Wa­gen­heim ready for his 25th Gun Run

He is still go­ing strong at 61

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - NOR­MAN CLOETE

IT IS 25 years since the Gun Run was first raced and Mark Wa­gen­heim will take part in his 25th run to­mor­row.

He will be joined by for­mer sprint queen Odessa Swarts and other lo­cal celebs in­clud­ing the Kfm break­fast team.

Wa­gen­heim re­mem­bers the days when the Noon Gun sig­nalled the start of the race; to­day it sig­nals the end. Orig­i­nally spon­sored by The Ar­gus and Se­eff, to­day it is known at the Out­surance Life Kfm Gun Run.

Wa­gen­heim has been run­ning all his life and at 61 shows no signs of slow­ing down.

“I ran from my home in Clare­mont to UCT for rugby prac­tice as a stu­dent,” said Wa­gen­heim.

He will take part in his 40th Two Oceans Marathon next year, a feat only ac­com­plished by two other peo­ple in SA.

He has run the Lon­don and New York marathons twice.

Asked about how a man of his years pre­pares for a marathon, Wa­gen­heim said: “A solid break­fast of ba­nana, toast with honey and peanut but­ter and cof­fee.”

When he is not run­ning Wa­gen­heim is the fi­nan­cial direc­tor of a JSE-listed com­pany.

Swarts, proud mom of South African 400m world cham­pion and record-holder, van Niek­erk, will run un­der the ban­ner of the New­Borns Groote Schuur Trust, which aims to raise aware­ness of the plight of pre­ma­ture ba­bies.

“Wayde was a pre­mie baby – I was 29 weeks preg­nant when he was born – and when I saw pre­mie ba­bies re­cently, it opened up some­thing in­side of me.”

Swarts said her par­tic­i­pa­tion in the race will be “strictly walk­ing and not run­ning”.

Swarts, a 100 and 200 me­tre sprint queen in her hey­day, flew in from Bloem­fontein for the event, ac­com­pa­nied by her youngest daugh­ter Kayla who is al­ready a star ath­lete and avid hockey player.

The race has at­tracted 20 000 run­ners and has cho­sen Ikamva La­bantu, as its of­fi­cial char­ity. The or­gan­i­sa­tion is com­mit­ted to cre­at­ing sus­tain­able so­cio- eco­nomic change in Cape Town’s town­ships. It seeks to em­power in­di­vid­u­als and com­mu­ni­ties to be­come self-suf­fi­cient through the pro­vi­sion of train­ing, sup­port and re­sources.

Ikamva La­bantu works with ev­ery­one from chil­dren to se­niors of­fer­ing so­cial worker sup­port, se­nior clubs, pre­ven­ta­tive health care, fam­ily ser­vices in coun­selling, dis­abil­ity sup­port and com­mu­nity re­la­tions.

“We are in­cred­i­bly ex­cited to have a record field at this year’s race, says Kfm’s pro­gramme man­ager Stephen Werner. “It’s an iconic event on the road-run­ning cal­en­dar and we can’t wait to join run­ners and families alike for a feel-great day out in the Cape.”

OUT­surance chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer Peter Cronje said they had spon­sored the Gun Run for over 10 years – tak­ing it from an event with fewer than 4 000 par­tic­i­pants to the 20 000 plus fam­ily event we see to­day.

“This year we’re let­ting OUT­surance Life take the spon­sor­ship lead – it makes sense to as­so­ciate our life in­sur­ance prod­uct with an event that pro­motes health, fun and fit­ness, while con­nect­ing our brand with peo­ple in a tan­gi­ble way.”

The race will start at Beach Road in Granger Bay at 5am to­mor­row.

PIC­TURES: SUPPLIED

Mark Wa­gen­heim tak­ing part in the Gun Run in 2001 and 2005. He is ready for his 25th run to­mor­row.

One of of Mark Wa­gen­heim’s medals.

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