"

Over training is over rated, rest better so that you can train even more" - Nick Yster Bester


Monday, November 22, 2010

A Question for Me

After the question in my previous post Char from My Life’s a Marathon had another question for me. “what was your first ultra, how many marathons had you done before it and what made you decide to take up the challenge?”

Well, my first ultra was the 56km (34.7 mile) Milo Korkie Marathon in 1985. My motivation for running it…my dad. He had been a runner since I can remember and always my greatest inspiration. Here I am in my first ultra (no. 1623). I was 21 years old at the time. The runner that is cut off on the right hand side is my dad who ran all the way with me.


I received this tracksuit badge for completing the 56km Milo Korkie Marathon. Medals were not common in those days.


Here is my dad in the Comrades Marathon of that same year, 1985.


To answer the rest of Char’s question, I ran 3 marathons before I ran my first ultra. In South Africa that is the norm. You run a few marathons and then proceed to ultras. Marathons don’t really count in SA. It is all about the Comrades Marathon here. If you haven’t completed at least 1 Comrades (90km, 55.8 miles), you are not seen as a runner. Believe me, in South Africa you can complete 100 marathons, but if you don’t do 1 Comrades, you are not a runner. That’s why it was pretty normal for me to run 3 marathons at age 21 and then move to ultras. Comrades here is probably like Boston in the USA. If you start running marathons, that’s the one you aim for.

Luckily I’ve done Comrades so I can call myself a true South African runner.:) For those interested in stats, I’ve now completed 122 marathons and 112 ultras. This Saturday will be marathon number 123.

34 comments:

Black Knight said...

122 marathons and 112 ultras: amazing! I never thought to run an ultra, in Italy that is not an usual distance. What a pity I think that I will not be able anymore to run a marathon too. Great pics, good memories of the past. It's great to share a passion with your family. Good luck on the marathon n° 123.

Char said...

Thanks for answering my question. It seems that you have an impressive running pedigree. What a great role-model your Dad was in your formative years.

LMC said...

Awesome! Very impressive numbers! May you add many more. Good luck Saturday!!

ajh said...

That is a huge number of marathons/ultras! Very impressive. Glad you stay injury free and are able to do so many! Good luck on your marathon.

BabyWeightMyFatAss said...

Wow! Truly amazed at your numbers! My husband want's to skip marathons and go straight to ultra's he must think he's from South Africa!

Anne said...

You are amazing!! Love that your dad ran your first ultra with you :)

abbi said...

Wow, the number of marathons and ultras you have completed astounds me!

Laura said...

You are seriously amazing..and what a great role model in your dad.

Staci said...

Wow! Your numbers are really impressive. Again, I take consolation from your experience in doing 3 marathons before Comrades. One day I hope to be a real runner :-)

Ewa said...

Love the picture of your dad.
Not to take anything away from Boston Marathon runners but it seems the bar for real runners in SA is a bit higher. :)

Giorgio said...

You have run a great number of marathons and ultras Johann!
Nice photo of your dad in the Comrades Marathon :)

Good luck on the your 123th marathon!

P said...

Yes, I think you definitely get to call yourself a real runner - WOW!! Love the old pics of you and your dad.

Kovas Palubinskas said...

Both you and your father have some awesome races under your belts! It would be quite an experience to run Comrades - I can always dream!

shannon said...

Hopefully the math is correct. I've completed 3 marathons, and would love to run an ultra, so maybe I'm ready to go long! Congrats on completing 122 marathons, that's a colossal achievement.

Jill said...

Love the pictures - oh how runningwear has changed over the years!! I would love to co Comrades one year - maybe we can make a blog-fest out of it. Quite the astonishing resume you have, Johann, very impressive!!

misszippy said...

Wow--you are a machine! And I love that you and your dad have been able to share this.

The Hungry Runner Girl said...

This was so fun for me to read!! You are incredible! I will someday run an ultra!!!

The Runner said...

Interesting perspective from your side of the world. Comrades sounds like a great race with plenty of history. Thank you for sharing.

HappyTrails said...

Good luck this weekend Johann! Does the Sani Stagger have live updates during the race?

Julie @ Hotlegs Runner said...

al I can say i s W-O-W!!! And that you are amazing!

Cindy said...

It's so great you could share that with your dad. That's inspiring.

Jon said...

good golly you are a legend!

Can you remember at least one thing from every marathon and or ultra?

Julie said...

OMG! Johann you are so freaking amazing!! Seriously, you are a true runner:) I love the fact that you still have a passion for Running and continue to enjoy it! I am impressed and you inspire me:)

Molly said...

WOW!!! You are a running Rock Star! Good luck with #123!!!

Sherri said...

WOW! You only ran 3 marathons...before you ultra??? Amazing!
I love your inspiration was your dad!!!
Great story!
I love the pictures you have...they are priceless!
I can't find any of my older ones...maybe one of my 11 siblings have them1 =()

The Hungry Runner Girl said...

Good call on trying an ultra for the increase in food intake:) Good luck on marathon 123!!! WOW!!

Average A said...

My mouth dropped at your stats. SO impressive.

Also, I LOVE that you have these photos of your dad running. He looks so happy and I can see how this is contagious for you. Those are some special memories and I hope you cherish them forever.

xoxo,
A

Vera said...

I am truly in awe of your running accomplishments Johann! Thank you for your backstory and sharing the pics!

Silly Girl Running said...

The Comrades; that one's on my To Do-list! :)

And 112 ultras: I'm in awe!

Patrick Mahoney said...

I love old athletic pictures from the '80's and these do not dissapoint! Amazing...

Heather said...

Your dad's seems pretty awesome! That's great that he passed his love of running to you and you've been able to enjoy it so much. You're pretty amazing yourself!

Chris K said...

This was my favorite post you have ever done. And trust me, you have done some good ones. Maybe you should come over to the U.S.A. and run Western States or Badwater and really round out your running resume.

Quinton J said...

Comrades is on my list my broer! before my running time is up...I MUST be able to call myself a 'True South African Runner'

The Green Girl said...

Thank you so much for sharing, I really enjoyed reading this.

And I love that you had the photographs, too.