By Jamila Cross, email@example.com
Onika Marie Brereton is insatiable about her passion for running, fitness and motherhood, and has a mentality and focus that is bar none. She chuckles, “I never get ready; I stay ready. I became a single mom four years ago after my husband’s passing, and I learnt some hard lessons about the importance of having my own deep personal sense of identity.”
Onika feels that far too often women get trapped into the roles society presents for them after they become mothers, sometimes seeing themselves as extensions—somebody’s mother, partner, caregiver. Women often lose themselves in these trappings, and sometimes forget their passions and purpose.
From an early age, Onika developed a passion for road running, as she grew with a father who was always involved in sports like cricket and football. He would take her to run and to the gym, and today at 60, he remains very active. For the last five years, she has competed in the Trinidad and Tobago International Marathon and has her heart set on one day completing her first ultra-marathon (a longer distance with mixed terrain) and becoming a certified fitness instructor.
To break the monotony and rigour of her training schedule she has found joy in hiking as a form of relaxation and cross-training. “Hiking requires the use of different muscles all the time. There is a level of discomfort, and uncertainty, but beauty in all that you experience during the journey.”
Onika Brereton, you are a true inspiration to women everywhere. For your relentlessness, confidence, and dedication we salute you!
Jamila Cross is a triathlete, former professional footballer for Sevilla FC women’s Club Spain, and mother of three boys Tishad, Akim and Santiago. She is the founder of the Mariama Foundation, a registered non-profit organisation raising the storytelling bar for the Caribbean’s female athletes.
Q and A
Tough! My husband died a couple years ago, and my support for caregiving changed quickly. Finding time for training has required extreme discipline as I train twice daily. In the mornings, I would do cardio on the treadmill, and when my daughter, Adrielle falls asleep at night, I do my strength training.
How has your training regime changed during lockdown?
I have a more relaxed schedule, and my daughter now has the opportunity to accompany me and be a part of my training. It’s a great blessing!
What inspires you to continue being a super-fit mom daily?
My single greatest motivation is living a long and healthy life with my daughter, and working towards being the healthiest, happiest version of myself.
What is your personal ethos?
‘Mamba mentality’. Kobe Bryant wrote a book titled The Mamba Mentality: How I play. In it he says, “If you see me in a fight with a bear, pray for the bear.” He was fearless and went all-out. I identify with this greatly, the willingness to commit and challenge myself constantly and putting it into action all the time.
If today were your last how would you spend it?
With my daughter, praying, playing any number of games (Junior Monopoly and Ludo) that she enjoys.
What is your most elusive dream?
Finding a way to live life comfortably, bridging the gap with my skills and providing for my family’s needs, and finding a relationship that gives me the grace to grow!