Johann Kotze and several other members of the Whalers Athletics Club have certainly not allowed the lockdown regulations to curtail their activities. Instead of getting together for their weekly runs at the Hermanus Sports Club, this intrepid bunch has improvised ‘backyard trails’ around their homes and created personal challenges for themselves to keep them motivated and on the move.
On Saturday they, too, decided to run their own ‘No Oceans’ Half Marathon – Home Edition. Among the locals who took up the challenge was enthusiastic runner and restauranteur, Rudolf van der Berg, who completed the 21.1 km distance by running around (and around, and around…) his house. “I usually do 10 km on the treadmill every morning but for the No Oceans we all ran outside our homes, setting off at the same time at 07:00.”
Our locals all made it to 21.1 km, including Johann’s wife Heidi and some oldies such as Johann’s parents, Johann Snr and Elsabé Kotze. But Johann Jnr, who first made the news when he ran the astonishing distance of 100 km around his house on Saturday 4 April, had to quit halfway due to inflammation of his one foot. “Because of the painful bunion I had to stop after 10 km,” he says.
This does not take anything away from this four-times Two Oceans and four-times Comrades veteran’s achievement the previous weekend, though. Running in your backyard is not the same as running on the open road – manoeuvring around tight corners and over different terrains of grass, gravel and paving is hard on your joints and prevents you from getting into your usual running rhythm. “It’s also difficult to focus and stay motivated,” says Johan. “Because of the confined space and the monotony of having to do so many laps, I had to change direction every 2 to 4 km as my head started to spin!”
Johann completed 1 000 laps of 100m in a time of 13 hours 45 minutes and 4 seconds. His fellow club members sponsored him at R1 per lap and the proceeds were donated to Relief.Life which is coordinating the food bank at Bosko Church that supplies food packages to the neediest members of our community during the lockdown.