Looking at the results at Comrades, I could also just see that the South African men did so much better at Comrades relative to the South African woman. And I thought, Well, maybe if we had some more women’s only teams focused on Comrades then the results at Comrades would reflect more South African women in the top of the results.”
– Ann Ashworth, founder/member Team Massmart
This episode we do a little something different: instead of focusing on one runner, I focus on a team. This is the story of the creation of South Africa’s first elite and subelite all-women’s long-distance running team, Team Massmart. The team was formed by Ann Ashworth, who was the subject of our previous episode, in October 2017, before she was a Comrades champion.
Ann had a vision to make a difference and saw a lack of support for aspiring elite South African women long-distance runners. She made it her mission to create a team that brought more South African women into the elite ranks of marathon and ultra-racing, with a focus on Comrades.
The episode follows Ann’s journey to found the team and also discusses how the team structure follows a communal, “all for one, one for all” approach instead of the “winner take all” approach followed by other teams. You’ll hear about how the team has progressed in its first two years, as well as commentary from team members Enie Manzini and Renata Vosloo.
This episode is part of our first season, and the theme of this season is experiences in and around the Comrades Marathon, a 90-kilometer, or roughly 56-mile, road race that takes place each year in South Africa. It is the oldest and largest ultra-distance foot race in the world: Comrades turns 100 years old in 2021 and over 27,000 were registered for the 2020 event.
Show Notes Recommended Resources
Every episode we highlight one entry from our long list of recommended resources, which are focused on women and running. And for this episode, the highlighted resource is Run the North, a weekly newsletter about Canadian running created by Erin Balser. Erin provides up to date information about what’s going on in the sport in her country, as well as news that affects Canadian racers, notable news from elsewhere, historical information, and more. The newsletter is well researched, insightful, thoughtful, and offers a good mix of information I find informative, interesting, and oftentimes just straight up fun. One recent story I really enjoyed was Erin’s look back at 1980 Canadian Boston Marathon winner Jacqueline Gareau, on April 20th, the day this year’s Boston had been scheduled for. And in her May 4th newsletter, Erin offered up 72 books about running to check out.
You can subscribe to Run the North through the website, runthenorth.substack.com, which I’ll also link to in the show notes.
Also mentioned in this episode is the Marathon Talk podcast and their interview with Comrades Marathon Chairperson Cheryl Winn, which you’ll find in Episode 543.
You can follow Team Massmart on Instragram at teammassmart; Twitter at @TeamMassmart; and on Facebook. You can also visit the Team Massmart website.
Cherie Turner: It’s 2017, sometime between June and October, and elite South African ultra-distance runner Ann Ashworth realized something would set her life path in a new direction.
Ann Ashworth: And I was sort of like, Well, how come there are men’s only teams, but there’s no lady’s only teams? That doesn’t seem very fair.
Cherie: Ann is specifically referring to the fact that there were no elite women’s-only long-distance running teams in South Africa. And by long distance running, we’re talking about marathons, which are 26.2 miles or 42.2 kilometers, or longer, and those longer races are called ultramarathons or ultras.
You’re listening to Strides Forward, the podcast about long-distance running and the women who compete in the sport. My name is Cherie Louise Turner, and I’m your host and producer. This season is dedicated to experiences in and around the oldest and largest ultramarathon in the world; South Africa’s 90-kilometer or 56-mile Comrades.Comrades turns 100 years old in 2021, and over 27,000 runners had registered for the 2020 event.
Usually, each episode focuses on one runner, but for this episode I’m doing something a little different. This is the story of a team and empowering women through sport.
But before I get to that, a bit about Ann Ashworth and also about the significance of ultra running and especially Comrades in South Africa.
Ann was featured in our previous episode, which tells her story of striving for victory at Comrades, one of the most prestigious ultra distance races in the world, and South Africa’s crown jewel in the sport.
And in fact, Comrades is one of the biggest sporting events in South African, full stop. The best American analogy I can find here as to the prestige of this event in South Africa, is that it’s sort of like the SuperBowl, if the Superbowl were on TV live for 13 hours straight. And if it had been around for 99 years. And if there were over 20,000 participants. And if it included women, and those women received equal prize money.
Cheryl Winn, the Chairperson of Comrades, spoke to the importance of race in a June 3, 2020 episode of the podcast Marathon Talk; she said, “It’s really become part of our national heritage; Comrades day is an unofficial national holiday.”
