Scholz’ walk to glory
NED Kelly Chase event governors Sharon and Justin Scholz completed a gruelling 100 mile walk last weekend to achieve the maximum number of available international centurion titles.
“There’s six countries in the world that have an official ‘centurion’,” Justin said.
“To achieve that feat, the entrant must walk 100 miles or 160.9 kilometres in 24 hours or less.
“By achieving this in Cape Town, South Africa last weekend we have now achieved centurion status in all the world events.”
Sharon said the couple felt fortunate to have been able to complete the African centurion this year as it had always previously clashed directly with the Ned Kelly Chase, which will be held this Sunday.
Justin was the first of the pair to walk 100 miles and achieved this feat at the Adelaide 24 hour event on a 2.2 kilometre loop in 2012.
The pair then completed the official Australian centurion event at Middle Park in Melbourne in 2013 and have gone on to achieve the other world titles since.
“The United States centurion in Minneapolis, Minnesota was second,” said Justin.
“We added this event to our cycling trip that year and really enjoyed it. It gave us a taste for these events as we’d previously only been runners but were enjoying completing these walks together.”
New Zealand also followed later in 2015, while the Continental centurion, held in the Netherlands was completed in 2016.
“Last year (2017) we added the United Kingdom event to our overseas trip and when we got the job done there we just hoped that one day we would have the chance to attend the African event as well,” Sharon said.
“Every year since the African event started Justin has been politely sending emails before and after their event just reminding them that they clash with the Ned Kelly Chase and if they ever change their date, then we’d be there.”
The event was not without some drama, however, with a last minute change of venue due to strong winds in Cape Town during the lead-in week.
“The event was to be held on Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for many years,” Justin said.
“Making this extra special is that 2018 is the 100th year of Mandela’s birth. But due to strong winds of 40 km/h and more with gusts of 50km/h and more, the ferry company cancelled all ferries to the island.
“Organisers made a quick change to an athletics track venue north east of Cape Town and we were impressed with their ability to do this on short notice.” “I’m sure I speak for the other 200 or more people involved in the event when passing gratitude to the organisers for pulling together an alternative venue so quickly,” Sharon said.
Justin and Sharon now join an illustrious list of just five other people who have completed six or more international centurion events.
The Scholz pair completed the South African event in 22 hours and 47 minutes.
The race was won by Isle of Man entrant Andy Green in a time of 20 hours and 57 minutes while Dutch athlete Jantinus Meints was second with Justin in third.
Sharon won the ladies solo division, followed home by local athlete Nontuthko Mgabhi in 23 hours 29 minutes with Isle of Man’s Bernie Johnson third.
CENTURIONS: Justin (left) and Sharon Scholz compete in South Africa.