Wagenheim ready for his 25th Gun Run
He is still going strong at 61
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.
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.