Further, the perception in South Africa of running Comrades is very different than the perception of running ultras in many other parts of the world. In the U.S., for instance, the common reaction to someone running further than a marathon is, “That’s crazy.” And most people wouldn’t even consider the possibility of running that far. In South Africa, the attitude is quite the opposite. To return to the words of Cheryl Winn from her Marathon Talk interview, she said, “There’s a saying, at least once in your life, every South African should at least once in your life experience the Comrades Marathon.”
So this is the environment that Ann is operating in. What you need to know about Ann Ashworth for this episode is, at the time our story begins, between June and October 2017, she had spent the previous year focused on becoming much more serious about her running, which had involved a lot of sacrifices. She’d quit her job and shifted her career so that she could prioritize running, which was a big financial risk. She’d also seriously ramped up her training with a new coach, all with the goal of having a breakout performance at the 2017 Comrades, which took place June 3. And when she lined up for the race, she was in the best shape of her life. But within the first 700 meters of the start, she pulled a hamstring, and she was out. A year of dedication and sacrifice, dashed.
Ann was devastated. But she also had a deep passion for the Comrades and for the sport. She was also driven by something else.
I’ve been raised to help people. I think we have a moral obligation to do everything that we can to assist other people. And so if there’s a way that I can assist somebody else, then I need to do that. And the second thing I’ve always been raised to believe is that each of us are capable of making a difference. So I identified, Hey, where can I make a difference? What can I do to make a difference here in South Africa? And, I wasn’t going to start a charity or an NGO or like, I don’t have the means, knowledge, or skills to do that. There’s basically two things I know ho w to do: one is to be an attorney o r an advocate and the other is to be a runner. And so I had to choose of these two things, where am I going to make my difference? And I decided to make the difference in running because it’s something that I’m passionate about and it’s something that I can share in.
Cherie: So Ann had a drive to make a difference. She had also noticed that there were men’s only teams, but there were no women’s-only teams. Now mind you, there were co-ed elite running squads, and those had men’s and women’s teams within the same organization; so elite female racers had a path to team membership and support. But there was something else that struck Ann about the way things were.
Ann: Looking at the results at Comrades, I could also just see that the South African men did so much better at Comrades relative to the South African woman. And I thought, Well, maybe if we had some more women’s only teams focused on Comrades then the results at Comrades would reflect more South African women in the top of the results.
Cherie: And this led Ann to deciding how she would give back. Here Ann mentions Two Oceans, a 56-kilometer or 35-mile race, which in addition to Comrades, is the other premier ultra event in South Africa
Ann: And so decided I was going to make it my mission to start a team of ultra distance focused female athletes who could really just focus on improving their marathon times and then moving on to improving their Comrades and Two Oceans times, so in the ultra distance space.
Cherie: Something important to keep in mind here is that Ann wanted to bring more women into the elite ranks; like she said, she wanted to see more South African women in the top of the results. She wasn’t interested in pulling together some sort of all-star team of athletes who were already doing well, who were already on an elite team.
So she was going to be searching for runners with untapped potential, athletes who hadn’t gotten the results she believed they were capable of. And she knew those athletes were out there because she was aware of some of the factors that were holding them back.
Ann: Athletes in South African particularly disadvantaged athletes will try to run for money, run for prize money as a means of supplementing their income. And what that means is that they race too often trying to chase easily available cash, and their performance suffers as a result.
Cherie: Ann also recognized factors that specifically hinder women.
Ann: Women have two particular challenges at ultra distance running. The first is a safety concern. Particularly for athletes who live and train in more rural areas or in townships. It’s not safe for them to run alone. And they will struggle to find people they can run with who are of their level, of their fitness or speed or interested in the same races and so training then becomes an issue. So that’s the first major concern.
And the second major concern is childcare. We still live in quite a patriarchal society here. Women are tasked, well many women are tasked with looking after their children. Many women are single mothers. And so how will they train enough hours to compete as an ultra distance runner if they need to look after their children. Who’s going to look after them?
And so are two major factors influencing the rise, particularly of disadvantaged athletes in the ultra distance space.
Cherie: With these many hurdles in the way, extra support would very likely help improve the abilities of athletes who had talent and drive but were lacking the guidance, support, and encouragement they needed.
But there are reasons this lack exists. For starters, to create an elite sports team, you need funding, which usually comes from sponsors, and sponsors are looking for exposure.
