but I mainly use these modes when I’m not in a big block or during the off season.

Consistency is everything in this sport. In running, more so than any sport, a strong work ethic beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.

There are many elements but I think the biggest two are taking myself to the wall in training and having a core group of extremely consistent and solid athletes around me all chasing the same goal. I also included days in the block when I had to train on tired legs during a huge week where I needed to show up and run a marathon pace tempo or huge hill set. These sessions took absolutely everything from me physically and mentally. Experiencing the pain of a sub 3 marathon before I had even run it prepared me to break that barrier.

These races are iconic and steeped in history. You cannot become a big name in South Africa’s running scene without it. I also love the mental side of ultra marathons and hope to take that a step further in the coming years looking towards 100km and 100-miler trail races.

I eat a lot of good micronutrient-rich foods and take supplements, including vitamins. The emphasis is on putting back what hard training takes out and refuelling my body correctly.

The rule of thumb is 80-100g of carbs for every hour of activity. So gels and chews are 20-30g per serving, shared between watermelon and salted baby potatoes as my whole foods and chicken nuggets sometimes.