Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
3 minute read
28 Oct 2019
3:29 pm

Women in Sport: The grandmaster who still breaks barriers

Wesley Botton

71-year-old Sonja Laxton was hamstrung by stereotypes in her prime ... but that never held her back.

Sonja Laxton. Photo: Wayne Webb.

She is no longer fighting for honours at the front of the field, but road running icon Sonja Laxton’s lengthy career has come full circle. At 71, Laxton remains a prominent figure in the sport, and though her elite career was restrained first by social misconceptions about the athletic ability of women and later by sporting sanctions, she achieved enough to be crowned queen of South African road running. Growing up in Port Elizabeth, Laxton (formerly Van Zyl) started running in high school, but she had to be largely content with sprint events in the early stages of her career,...