A jockey running for charity and a Stipe who only six months ago had serious heart surgery. Two heroes at either end of the achiever spectrum carried the banner for the sport of kings with pride in the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon run today in wet and windy conditions in Cape Town.
Twenty-five years separates the two athletes in age, but the merit and level of personal achievement is to be lauded and can only be an example and hopefully an inspiration to every couch potato out there.
The 31 year old Durban-based jockey Chris ‘Chippy’ Taylor is preparing himself for an assault on the 2012 Comrades Marathon ‘down run’ from Pietermaritzburg to Durban on 3 June. Taylor is raising much needed funds for the Coastal Horse Care Unit based in Cato Ridge.
Of his first Two Oceans run, a drenched Taylor said it was ‘very wet!’
“ I got more soaked waiting for my lift after the race than I did running. It was tough but I am very pleased with my finishing position. I came in 90th of the men and 101st overall if I have counted properly. I finished in 1hour 28minutes, which is not bad considering the weather and the multiple hills! It is however four minutes slower than my best time, but like a horse being prepared for a big race, I hope that I have something to work on!,” he said with a tired smile.
He called this run the ‘second hurdle’ after qualifying for Comrades and said that now the real pressure would come with his effort to break the ten hour barrier. He said that he would definitely be back next year and possibly do the Ultra marathon instead of the Comrades:” It was an enjoyable incident-free run, with a great atmosphere, well organised and plenty of support. The Capetonian hospitality is also world-class,” he said.
Taylor must be one of the fittest jockeys in South Africa at the present time. He rode in Port Elizabeth yesterday,and flies back to Durban tonight to fulfil his riding engagements tomorrow and Monday.
The fifty-six year old Western Cape-based Stipendiary Steward Tarquin Norval ran his thirteenth Two Oceans Half Marathon today, and a remarkable six months after his heart surgery to replace a defective Aortic Valve.
Norval said afterwards that crossing the finish line was quite an emotional moment and that his main aim was to prove to himself that he had recovered completely and was back to his level of fitness prior to his operation.
A fitness fanatic , Tarquin has also competed numerous Argus Cycle Tours and is an accomplished and talented horseman in his own right. The decision to put his heart to the test is a brave one indeed. He closed by saying that he hoped that his recovery from the serious heart surgery would inspire folk and send a message that a normal healthy life was very possible in the circumstances.
Three times Comrades Marathon winner, Zimbabwean Stephen Muzhingi was the overall victor in the 2012 Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon. He bagged his first win in three hours and eight minutes, to beat Henry Moyo and Collen Makaza.
Xolisa Tyali won the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon while Gauteng-based Rene Kalmer was the first lady to finish.
In a day of high drama, rain and wind, the finishing line collapsed just prior to the winner finishing!