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Wentworth runner completes his first Comrades Marathon

Wings Athletic Club’s Taariq Stokes completed his first Comrades Marathon on June 9. Stokes described it as the most brutal and gruelling race he has ever competed in.

TAARIQ Stokes, a dedicated member of the Wings Athletic Club from Wentworth, completed his first Comrades Marathon on June 9, conquering the gruelling Up Run from Durban to Pietermaritzburg in an impressive 9 hours and 34 minutes.

Also read: Wings Athletics Club community run hailed a success

The event, known for its intense physical and mental demands, marked a significant milestone for the novice runner.

Stokes described the experience as the most brutal race he had ever completed. “After 44km, my knee gave in, and I suffered excruciating pain. I sat down and cried. I could not move my leg at all,” he recounted. Despite the severe pain, Stokes found the strength to continue, attributing his perseverance to a higher power and sheer determination. “I begged God to please carry me as I cannot live on another few seconds in so much pain.”

Stokes, coached by Romondo Thompson, emphasised the importance of focusing on the experience rather than the time. “He kept telling me to not focus on time and try my best to soak up the experience as it was my first time ever running Comrades. Best advice ever,” Stokes shared.

His gratitude was palpable as he described crossing the finish line. “I was so humbled at the finish line, I dropped down to my knees and put my forehead on the floor, kissing the ground and crying. I did it. I conquered my mind. That was my biggest achievement.”

The impact of completing the Comrades Marathon extends beyond personal achievement for Stokes. He aspires to be a beacon of guidance in his community, hoping that his triumph will inspire others to pursue their dreams regardless of their circumstances. “I pray and hope that many people in my community can take inspiration from my triumph and take a step forward in the right direction towards their dreams and to never give up no matter what you are going through or where you come from – anything is possible.”

Looking ahead, Stokes is already preparing for the 2025 Down Run and will participate in the 10km ABSA Durban race in July. His dedication to continuous improvement and community inspiration is evident. “I cannot wait for next year’s Comrades, and I hope to see many more runners from Wentworth.”

His story is not only a personal victory but also a beacon of hope and motivation for many aspiring athletes in Wentworth and beyond.

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