Ann: Sponsors are also not particularly attracted to distance running because we can only run a couple of races a year. So they don’t get much bang for their buck in terms of race publicity. So it is a difficult environment.
Cherie: Putting this all together, if, as a competitive long-distance runner, you race too often, your performance will suffer. But if you only race a few times a year, so that you can prepare well and then recover properly, you miss out on prize money and you’re not very appealing to sponsors. So –what you need is a long-term support system that is OK with minimal exposure.
That was Ann’s first major challenge. She was also forming an all-women’s team, which can be a tough sell, too.
And, as we know, she wanted to create her elite team by developing nonelite runners, those runners with untapped potential. Also unlike other elite squads that bring in foreing talent, Ann was only focused on South Africans.
So her plan, to be clear, was to ask for enough money to fully fund a group of women that wouldn’t race much and was considered, among the elite ranks of ultra running at least, a bunch of no-names. And further still, Ann, herself wasn’t yet considered a top contender in the elite ultra world either. Remember, she’d just dropped out of the 2017 Comrades after less than 5 minutes of running, and previous to that, her best place at Comrades was 13th, outside of the highly coveted top 10.
So with that, Ann set out on her quest for a title sponsor.
Ann: And so I approached Massmart which is a subsidiary of Walmart, and went to them with this idea, and they loved it. They were all for female empowerment. They were all for getting involved in South African sport. They were particularly attracted to running because it’s such an easily accessible sport, and it’s one of the most popular sports in our country.
And they just got on board. And they just said, What do you need? How can we help you? And basically agreed to sponsor a team of elite athletes to try and get, try to stimulate this surge of ultra distance running in the lady’s space in South Africa.
Cherie: It never hurts to ask. So, now that Ann had secured the financial support she needed, it was time to construct her team, and Ann set to a self-made, laborious process to make sure she could identify just the sort of athletes she had in mind: women who had a lot of potential but had gone overlooked by other elite teams. Women who needed some steady support to go from good to great.
Here Ann mentions Strava, which is like Facebook but for athletes. It’s an app that provides details like how far and how fast someone ran. It also logs what are called “segments.” These are parts of popular running routes, and Strava keeps track of the time it takes anyone using the app to cover route segments. For each segment, there is a leaderboard, divided by gender, so runners can see who’s run the fastest, and also where they themselves rank in the standings. This has developed into fun inter-Strava competition with athletes taking segments from each other by running faster times, or it’s used as a way to see how you stack up against known fast runners in your area. For Ann, it proved useful in another way.
Ann: I was a bit of a stalker. I logged onto Strava and had a look at what people were running around me. Especially if somebody took one of my segments. I’d immediately go into their profile and be like, Who is this athlete taking my segment? Is she any good? Does she often? What else has she done? Once someone had come up on my feed; I’d also go through, I trolled through two years worth of race results across all distances and kind of picked up about 20 that I thought, ya know, these are; my cutoff was that they cannot already belong to an elite club. My primary determinant was the correlation between the different distances that they raced. So if I looked at their 10k time, their 21k time, and their marathon time and then their Comrades and Two Oceans times, how relative were their results. If they were doing very well in the 10k and the 21k and the marathon, but then didn’t do so well in the ultra distance, Why was that? And in the vast majority of cases, it came down to training; they just weren’t training properly. And if I could see potential for us to move them up in their ultra-distance time, based on their shorter distance results, then I recruited them to the team.
Cherie: And then she set her program in motion.
Ann: So my primary concern was to identify up and coming talent, coach them, give them everything that they needed to run, not full time, all of our athletes work full time, but whatever running related support we could give them, and then provide them with a retainer or basic income stream which meant that they didn’t have to chase prize money. And by doing that, they could save themselves for major races; they could peak and condition properly; and then perform really well at things like Comrades.
Cherie: By October 2017, Ann had solidified Team Massmart. She could assure that her athletes would receive steady support and not have to overrace, but as the team was coalescing, she had another critical concern to address.
Ann: My experience has been, and it is changing, the culture is changing. But my experience has been, particularly amongst elite athletes in South Africa that it’s not a very nice environment. I think because sponsorship is so incredibly limited, it creates a very competitive environment but not in a positive way. if you know what I mean. And that’s almost been encouraged by the older elite clubs, where there is very much a winner take all approach to sponsorship. So, for example, the top female athlete in an elite club will earn more than twice the monthly retainer than the athlete who comes second. And that has been, it’s been structured that way to make sure everybody’s trying to be the best. But it doesn’t exactly foster a sense of team spirit. And so because of the way that sponsorship and historically the teams have been managed here in South Africa, it just doesn’t create an environment in which sportsmanship is your go to, but it should be.
