Inspiring paraplegic athlete completes a half-marathon at ANEW Resort Ingeli Forest

Inspiring paraplegic athlete completes a half-marathon at ANEW Resort Ingeli Forest
Rebecca Nagel, a paraplegic CrossFit athlete from Margate in KwaZulu-Natal

Rebecca Nagel, a paraplegic CrossFit athlete from Margate in KwaZulu-Natal, went against all odds as she embarked to be the first South African paraplegic athlete to do a 21km (half-marathon) trail run. This remarkable achievement occurred earlier this year at ANEW Resort Ingeli Forest in Kokstad, and it will be the subject of a documentary, Unstoppable: The Rebecca Nagel Story (produced by Killer Puppy Media, which airs on 17 December 2022 on MNET channel 101

After being involved in a car accident at the age of 18, her life changed instantly. When this happened, Rebecca considered it a setback but quickly got to work on changing her mindset and reminding herself that anything she wanted was within reach. Despite the uphill battle, the 26-year-old is determined to be a beacon of hope for wheelchair-users.

“Since the car accident in 2014, I’ve been in a wheelchair. In the beginning, I felt like ‘okay, this is it. I can’t do anything, be social, etc.’ I felt quite confined and wasn’t very independent. From being someone who always got herself around, I had to depend on my mom and friends to assist me. In time, my mindset shifted, and I made peace with where I’m at. It led to me learning how to drive again and pursue sports. While I may not be able to do what I did before, I can still train my upper body. I started CrossFit and have qualified to participate in a CrossFit competition in the United States in 2023.”

Having a passion for fitness, she wanted to get outdoors and decided the Ingeli trail would be an ideal starting point. She says: “This led to me opting to try out the ANEW Resort Ingeli Forest trails. My parents originally built the bar at the Ingeli Motel, and this is how we got to ANEW Resort Ingeli Forest. We have always had a connection to this gorgeous property, and they have many new amazing trails to explore. We contacted Kevin Burley, the Operations Director at ANEW Hotels & Resorts, who himself is a runner, and together we decided upon a route that calculated to 21km.”

She described the Ingeli trail, which is equivalent to a half-marathon, as one that was an “amazing, fun experience”. Rebecca says: “The trail represented so much of life. It took about 45 minutes to get up one of the trails. This resulted in sore hands, but I continued to push through. It was a lot of mental work, but I’m tremendously grateful for the help I received to make this possible.”

In Rebecca’s view, the half marathon was much more achievable with the help of the ANEW team. Kevin says: “Going on this journey with Rebecca will remain a remarkable experience for our team. Seeing her spirit and willingness to overcome the challenges she faced each day reminds us that we can accomplish whatever we set our minds to. No obstacle is too great. We can all learn a lot from Rebecca and her determination.”