We caught up with Jo Keppler - Stance Advocate, Ultra Runner and Motivational Speaker.
What made you take up Trail Running?
I have been running (seriously) for about 3 years now. I ran a few races here and there previously, but it never stuck as I was not the most disciplined or healthy person prior to 2019. I have always struggled with addiction from a young age and was in and out of treatment centres. After finding sobriety and recovery in 2019 I entered Karkloof 100 miler in September 2019. I guess trail running become my outlet, my way to deal with life on life’s terms.
- What do you love most about Running?
I know that running is something I love and in essence it has always been a part of me although before, I was running away from myself, now I am not running away from anything, I am running because I love the feeling of being in nature. It connects me to myself and my higher power, it sometimes shows me suffering which is a gentle reminder that I am only human and that humility is key. I found something I love and I can go deep within without the use of any external substances. I have not stopped running since.
- What keeps you motivated?
Well sometimes its as basic as knowing that I’m going to get a coffee and croissant after my morning run to more extreme levels of motivation like a 100 miler. In those moments when I am in pain and feel as though maybe I cant go on, I think of my son Leo, I think of the journey I have walked and I feel grateful to be on the other side of true pain and suffering, then the run doesn’t seem so bad.
- Favorite Trail Running spot?
Would definitely be the Drakensburg! I love the mountains.
- Who is your role model? And why?
I would have to say that my coach Linda Doke is a huge inspiration. She has done some insane races and has done so well yet remains humble and just wanted to share her knowledge.
- What is your running goal? Western States, UTMB?
Well it would definitely be UTMB (hopefully next year) 100 miler and then I would love to do Marathon Des Sables and the Grand Raid de la Reunion 100 miler.
- What advice would you give to the young runners wanting to follow a career in Trail Running?
My advice would be to firstly find the right mentor. Someone you look up to and respect as well as someone that has all the characteristics that you admire. Secondly, know that you are an individual, you have your own pros and cons so don’t compare yourself to others. You can have people you look up to that can guide you but know that your journey is individually composed for you and your feet to walk.
- Your favorite STANCE socks?
My favourite stance socks are definitely the Feel 360 crew socks, I always feel like a rock star at the start line with those bad boys pulled up!
- Are STANCE socks an addiction?
Hahahaha I love this question, to be clear I once had a dream that I was Mena Suvari in American Beauty but instead of rose petals falls around me, it was stance socks. This was a real dream!!! So yes I think when you start dreaming of socks they might be an addiction.