Celia Stramrood - Be Heard

Celia Stramrood got introduced to 800m when she was about 10 years old. Although not very good at it, Celia stuck it out for 3 years for the pure instant love of the race. Her love for 800m and hard work paid off when she won the CGA champs in grade 7 for the first time.

From that day I became more serious about running and started setting goals”

For 4 years Celia trained with her previous coach Willie Engelbrecht who helped her develop more into the athlete she dreamed of becoming. He assisted her in her technique and breathing skills that would aid her to execute a relaxed 800m without much strain on her body and lungs.

Cecilia started training with me when she was an 11 year old girl. Immediately she was thrown into the deep side and went with us on a cross country training camp. I saw then and there she had talent. She improved after a year and won her first SA medal in 2013 during the ASA sub-youth champs. In March 2014 she moved to new coach JJ Smith. Under him she has earned medals at Nationals and new pb. She always laughs and makes jokes. She shines and reaches out to other athletes. She is a bundle of energy who never keeps quite or sits still. She has so much talent and I believe she will still go far.”

– Willie Engelbrecht

While training with Willie Celia found inspiration from a former training partner Tian Basson. ‘ He’s like a brother to me’ Celia warmly expressed. Tian an athlete, also on his own journey looking to fulfill his own dreams took the time to pick up Celia every Saturday to ensure that she got her stamina training sessions done even when she did not feel like it, but that good feeling you get after a training session makes it worth it to come back the next day. Tian continues to be a role model for Celia and she looks up to him, not only for his athletic ability but for his character.

He always made training fun with his jokes but when it was training time he trained hard”

Through him she learnt that winning isn’t everything but you must know in your heart that you gave it everything and did not give up until you have reached the finish line, it is not over…till it is over. Tian Basson was a bronze medalist at SA U/23 for the 800m, but that isn’t what inspires Celia about him, but his character and the way that he carries himself that truly inspires her.

Cecilia in short, to me, is the evergreen always smiling girl who always tries her best to firstly stay positive and secondly to keep others positive. She is one of the toughest athletes I know battling through al lot of emotional problems living in the shadow of other athletes being favoured over her by many parties, but just look at her now. Never gave up and currently rated 8th in the world in her category according to IAAF. To me at this moment there is only one word to describe Cecilia, inspiring.”

– Tian Basson

Not only inspired by Tian, Celia is also inspired by the kids she trains with, especially those who specialize in 800m. Motivation and encouragement is what fills the atmosphere at her training sessions along side Kyla Meyer. Also in the mix Marizaan Mcabe is there keeping the positivity alive with the help of a diligent Anelda Pypers who never speaks a negative word. Through all of this, right by her and her training partner’s sides is her current coach JJ Smith and Lelanie.

‘JJ has given me a lot of opportunities to make me a better athlete’ expressed Celia with immense amount of gratitude towards her coach and also expressing her continuous gratefulness for Willie who also contributed to her being the athlete she is today and states that it has been an absolute honour to have been coached by both of them.

Breaking 2:10 for the first time was indeed a memorable moment for Celia. It being her first School’s SA meet she took the race on with a lot of stress but also with positivity. By this time Celia had already achieved all her goals so she approached this race with no expectation and an open mind because she had nothing to lose. ‘ I led the first 400m with a 63 seconds where I fell back into second place’ recalled Celia, ‘I then pushed myself once again to get into the lead’. The excitement was so overwhelming for her that all she could hear was her own breathing. She gave it her all and she knew it and felt that she was giving it her all, a feeling any athlete can agree is very satisfying.

‘ 2:09 , the time blew me away’

Imagine that, an athlete blown away by their own performance. Her relocation of her race got my heart beating out of my chest as if I was running with her and having done one 800m in my life I do not remember it being so beautiful. You can feel the love she has for her event and it is so inspiring. And having that tremendous blown away feeling even though she came 2nd to Liza Kellerman who ran 2:08.25 that day is what makes it even more inspiring.

Celia wishes to better her pbs every year and to someday run internationally where she can hold the SA name high. Her aim is to get a bursary so that she can go study abroad while still continuing her dream in 800m.

I want to use the talents God gave me and make Him proud”

Having been inspired by many kids around her, Celia hopes to one day do the same for other aspiring athletes by living life to the fullest and going for her dream. But for now Celia’s next step is to crack a 2:06 next season. Motivated by her love for her sport, God and her appreciation for life Celia with definitely make a name for herself as she intends to, because for Celia Stramrood nothing is impossible.

Written by Margaret Olwoch