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Glenwood resident laces up for Comrades Marathon debut

A member of the Stella Athletics Club, Jody Deysel is one of six debutants from the club attempting to take on the 'Ultimate Human Race'.

FOR Glenwood resident Jody Deysel, the mission at this year’s Comrades Marathon is simple: just finish the race.

A member of the Stella Athletics Club, Deysel is one of six debutants from the club attempting to take on the ‘Ultimate Human Race’ – the name the marathon is commonly given.

The 46-year-old, who has watched the race on TV and been a spectator on Berea Road on more than one occasion, explained the significance of the Comrades Marathon.

“I think the reason why people are drawn to the Comrades is because it is seen as the ultimate ultra-marathon running event. A lot of people say a runner’s CV is not complete without running a Comrades. My earliest memory of the race is sitting with my mother watching it on SABC. My mom grew up in Durban, and when we moved to the Free State, one of the ways she stayed connected to the city was by watching the Comrades Marathon.

Also read: Comrades runner – now seconder – shares tips ahead of this year’s marathon

“She would watch it from start to finish, and I remember when Bruce Fordyce was on a winning streak and Wally Hayward becoming, at the time, the oldest person to complete a Comrades Marathon. It was a special day in our household. I then got to experience the race in 2018 as a spectator, and the vibe and atmosphere was just incredible. I now have the opportunity to experience it as a runner, and I think it is going to be an awesome experience. My goal is just to finish – I’ll be happy with whatever the medal is,” he said.

Deysel also shared how his running journey has transformed him, both physically and mentally.

“I started with the Big Walk in 2013, and that was a 10km. I then began working my way up to a 20km in 2018, then a 21km and, eventually, a 56km Two Oceans Marathon in 2023. I also ran this year’s marathon. Through my journey, I’ve also completed several Parkruns, and after my 100th, I saw an advert for a ‘Couch to 10km’ programme with the Stella Club. That programme has helped me grow immensely from completing shorter distances to much longer runs and marathons. My aim is still to see how far I can go with running, and that was the motivation for me to sign up for Comrades,” he said.

 

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