Rooted in Dirt

Rooted In Dirt

Simon and Jana de Waal are a married couple who reside in Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa. Some of the bedrocks of their relationship include; a shared love of the outdoors, an active healthy lifestyle, and making ethical food choices. Dating throughout high school and university, Simon began studying sport science and Jana managed to convince him to start running with her. What started as a hobby became a shared passion for the both of them, who saw trail running as an obvious progression from road running. Later, Jana began her journey towards plant-based living and a vegan lifestyle and Simon followed suit, culminating in a meat-free wedding in the Citrusdal mountains – a trail runner’s dream.


Rooted in Dirt (RID) is the next progression in the relationship of Jana and Simon. RID is a platform to share the theoretical knowledge that they have gained through their continued learning and their experiential knowledge through deliberate practice of both running and plant-based living. RID is in essence the culmination of Jana and Simon’s combined passion for plant based living and trail running. RID aims to provide other people, whether recreational or serious/advanced runners, with the tools to enhance both their diet and training programs. Simon is the main driver of the coaching aspect of RID, while Jana drives the plant-based living and nutrition aspects of RID. Together they are a formidable team, aiming to turn a passion project into a means of living.



Simon (Bsc, BscHons, Msc, CSCS, PhD candidate)

Simon holds a Master’s degree in Sport Science, he is a lecturer in Sport Science and his teaching and research involves training load monitoring of road and trail runners as well as applied strength and conditioning. An amateur runner who competes regularly on the road and trail circuit in the Western Cape, South Africa and constantly striving to improve his performance, Simon believes strongly in concurrent endurance and strength training to better performance and avoid injury. As such, he also holds a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) qualification from the NSCA.


Jana (LLB, LLM, Admitted Attorney (RSA))

Jana is an admitted attorney and holds a Master’s degree in Law. She is currently studying towards certifications in training essentials and programme design for endurance running as well as plant-based sports nutrition. An amateur runner and outdoor enthusiast, Jana believes that her plant-based diet contributes to her improvement in performance and recovery while playing an important role (along with strength training) in keeping her healthy and injury free. Jana enjoys being creative in the kitchen and fueling her and Simon’s training runs, races and recovery. She cooks while he coaches. It works out well for them.