Inspiring OMTOM Stories: Rikki Hibbert
Rikki’s mom had lost contact with her favourite cousin-once-removed, Wesley Tiedt, for over 40 years until Facebook intervened and facilitated a happy family reunion in Johannesburg.
The blood ties were quickly rekindled and Rikki immediately formed a strong bond with her new-found family member. She says, “It was clear we were all cut from the same cloth and had the same wacky sense of humour.”
They spent the Christmas of 2017 together on Wes’ farm in St. Francis Bay. Rikki was paging through a photo album when she stumbled across the picture below of Wes running the 1987 Two Oceans Marathon. Photo finishes are commonplace in athletics but this photo was about initiate a major change in Rikki’s life.
Rikki asked about the photo as sat transfixed as she listened to Wes’ detailed recollections of the race. Although she admits she had not done any cardio exercise for the last two decades, “Something resonated with me and I decided that I was going to run this race as a tribute to him.”
What followed was the usual story of the first run around the block and very stiff legs afterwards. However, Rikki persevered and was finally confident enough to enter her first race in May 2018. It took another 22 races before she was felt ready to tackle her first half marathon – exactly one year after she completed her first run around the block.
Her debut half marathon, Johnson Crane in Benoni, started disastrously but finished fantastically. Rikki relays the story, “My watch crashed 3 minutes into the race, and I nearly face planted after I stood on a pine cone about 1km in. I ran blind with no idea of my pace, distance or heart rate until I met a bus at around 8km. The vibe and energy kept me strong until the end – and I made new friends and running buddies.”
She was already completely hooked on running and her first half marathon added the ‘line and sinker’. Rikki explains what it means to #RunAsOne, “The best part of the event is the companionship you feel with complete strangers.”
She’s added a second half marathon to her running CV, the monstrous Jackie Gibson in the south of Johannesburg , and is raring to go for her first Two Oceans Half Marathon. Wes is making the flight to Cape Town so that he can witness the proud moment when his niece crosses the finish line.
Rikki, a professional photographer by trade, is looking forward to experiencing some ‘Kodak moments’ of her own along the route and her top tip for other runners is, “Keep your toenails short!”
When it comes to her pre-race routine, she says she is totally OCD about getting everything ready the night before the race and triple-checks that her race number is correctly pinned to her vest (Steely Dan needed have worried, there’s no chance that Rikki will ever lose that number).
As for future plans, she’s looking to get a few more callouses on her feet before upgrading to the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon in 2020 or 2021.
Rikki reflects, “Wes’ story about Two Oceans had such an impact on me that it got me off the couch, and now I can’t imagine my life without running. I’m happier, healthier and fitter than I’ve ever been, and all because of one Two Oceans photo from 30 years ago.”
Two Oceans class of 2019 – keep your race day photos safe! When it comes to Two Oceans Marathon photos there are no negatives! Who knows how many people will be lining up at the start of the 80th edition of the Two Oceans Marathon in 2049 because they saw your smiling mug in a dusty photo album and listened to the fond recollections of your magnificent achievement on the 20th of April.
Look out for more great Two Oceans Marathon human interest stories coming soon. All photos supplied.