Aziz Kathrada No medal around this neck

29th May 2016, in less than two hours I would need to awake to run the Comrades Marathon. At 2:30am Ikes knocked on our bedroom door…”Boet are you awake? We need to leave shortly.”

The day, hour and minute was upon me….and there was no turning back. Nerves shattered, I raced to the H pen holding my peanut butter sandwich.

Was I insane?

Generations of Kathrada and Kola blood ran through my veins, with not a single soul, even remotely attempting ANY form of sporting activity.
What insanity, when all I’ve known is a sedentary lifestyle.
A sedentary lifestyle blessed with what I’ve come to term as the “Royal Flush”. Generation after generation blessed with:-
1. Hypertension, 2. Cardiac Disease 3. “A” Class shareholders in Tongaat Hulettes- DIABETES.

The Royal Flush has gnawed away generation after genration, to the point when I needed to make a decision, to turn off the Ventilator, ending my dad’s life…
Sometime later Ikes walked up to me and said “I cannot change that which you needed to do, but I can help you change your lifestyle.”

He subsequently bought me my first pair of running shoes…to take my fist steps…
These lay in the cupboard back in Cape Town. Sarah my dear wife who started running before we married, stumbled upon a running club called Itheko with Uncle Farouk Meyer at its helm.

On being persistently invited to run by Mr Meyer and encouraged by my dear wife, I opted to sit in the car, newspaper in hand, patiently waiting whilst they did their club run every Tuesday and Thursday evening.

I WILL NOT RUN….I was resolute.

The furthest distance I had ever run in my 43 years, was to the bathroom.
I was not going to ever change this…

With Mr Meyers insistence and my wife’s support I started to run. ….taking on the demons of The Royal Flush.

I completed my first 10km race and the Two Oceans Half Marathon 3 weeks later.
Ever since, I have become one of the finest inconsistent long distance runners. Training sporadically, amidst the madness of life and it’s unending demands and challenges…

Me?… ever wanting to qualify or run Comrades? Furthest from mind. Once again step in Ikes and my dear wife:- You CAN Do This…
The rest as they say…is history 82.6km later…no medal in hand, I continue to battle the demons of a sedentary lifestyle.


I am humbled

I stand in gratitude to Ikes, Mr Meyer and Sarah and all my friends and loved ones….
No token to hang around my neck….yet I AM VICTORIOUS!
Comrades I am humbled… you have allowed me to define who I am …. I can access my own mental strength to be able to set it’s limits…

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