The last two days were special. I had the privilege to interview last year’s Be More Race main event winner in the women category. Her name is Nalicy Chirwa, very humble and very easy to interact with. I asked her about last year’s race, and her preparations for this year’s race. Here is what we talked about:
Tell me about yourself.
My name is Nalicy Chirwa. I’m a professional runner. I stay in Mzuzu.
How did you end up picking up this career?
Our school, Katoto Primary School, got an invitation from Athletics Association of Malawi. AAM wanted 10 school pupils to compete in running. 5 boys and 5 girls were selected. I was one of them. I was in Standard 7 at that time.
When was that?
So what happened next?
I came up second. Then I was invited to compete with seasoned runners, and I came up third. After that we trained and travelled to Lilongwe to compete. I came up fifth. The Secretary General at that time, Mr Frank Chitembeya, encouraged us to continue training. That’s how I got started.
Another letter from AAM came to our school and invited us to a Cross Country competition in Blantyre. I competed and came first. I was sent to Nigeria for that achievement. In Nigeria, I only qualified in terms of time.
I have been to China, Botswana, Tanzania and several other countries.
Be More Race 2017
So tell me about last year’s Be More Race.
Last year, I did not have enough time to prepare. I took two weeks to prepare. I trained hard and came first.
What was your time?
It wasn’t good. I clocked 1:26:00.
Oh? I did 21 km last Saturday and it took close to 3 hours to complete the circuit.
(Chuckles – politely, I must add).
The Prize Money
So how much did you win last year at the Be More Race main event?
I won K1,500,000.00!
And what did you do with it?
It has helped me a lot. I’m still a student at Njerenjere Private Secondary School. I’m in Form Four. I have used the money to pay for my tuition fees. I also pay for my two sisters – one is in Form One, and the other is in Form Two.
From the same prize money, I also bought a piece of land. And used some of it for buying food at home. Lastly, I took some of the money and started a small business. The business is still a going concern.
It made a big difference.
Be More Race 2018
So what’s your message to this year’s Be More Race runners?
Train hard. Listen to your coaches.
What about those that don’t have access to coaches?
We have plenty of regional coaches. Train with them. They are really good. And they will help you a lot to get ready.
What kind of food should one be eating?
Eat balanced diet. Take plenty of water. And eat a lot of fruits.
So how many times should one train per week?
Hahaha! Training is like food, you have to eat constantly. So you should also train all the time. You have to train from Monday to Saturday, or jump a day when you go to church. So that would be either Saturday or Sunday. Or whatever is the holy day in your religion.
How does then one deal with bad weather?
You have to train in all weather. This coming race will take place in June. It may rain on the day. So be prepared to run either in dry weather or when it is raining. You have to train your body to handle any weather pattern.
Are you ready for this year’s Be More Race main event?
Yes. This year I have trained hard for it.
So what’s your message to fellow women?
You have to train hard. You have to be dedicated. Don’t be lazy. I have trained hard for this coming Be More Race. If you don’t work hard, I will come and collect the first prize again. Hahaha!
And that’s how we finished the interview. Nalicy is a woman of few words. However, she’s hard working, dedicated to the sport, and enjoys running. I can’t wait to see her perform at this year’s Be More Race on 9 June 2018 in the Capital City of Malawi, Lilongwe.