Cherie: So Ann implemented a vision for a different type of dynamic and structure.
Ann: I don’t think that you’ll find; well, I know that you won’t find another team that operates according to those principals. We’re all equal. We all come from the same place. We’re all going to the same place. We all work together. And we’re all very much into that kind of arrangement.
Cherie: And this team’s communal support extended beyond the elite squad.
Ann: So each elite athlete then becomes a mentor of a subelite athlete or just a nonelite athlete. And the idea there is that the athletes will meet up once a month, at least once a month, have coffee, chat about races, chat about goals, chat about any problems, and those problems can be running related or otherwise, whether they’re personal problems or financial problems or whatever it is. Just to really offer friendship and support.
Cherie: Offering friendship and support, these are threads that began to weave through how this Johannassburg or Jo-burg based team operated, and these ties were strengthened by shared experiences.
Ann: In South Africa we’re quite individualists. And if we do train, it’s mostly based on where you live, and the people who are in your immediate neighborhood that you can run with. But Team Massmart, we’re from all over Jo-burg but we make an effort to get together and run together and train together when we can. It’s just a hugely supportive environment and it’s fantastic.
Cherie: The team came together in other ways, too, like at races, and not just the big key events. They chose lower priority races to do together as hard training efforts.
This is common practice for competitive athletes. It’s a way to test fitness and an opportunity to feed off the competitive atmosphere of a race and to also feed off the energy of other athletes by running in a group, or what South Africans call a bus.
Ann: It’s such a great environment because we can all just help each other out. Identify each others’ troubles. Help with each others’ troubles and concerns. We’re hugely supportive. We’re hugely chatty. If we’re all going to a race and we’re doing it as a training run, we can run in a bus, and just have a gas along the way. It’s just a really great informal environment.
Cherie: Team Massmart uses this cooperative environment to become more savvy competitors as well.
Ann: And then obviously we share training ideas. We share ideas about race strategies. So I’ll say, Hey, look, at this Comrades, this was my experience and my takehome was this. Use it, don’t use it. We really just try to; the idea is that we should be able to learn from each others’ mistakes instead of making our own because if we can learn from each other then we will progress much faster.
Cherie: Now all this feel good, cooperative, mutually supportive camaraderie all sounds quite lovely, but let’s not forget the larger goal: getting results, better placing and faster times.
For the runners in the mentorship program, Ann set up reasonable expectations.
Ann: Let’s coach you for a year and see if there’s a change. And every single mentee we’ve included in the team has improved drastically.
Cherie: Breaking into the elite ranks is a slightly taller order, and requires even more experience, dedication, training, and consistency. But this was also the point of why this team was founded in the first place.
Ann: And they’ve all proven themselves. They’ve all come up and qualified as elites in their own rights over the last year to 18 months.
Cherie: And the team produced results in a much shorter period of time, too. At the 2018 Two Oceans, which took place less than 6 months after the team formed, Massmart was the 2nd placed elite women’s team in the team competition, which factors in the combined times of team members. In other words, it speaks to multiple people on a team running fast.
At the 2018 Comrades a few months later, Team Massmart won the elite women’s team competition. That was achieved with outstanding individual performances including Ann’s incredible victory, as well as three top 20 finishes from team members Mia Morrison, Enie Manzini, and Nandi Zaloumis. I talk about Ann’s victory in detail in her episode,
Now this isn’t to say that all of the athletes were so quick to adopt the team’s approach to training and racing, as was the case when Ann and team member Enie noticed how things were going for Ramadimetja Babili, who goes by Lizzy.
Ann: Lizzy, I raced against her in 2017 and just saw that she was so young and had so much talent, and I thought, Wow, this is an athlete who really needs a helping hand to reach her full potential. And we had Lizzy, she was one of the founding elite athletes that started with us in 2017, and didn’t really make the most of the opportunity; she just kinda happy go lucky, and continued on her way, and didn’t make great gains in terms of her running. And then Enie and I had a word, and we said to Lizzy, You know, you’ve got so much potential; you really need to make the most of it because this can change your life. And she really took it to heart.
