How Mpedi walked his way from unfit to Comrades finisher


Ten years ago, Mpedi Keetse was unfit and unhappy with his body. He started joining mass walks for the fun of it, then got bit by the running bug, and is now training for his seventh Comrades! From ordinary to extraordinary – be inspired by his story.

"I never used to like myself that much,” says Vitality member Mpedi Keetse, reflecting back on his 20s. “I ate a lot of junk food and drank too much. I was overweight, and had low self-esteem due to the extra weight I carried. I joined the gym through Vitality and started participating in group classes. I went now and then, and started seeing results, but not too many."

"At the time, I used to join group outdoor events like the 702 Walk the Talk because I liked the vibey atmosphere. After some time, I did my first 10 km, and that’s when things started changing. I realised I was loving it! I signed up for more races, and in 2012, I started running more seriously. That year, I committed to doing the Comrades. I just wanted to try and cross the finish line. In 2013, I achieved my goal, and I’ve done the Comrades every year since."

'I feel much more confident... Exercise has become a passion'

An avid Team Vitality member, Mpedi is determined to achieve a Green Number for completing 10 Comrades. In the meantime, he leads an informal running group of friends and colleagues (#TeamLookGoodKaLepona – ‘ka lepona’ means naked in Sepedi). They meet twice a week after work to run through the streets of Sandton while they wait for traffic to die down.

"I find running therapeutic and it helps me lose weight much faster. I am 36 now and consider myself in a good shape. But I doubt I would be where I am right now without all my benefits from Vitality,” Mpedi says. “I feel much more confident about myself. Exercise has become a passion." We asked his advice on how to get more active, and here’s what he said:

Mpedi’s top 5 tips to get going
  • You can always make an excuse, but I look at physical activity as something you need to do daily for your health, like brushing your teeth. You just make time for it.
  • Plan well so you can fit in exercise either before work starts or afterwards. If something comes up, I squeeze in a session during my lunch break and eat afterwards at my desk.
  • Just start today, don’t postpone it. If you don’t want to do it alone, join a group – it’ll help you achieve your fitness goals.
  • A healthy lifestyle is a journey, and it’s not easy – but with rewards and tools from Vitality, it can be much easier. I get so many benefits, from flight and accommodation discounts to all the weekly rewards, health tips, discounted fitness devices – the list is endless. I always say, Vitality pays you to be healthy, so use your benefits.
  • Get a Vitality-linked fitness device, run around your complex, your gym, your village or city, and get those points. Remember, every Vitality status has benefits – but nothing beats Diamond!

Mpedi is living proof that small steps over time produce long-lasting results. Just by taking that first step – by engaging in that one thing, like committing to your local parkrun or myrun, joining a strength training class, or signing up for a mass annual race or walk, you can completely turn your life around – and your future self will thank you for it. So make like Mpedi, and take that step today!

Exercise is contagious – so catch the fun at the Discovery 94.7 Rhythm Run

There are a number of studies that show people are drawn to the exercise behaviours of those around them, and the more time overweight people spend with their fit friends, the more weight they lose! Exploit the motivating effects of group exercise by joining hundreds of like-minded people at the Discovery 94.7 Rhythm Run on Saturday, 25 May.

Your many benefits of staying active with Vitality include up to 50% cash back on your entry fee if you belong to Team Vitality Running, as well as bonus Vitality points – a great way bump up your Vitality status and achieve (or maintain) the very best rewards for healthy living! It’s almost time to #RuleTheRaceTrack and there are only a few spots left, so don’t delay – sign up today.

#WalkToTheBeat of good vibes at this year’s Discovery ECR Big Walk

The Discovery ECR Big Walk is a firm favourite on the KwaZulu-Natal social and sporting calendar, and this year the fun’s all happening on Sunday, 19 May 2019. The event offers three walking routes (5km, 10km and 20km), as well as a 9km fun run, plus the chance to earn up to 1 100 Vitality points! En route, you can enjoy live entertainment, kids’ attractions and ECR DJs making shout outs and playing songs voted for by you.

This is a family event that combines physical activity, good music and quality outdoor time with others – all along one of the most beautiful promenades in the country. For more, visit and sign up today to let the beat guide your feet at the #DurbanBigWalk this May!

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