How inspirational Annie Bothma won ASA national title despite rare disorder

How inspirational Annie Bothma won ASA national title despite rare disorder

Newly crowned South African marathon champion Annie Bothma recently completed the double by winning the Athletics SA national marathon title and the Durban International Marathon despite struggling with a rare disorder.

Bothma suffers from a rare condition known as hypopituitarism, which causes the pituitary gland – situated at the base of the brain – to fail in its production of hormones and subsequently affects the growth of her bones.

Two weeks ago, Bothma won the Durban International Marathon, which doubles up as the ASA national marathon, with an impressive gun-to-tape victory, clocking 2:30:31 as she represented Western Province Athletics.

I have to admit that I struggle medically, physically, and mentally. I published a blog on to detail my journey, my struggles with the disease, career, and running and encourage people to read it,” Bothma told SABC Sport.

“I sacrificed a lot to win the race. I had water after 12km, and was not feeling strong with dehydration. It took a while before I had a water bottle but I was happy to reclaim the national title that I got robbed of in 2019."

In 2019, the 27-year-old won her debut marathon in Cape Town but did not get the national title because she was not in the provincial colours of Western Province Athletics, and instead ran in the colours of ACT Multiple Athletics Club.

"I won the elite race but got denied the national title. I got what is rightfully mine in Durban and I felt vindicated. In 2021, I struggled with injuries and battled with medication, but I came back strongly to win the title,” she explained.

Bothma, who has been living with the disease all her life and regularly takes medication to keep it under control, had a seizure in October last year and nearly lost her life.

"I struggle and had an inappropriate dosage due to the sickness, which affects my bones. I had a seizure in October and I almost died," she added.

She bagged R20 000 for winning the national title and R70 000 for the Durban International title and says she will use the money towards her medical expenses.