Cherie: One big change Lizzy made was to stop overracing; she was one of those athletes who was doing lots of small races because it was a way to earn money. Ann and Enie were asking Lizzy to stop tiring herself out going after these small amounts of cash, and save herself for bigger races, where, yes, the competition was much more stiff but the prize money much better. Also to know, the athletes’ financial retainers were tied to performance. So there was the potential for Lizzy to not only win better prize money, but also receive more support from the team.
But of course, this required a big leap of faith. Lizzy knew she could earn money, however little it was, at the less competitive races, but shooting for faster times and better placings at bigger events was an unknown.
Ann: Within a period of 4 months took her marathon time down from a 3:06 to a 2:55, which, that’s quite a huge improvement in a short period of time, and then ran, she ran in the top 20 at the Two Oceans a couple of weeks later. And was then hooked. And you could see that then she was convinced. OK, If I really apply myself, things can change.
Cherie: Lizzie did continue to apply herself, and over time, things continued to change.
Ann: She’s within the top 3 black South Africans over the marathon distance now. And the retainer that she’s able to earn based on her marathon time as an elite athlete is more than she earns in her private life, as her private source of income, with the result that she’s now able to support her children more proficiently, she’s able to send money to her kids who do not live with her in Johannesburg. She’s been able to uplift herself from living in a township; she now lives in a house. She’s just uplifted her circumstances and improved the lives of her children and improved her running hugely in the last 18 months. And then finally was selected to represent South Africa at the world 50k champs. Something that she never, ever thought that she could do. And all of this has happened because she’s been encouraged and supported by a team, like Team Massmart, which helped her to reach her full potential. And that’s life changing for her, and it’s of such benefit to South Africa, just in terms of her inspiring other black female athletes in South Africa, particularly in ultra distance events.
Cherie: In 2019, Lizzie was the top performing athlete on the team, and at only 28 years old, she’s just coming into her prime as an ultra runner. She’s improved her marathon time by another 6 minutes, taking it down to 2:49, and has competed in two international marathons: Amsterdam and Dubai. In 2019, she placed 10th at Two Oceans, and her Comrades time improved by over an hour between her debut in 2018 and second running in 2019.
You’ll also notice that Ann mentioned the significance of Lizzie, who is black, inspiring other black South African female runners. While on the men’s side of the sport, both black and white long-distance runners have been among the most successful and Comrades has been won by a black South African man on numerous occasions. But this is not the case on the women’s side. There has never been a black female South African winner of Comrades. And with her 10th place finish at the 2019 Two Oceans, Lizzie was the first black South African woman to cross the line.
Lizzy’s trajectory is inspiring, but she’s far from the only one on Team Massmar to see massive gains in the past several years, in both personal and running life. Ann’s gamble to raise up subelite runners to the elite ranks has generated success story after success story.
Enie Manzini, who is a firefighter and single mother of two, improved her Comrades time by almost an hour and a half between 2017 and 2019, and ran a sub-3-hour marathon in January 2020 in Dubai. Enie was also the top black female finisher at the 2019 Comrades, coming in 19th. On a personal note, being invited onto the team inspired Enie to end her marriage, after suffering over a decade of escalating domestic abuse.
Enie and Lizzie are now among the top 10 best black female marathon runners in South Africa.
And then, there’s runner Jenni Kruse, the oldest athlete on the team at age 46. In 2019 she earned her first silver medal at Comrades. This medal is given to athletes who finish outside the top 10 but in under 7 hours 30 minutes; an incredible achievement. And Renata Vosloo improved her Comrades time by over 90 min between her debut in 2018, when she wasn’t yet a Massmart team member, and her 2019 running; she also earned her first silver medal that year.
This all to say, Ann took a very well calculated chance on the belief that providing steady support and a nurturing, all for one, one for all environment to a group of promising female ultra runners could transform them into a competitive elite team. That there was overlooked talent only in need of the right kind of support to shine and succeed. And it appears that she is onto something.
For Enie Manzini, she remembers clearly what getting the call from Ann to join the team meant to her.
Enie: I just love running. If there is someone out there who can see the potential in you, then that really touched me very much. I will never forget that day because that day, she changed my life. She put hope in me. When I was thinking that whatever I was doing was nothing, but for the fact that she, from far, she recognized me, she saw that potential in me; she really motivated me to even do better than what I was doing.
