Never give up, says Washie back-to-back run­ner

Talk of the Town - - Sport - LOUISE CARTER

RUN­NING the Washie 100 Miler is a chal­lenge only a few of the most hard­ened and ex­treme road run­ners will con­sider tak­ing on, and by it­self the 161km course de­mands great re­spect, prepa­ra­tion and par­tic­i­pants who are men­tally fit and in op­ti­mal phys­i­cal shape.

Tobie Reyneke, a hum­ble fam­ily man and at­tor­ney from Pre­to­ria, de­fied all logic and fin­ished a “dou­ble Washie”, run­ning the ul­tra-marathon to East Lon­don with the rest of the field, and then turn­ing around and head­ing back to Port Al­fred.

De­scrib­ing him­self as a slow run­ner, Reyneke has made sev­eral at­tempts to do the 200-mile course from Port Al­fred to East Lon­don and back. He took on the mam­moth jour­ney to raise aware­ness for Tears, a non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion that looks after abused women and chil­dren, as well as hon­our­ing the mem­ory of a close friend, Rijk van Oosten­brug, who passed away ear­lier this year from brain can­cer.

On his fore­arms Reyneke wrote the names of his friend and his wife.

“Ev­ery time I looked down I pressed on and felt the drive to keep go­ing,” he said.

In 2011 Reyneke ran the Com­rades back to back and the seed was planted to run the Washie back to back. He has run for sev­eral causes in­clud­ing aware­ness and fundrais­ing to com­bat rhino poach­ing.

On pre­vi­ous at­tempts Reyneke has with­drawn for vary­ing rea­sons. In 2014 he ran from East Lon­don to Port Al­fred and planned to run back to East Lon­don with the other Washie 100 run­ners but didn’t make it to the 50km cut-off.

“It’s about not giv­ing up. It’s about start­ing over. If you have to run 500 miles to fin­ish 200 miles, then so be it,” he said.

Reyneke started run­ning in 2008 and ran his first Washie in 2009. “I have been run­ning a lot, I love it. It’s about the open hori­zon; there’s no fin­ish line. You can stop if you want or keep go­ing,” he said.

A hum­ble Reyneke said he did not tell peo­ple what he was at­tempt­ing be­fore the race.

“You don’t want to scare peo­ple with what you do,” he said.

He be­lieves run­ning for a char­ity is re­ally im­por­tant and plays a mas­sive role in in­spir­ing peo­ple. Just like he is com­pletely de­pen­dent on the sup­port of his sec­on­ders for fin­ish­ing and safe-guard­ing, so peo­ple make a dif­fer­ence when they stand to­gether, he says. “I don’t want to stand alone.” What he likes best about the Washie is the beau­ti­ful scenery and es­pe­cially the moon over the rivers at night.

The fin­ish was emo­tional for Reyneke, who said he strug­gled against the el­e­ments on Sun­day evening ap­proach­ing the Riet River val­ley. “The hill is about 1.8km and is a mis­er­able lit­tle hill. Port Al­fred seems to never come,” he said.

Com­ment­ing on why some of the younger run­ners strug­gled to com­plete the Washie, Reyneke said it was be­cause they ran with their bod­ies and not their minds. Ar­riv­ing in Port Al­fred and hav­ing to com­plete the 16km cir­cuit be­fore the fin­ish, Reyneke said it was a men­tal chal­lenge be­cause “you’re here, but not fin­ished yet”.

Fanie Naude and Magda Ven­ter com­pleted the cir­cuit with him and sup­ported him to the fin­ish at 7.20am on Mon­day morn­ing, fin­ish­ing the 322km cir­cuit in a time of 62:21:08.

To do­nate to the cause, SMS the word TEARS to 40111 to sup­port Reyneke in his ef­forts. A once-off fee of R20 will go to­wards the cause.

Pic­ture: MAUNEEN CHAR­TER

UN­STOP­PABLE: Tobie Reyneke suc­cess­fully com­pleted the Washie 100 Miler back to back, fin­ish­ing the cir­cuit of 322km in a time of 62:21:08

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