At CommanderHQ, we are fortunate to meet and engage with our host of remarkable and inspirational members. Not only do we share a mutual affinity for health, wellness and all things active but also a passion for the outdoors, adventure fashion, beauty and family. We strive to “live our best life” (Thanks Oprah), to inspire and be inspired, do good and look and feel our best doing it. Nothing helps the journey along than being in like-minded company. Energy, fun and enthusiasm are contagious. We are a club after all.

We chatted to Geanne Darke, about life in her picturesque hometown St Francis Bay and CommanderHQ. Her zest for life is infectious.  An active member in her community, philanthropist, environmentalist and business woman are but a few credentials to her daily schedule. Add to this a wife, mother of 3, runner, cyclist swimmer (to name a few interests) and fashionista and you have an enviable fun-loving poster girl and role model to all who meet her.  

Geanne also spoke to us about her recent purchases ahead of her trip to The Knysna Oyster festival, where she’s participating in a number of events.

CHQ Products

Why have you selected these specific items?  

Starting from the bottom layer (my body) I have selected some items that are essential for my winter run and will generally be put to good use.  

SolRx sun protection - This I use 365 days a year - for as long as there is light in the sky, I know that I am being exposed to UVA that damages the skin and accelerates my aging process. No thank you! Having had years of sun abuse and being out and about all my life, it’s not something I am prepared to negotiate on. Neither for my kids. I need them to have the advantage of maintaining their God-given beautiful skin for as long as possible. The dry zinc is my favourite owing to its instant protection, and it does not run into my eyes whilst exercising. 

Leggings - something funky and fun to keep the legs warm on a winter run  

Vest - keeps my body warm and everything in place. If I get too hot it will be my base layer I run in. I will wear a vest all year round.  

Over that I always like to have a lightweight long sleeve top to keep the chill off but not to get too hot. I will most times land up running the full run in this layer - in winter.   

The Craft jacket is the essential lightweight wind and rain proof outer layer which also helps on those early morning and late evening runs. It is so light that I won’t feel it if I tie it around my waist when not needed. Fab for cycling too.  

What benefits have you enjoyed most as a member of Commander HQ?   

Savings, savings, savings!  Who is going to turn down top class active wear and sports gear at a bargain? It’s a no-brainer! I also live in a beautiful seaside village that does not have a local store that can provide for all of these essential items. I of course have a personal in house stylist at CommanderHQ that can guide and advise - at no additional cost.  

No 1 no-compromise beauty secret? 

Besides my love for sunblock, I never leave for a run without mascara on! You never know where you land up after a run….  

Why running?  

Running is such a fuss-free sport that can be done anywhere and mostly anytime. It requires very little hassle and kit and you can go run anywhere in the world whilst sightseeing too. It is very sociable - not many sports allow you to chat while working out. On the extreme end of that, I love to sometimes run alone with headphones blaring to have a “meeting with myself”. 

What is your advice for first time runners or those wanting to get into running?  

Just get started. Put on those shoes and go! Don't wait for the perfect feel-good day. Walk and run - whatever gets you moving in a forward direction! It will hurt and be uncomfortable of course, but isn't that the same with anything new you start out in life? Set yourself a goal and NEVER give up. Often goals like these are best achieved with a run buddy or someone else you can be accountable to. 

You started the St Francis runners club recently… 

I saw so many individual runners and thought wouldn't it be great if we all united and did some runs together. Motivation and mutual goals are key to enjoying running.  We have weekly time trial which improves ones overall speed and ensures one run a week together. Long club runs on the weekend are essential when gearing up for big races. Being part of a club is fun when you sign up for races too - getting to the start together, motivating each other along the way, and meeting up at the end for some post-race celebrations. Everyone loves recognition and feeling like they are part of something. It’s much more of a hollow victory ending a race, with no-one cheering you in or high-fiving your achievement.  

Any visitors to SFB are welcome to join us on our Timetrial Tuesdays. Being the friendly village we are, the other sports clubs would also be open to visitors joining for the duration of their stay. 

Our running time trials are on Tuesdays, Paddling Club on Wednesdays, Cycling club on Thursdays and open water swimming on Fridays. It is a triathletes dream as a training ground, especially with all the safe open water. There is an active squash club, two golf clubs, bowls club and horse-riding facilities. We have a world class swimming facility and coaching at Liquid Lines in Cape St Francis run by Haydn & Maria Holmes, both very accomplished swimmers and sportspeople.   

St Francis Bay is such a sporty town with many clubs considering the size of it and if you’re more into leisurely activities grab your SUP or paddle and enjoy the canals. Just get out there. Nothing beats ending an action packed day than enjoying a glorious sunset on the beach. Who wouldn't want to live here?! Clean air, no traffic, natural beauty abounds, all filled with very special people.  

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