Cherie: Enie’s life was definitely changed since the day she got asked to be on the team, and things have continued to get better. You’ll hear more about that in her episode, which will be coming out soon. And something Enie notes is that she draws strength from the communal ethos of the team.
Enie: It is a great experience because you know you have sisters that are always supporting you. We meet now and then, we share ideas, we’ll support each other.
Cherie: Renata Vosloo, whose story you will also hear in an upcoming episode, echoes this sentiment.
Renata: Because of this team, I think you’re motivated because there’s always someone training hard and telling everyone, No we can all do it. So when one girl feels down, there’s 2 or 3 others that can motivate. So it’s nice to bounce off, almost your own securities with a female runner compared to a male because we are the same, whereas guys are just different. And then the other thing is just, I don’t know, there’s a big sense of community with just the girls. There’s just a lot of support. And because girls, we are a little bit more emotional; it’s a very caring environment. So I really love it.
Cherie: Throughout the team’s progress, which is now almost three years in the making, Ann has remained mindful that transitioning from underdog to champion can create unwanted changes.
Ann: I didn’t want our team to then go back into the old mold of an elite team where there was winner takes all and no sportsmanship. And so our focus has really been that we’re all in this together. We’ve started from nothing; nobody thought we were worth anything when we started. We weren’t classified as elites from the beginning but now we are but that doesn’t mean we have to behave like elites. We need to behave in a collegial manner and we need to act in our mutual best interest and to inspire and motivate and uplift each other. That’s really the ethos of the team.
Cherie: And for Ann, it all comes back to her original intent.
Ann: And when I see what we do at Team Massmart yielding results and changing lives, that’s really all I need. To know that I’ve made a difference, that the team is making a difference, whether it’s in one person’s individual life or whether it’s in South African ultra distance running more widely, that’s enough. And it makes it all worth it.
Cherie: Now, in 2020, Team Massmart is made up of 25 athletes, 12 elite runners and 13 subelite runners. Massmart’s current commitment to support the team is up for renewal in at the end of October of this year. Ann has great optimism that the sponsorship will be renewed because, as she says,
Ann: Massmart is not yet done with helping us save ultra distance running in South Africa.
Cherie: Certainly, we echo those same hopes, that Team Massmart will be able to continue fostering elite as well as subelite women long-distance runners in South Africa, and finding success both on and off the race course.
And with that, we conclude this story about Team Massmart. To learn more about the team, please visit teamashworth.co.za/team-massmart/
You can also keep up with the team by following them on facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Their handle is @teammassmart. All links will be in the show notes for this episode.
You can find the show notes as well as more information about this episode and about Strides Forward on the website, womensrunningstories.com. There, you will also find the ever-growing runner resources page, a list of blogs, books, podcasts, and newsletters that are created by women or focused on women, or both. These resources are mostly running centric, with a few that address women in sports or female athletes more generally.
Every episode I highlight one of those resources.
And for this episode, the highlighted resource is Run the North, a weekly newsletter about Canadian running created by Erin Balser. Erin provides up to date information about what’s going on in the sport in her country, as well as news that affects Canadian racers, notable news from elsewhere, historical information, and more. The newsletter is well researched, insightful, thoughtful, and offers a good mix of information I find informative, interesting, and oftentimes just straight up fun. One recent story I really enjoyed was Erin’s look back at 1980 Canadian Boston Marathon winner Jacqueline Gareau, on April 20th, the day this year’s Boston had been scheduled for. And in her May 4th newsletter, Erin offered up 72 books about running to check out.
You can subscribe to Run the North through the website, runthenorth.substack.com, which I’ll also link to in the show notes.
If you have an addition for the resources page, please contact me. I can always be reached through the website, or you can find me on Twitter and Instagram @stridesforward.
Thank you to Ann Ashworth for sharing the story about Team Massmart and also to Enie Manzini and Renata Vosloo for their input.
And thank you to the Strides Forward team whose voices you experience in other ways with this podcast. There’s April Marriner of Bonfire Collaborative; she keeps the podcast branding and website looking amazing. You can find April at bonfirecollaborative.com. And there’s Cormac O’Regan who makes all of the music you hear and does the sound design.
And thank you to you, the listener. I really appreciate all of the feedback and support. I truly love these stories and I love knowing that they’re making connections with listeners around the world. Please let me know what resonated with you. Until next time, this is Cherie, wishing you satisfying strides forward.