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Comrades runner’s pink hair attracts fans

Running her eighth Comrades Marathon, Karen Sobrino said she aims to beat her previous time of seven hours and 23 minutes where she received her first gold medal.

FONDLY known as the Pink Lady, Hillcrest resident Karen Sobrino has made a name for herself in the running fraternity with her bright pink hair.

Although she said she started running Comrades at a later stage in her life, she has participated in a number of international marathons.

Born and raised in Amanzimtoti, Sobrino said she used to run cross country events at school and 5km women’s races.

After moving to Switzerland and staying there with her husband for 21 years, Sobrino started running the international marathons and used to do 12 a year.

Also read: Janie aims for silver medal at Comrades

This will be her eighth Comrades Marathon. Last year, she received her first silver medal after finishing in a time of seven hours and 23 minutes.

“I guess it gets better with time,” she said.

This year, Sobrino said she ran her first Two Oceans Marathon race.

Speaking about her pink hair, which makes her stand out, Sobrino said that when she decided to take part in the ultimate human race, she had a few streaks of her hair dyed pink.

“After that, I decided to dye the rest of my hair pink,” she said.

Running for Boxer Athletics Club, the Pink Lady said she trains every day. “I do about 120 to 150km a week.”

“To run the Comrades, one has to train properly and be prepared physically and mentally. It is such a beautiful race, and I wish that everyone could run it at least once in their lifetime.”

Being a lady with pink hair has made her popular with people, and from time to time, some stop her to say they’ve seen her running.

“One day, when I was running past a church, a father approached me with his son who said he took a picture of me when I was running and wanted to pass it on me – that was really heartwarming.”

Karen Sobrino looks forward to this year’s Comrades Marathon.

Sobrino moved back to South Africa with her husband in 2020. In 2021, her life partner died. Since that heartbreaking moment, she said running has pulled her through.

“The running community is wonderful, and I have made good friends. The atmosphere is always great during the Comrades – the crowd on the side of the road truly keeps us going,” she said.

She added that 2024 has been a great year for her as she came first in the Two Oceans Marathon and first in the Durban International Marathon in her age group of 50 to 59 years.

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