HALALA
30/05/2018 13:55 SAST | Updated 31/05/2018 07:19 SAST

Meet The 60-Year-Old Who's Run 40 Consecutive Comrades Marathons

Hail, Wietsie van der Westhuizen! πŸƒπŸƒπŸƒπŸƒπŸƒπŸƒπŸƒ

Runner Wietsie van der Westhuizen and his daughters.
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Runner Wietsie van der Westhuizen and his daughters.

Wietsie van der Westhuizen's love for running started when he was a student at Potchefstroom University in North West, and he has since participated in 40 consecutive Comrade Marathons.

He was invited to run the Two Oceans Marathon by a friend, and this lead to his first Comrades.

"At the end of the [Two Oceans Marathon], they handed out pamphlets on the Comrades, and I decided to do the Comrades. So at the age of 19, I ran my first Comrades — and I have not stopped yet," the 60-year-old said.

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He says running is a great sport, because it unites people.

"Anybody can run; you don't have to be a built person, you can be overweight, you can be skinny. Running is for the average person, and I love the spirit of running. Runners do not see colour; they're just comrades, like a family," he said.

Van der Westhuizen will be running his 41st consecutive Comrades Marathon in June, and it's a family affair.

"My two daughters are running, my son-in-law is running, my brother is running..."

My whole aim is to run 50 consecutive marathons, by the grace of God.

He describes running the Comrades as "fun run", and says with enough preparation, anyone can do it.

"Running the Comrades is actually easier — you can run the Comrades, if you're not that overweight, in two years. I have got a guy that I am coaching, and at this stage he has already lost 152kg, and in 2020 he wants to do the Comrades."

He elaborated: "You start with walking a lot, and after that you start increasing your speed and the distance. The moment you get out of bed, you start training for the marathon — you don't actually realise that you just need to increase the distance and increase the speed and distance."

There's no stopping the former teacher — he wants to keep going as long as possible.

"My whole aim is to run 50 consecutive marathons, by the grace of God."

*An earlier version of this article stated that Potchefstroom University is in Free State. It is indeed in North West.