Jo Keppler

Jo Keppler


Howick, KwaZulu-Natal


Ultra Runner & Endurance Athlete

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My name is Jo Keppler and I started my running journey in 2019. For many years I struggled with substance and alcohol abuse and when I left a treatment centre in 2019 I found a pure passion and love for Ultra running.

I firmly believe that running is an activity that can transform lives, fight illness and improve physical and mental health. I find my soul when I run and I hope to share that with others.


Jo Keppler

What are some of your most memorable achievements?

Pre: Before going to rehab and finding recovery I didn’t run much; I did one or two half marathons and one marathon but shortly after the event I was using and drinking again. I could never stick to a healthy lifestyle due to my addiction.

Post: Since leaving rehab in April 2019 I have run:
• Hillcrest marathon (2020) 1st Position -Umngeni River Run 1st Position
• Kearsney Striders Half marathon First Lady (2020) -Kakrloof 100 miler – 1st lady, 6th overall
• I did a 130km fundraising run in November (2020), the 130km represented R1.30, what it costs the Southern Lodestar foundation to feed a child. I completed the 130 km with 3500 m of elevation gain in 16 h 40 min
• Joined Summit SA team for part of the run – 73km on day 2 and 35km to the summit on day 3 (June 2021)
• Ultra-Trail Cape Town – 10th Lady, 80th overall (16h31)
• Drakensburg Grand Traverse –226km Unsupported, 89 hours (March 2022)
• Drakensburg Northern Trail (2021) – 2nd Position
• Lesotho ultra 50km (2019) 2nd Position
• Ultra-Trail Drakensburg 100 miler April (2021)– 2nd Position
• Drakensburg Northern trail 2020 – 3rd Position
• Karkloof 100 miler (2019), 4th Position
• Tankwa Crossing In 2022 I was the first woman to run the full Tankwa crossing and finished in 2nd place overall, the leading man only 13minutes ahead of me. This was a grueling 207km run through the Karoo desert in the middle of summer where temperatures reached 47 degrees Celsius
• Drakensburg Grand Traverse (226km with 9500m elevation gain in 89 hours unsupported with fellow Rx ambassador Michael Baker)
• Ultra Trail Drakensburg 100 miler April (2022)- 1stposition, 4th overall and broke women’s record (27h40)

What are the ambitions that you are working towards?

I would like to see how I would do on the international scene and do UTMB 100 miler. I’m very drawn to races such as racing the planet in Namibia, Badwater ultramarathon and possibly even the Barkley marathon. Above all, I would like to inspire people around me to do things that they thought were never possible and know there is always a second chance at life.

What are some of your top tips?

1. Surround yourself with people that you respect and admire, who will support your dreams no matter how mad they might be. Don’t doubt your gut, ever!

2. Talking about gut, know your nutrition. Don’t wait until race day to try out that new gel or the drink mix that makes Eliud Kipchoge run a 2 hour marathon.

3. Pace yourself! Don’t let your ego determine your pace. Yes, it may be a great idea to try to beat that one person in front of you in the moment but your legs will hurt later when you need them most.

4. Be prepared to be alone and to spend a lot of time in your head. Someone once said to me that my head is like a bad neighbourhood and I shouldn’t go in there alone, that was a while back and I would like to think I can cruise that hood safely now. Either way know you going to be there alone, a lot!

5. Enjoy yourself. Do what you love and then don’t let it determine who you are. If something becomes a chore or you feel your results will determine your success in life then you will take away the love and joy for the sport. It sounds corny but do it for the love of it.