[Marathon #223 / Unique Marathon #127 / 1 September 2019]
“Just erotic. Nothing kinky. It’s the difference between using a feather and using a chicken.” – Terry Pratchett
Terry Pratchett was one of most creative writers of all time. However, I doubt that even within the zaniest recesses of his wild imagination did he ever imagine that these lines from his book “Eric” (1990) would be used to describe a marathon route. But then again Terry Pratchett never visited East London. Had he done so, the Discworld would have looked rather different!
Out-of-town point-to-point races usually require some transport logistics. Luckily, whenever I make a trip to East London for a marathon, I know that I can always rely on Jeremy “School of Hard” Knox for assistance. At the recent Tony Viljoen Masters Marathon, Jeremy (who’s a regular guest star on this blog), secured me a lift with one of his Born2Run club mates, Ryan Guest. Ryan is an inspirational runner who , as his surname suggests, deserves his own guest star role on this blog.
On the drive to the start, Jeremy mentioned something about Ryan “having a unique running style because of his different sized legs” – I wasn’t sure whether Jeremy was ‘pulling my leg’ until I caught up to Ryan late in the race and noticed his rather unique running style – which I would describe as being akin to a very fast zombie lurch* (but without as much grunting and gnashing of teeth**). Continue reading “Savouring Ryan’s Paraplegia (Ryan Guest: Inspirational Runner)”
The Tony Viljoen Masters Marathon in East London was started in the late 1970s as a way to encourage athletes to continue participating in athletics events after they’d “past their prime”. In East London, “past your prime” is considered “over 35” – and the inaugural race in 1978 had a strict “no under-35s” restriction.
Four decades later and the rules have been relaxed to allow youngsters to run the race socially. However, this is a marathon that specifically caters to the older generation and prizes are only awarded for those born before 1984. These are awarded in five-year brackets from 35-39 all the way through to the oldest finisher.
This year it stopped at 75-79 in the ladies’ section of the race with the 75-year-old Paula Richardson finishing in 5:20. In the men’s field, the incredible 84-year-old Caspar Greeff pushed the finish categories all the way to the 80-84 division with a 5:30 finish. In doing so he became the oldest ever finisher of the race and probably set the record as the oldest South African to complete a marathon*.
* I’ve checked with those in the know and no one could identify any older marathon finishers in South Africa. Riël Hauman, the demure and normally sedate statistician, added “Caspar is a freak!”