She is Namibia’s five times Sport Women’s of Year, an Olympic gold medalist and she has won medals at the Military World Games and the All African games and the 2018 Commonwealth games. She doesn’t need much of an introduction, Helalia Johannes is the record holder of the Two Oceans Marathon in a time of 01:10:29.
Johannes was born in Oshali Village in the Ohangwena region about 38 years ago. She is a Namibian long distance runner, who specialises in marathons, which is a distance of 40 to 45 km.
According to Wikipedia Johannes made her international debut at the 2005 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, where she finished 80th in the women’s long race.
She came fifth in the half-marathon of the 2007 Summer Universidad and completed the same feat at the 2007 All-Africa Games. She also ran in the Dublin Marathon that year, coming in fourth place.
She says her inspiration was Catherine Ndereba, a Kenyan marathon runner who broke the Women marathon’s world record in 2001 at the Chicago marathon.
“I was inspired by one of the top Kenyan marathon runners who’s Catherine Nderemba, I used to watch her during the times she was running marathons. When she was active, when she took her country to the Olympics and world championship. I used to watch her and that inspired me a lot. That’s when I decided I wanted to run like her.”
Johannes ran a qualifying time (2:37:00) of 2:33:06 hours at the Seoul International Marathon in March 2008, qualifying her for the 2008 Summer Olympics.
In the Olympic marathon race she was placed fourtieth in the rankings. She again represented her country on the global stage at the 2009 World Championships in Athletics, but finished 56th in a slow time of 2:50:19 hours. She rebounded at the Dublin Marathon, finishing as the runner-up.
The following year she had one of her best international performances, coming 16th at the 2010 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships.
She has already won a marathon this year which was held in Japan upsetting Kenyans Jepkesho Visiline, Jemeli Valary and Ethiopian Defar Meseret.
Johannes is set to make a return to racing as she will this weekend expected to jet of to Port Elizabeth and partake in the spar marathon.
She says she is hoping she can come out on top as usual even though she’s not certain what the race holds for her.
“I cannot tell you that I am going to win at this coming race, but I am going to see what God has prepared for me. So I’ll just go and do my best, because I’m not a person who likes giving people promises before something happens, but I love for the results to do the talking.”
She has over the years managed to accomplish so many things which includes winning the Two Oceans Marathon and the recent Ngoya championship in Japan, Johannes said that the secret to all her success is discipline.
“Being successful comes with a huge package of many things and a lot of dedication. You also need to do a lot of sacrifices which requires you to do things at a certain time that you don’t want. But the most vital factor that has led me to all the achievements in my life is being disciplined and being humble.”
She said all her achievements have been important and that she doesn’t have a most memorable one. “I don’t have a most memorable one which surpasses others, I mean all of them are special and mean a lot to me. I worked hard for all my accomplishments.”
She further said that long distance running is not an easy task as it requires a lot of sacrifices when it comes to training.
“It isn’t an easy task, it requires a lot of work where you need to do things overtime, always need to be in training. It needs someone who knows that you have the hunger of wanting to achieve what you want.”
Johannes furthermore urged people, mostly youth that they should engage more in sports, as she believes that not only will it get you paid but it brings about a healthy life.
“People should engage themselves into any sports activities that they can, I believe it’s the right thing to do. Sport is everything as it helps one overcome different problems into daily lives.”