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In it for the long run

In it for the long run

I want to talk about running for life, no not the organization, the lifestyle and the possibilities.

A few weeks ago my grandfather passed away at the age of 87. He was a runner. When I tell you he was a runner I mean he was the runner. Let me tell you a bit more about him.

My grandfather Frans Dekker was born on 19 October 1928 and passed away on 15 June 2015, having a long and fruitful life.
He was an apprentice welder at YSKOR in Pretoria and after that qualified as a Diesel Engineer. He wrote his matric at the age of 30 and then started studying veterinary science at Onderstepoort. After obtaining his degree he specialised in Microbiology and spent his life in the lab and on the farms gathering and studying bacteria. He was one of the head bacteriologists when there were outbreaks of “foot and mouth disease” in the Kruger National Park.

He was the Natal (now known as KZN) long-jump champion in the 1940’s. He ran to stay fit for his rugby career and was chosen for “Noord-Transvaal” trials but could not continue due to a knee injury. So his running journey started and continued until his passing.

In the early years my grandfather ran 8km per day and on Saturdays he would run about 30km. At the age of seventy years he ran 5km every day and his long runs was 8km on Saturdays.
At the age of 85 he ran 3km per day and at 86 he slowed down for the first time in his life and was reduced to walking 3km per day. Shortly before his passing he was still walking on the trails on the farm.

My grandfather also coached his daughter (my mom) and his son in athletics. My mother was the KZN champ in 400m Hurdles and 3rd at SA Champs. My uncle had various achievements in winning SA champs even in his 40’s.

So this is the man I look up to …My grandfather. My hero.

People may say that you cannot run your whole life because your knees and various other parts of your body would not be able to handle it. But my grandfather believed in balance and that with a good strength training regimen you could do it. I remember as a small boy watching him doing all his push-ups, pull-ups and AB crunches- not really understanding what he was doing.

So go out and live your life! My Grandfather did! He was a great runner and a great man!


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Pieter Steyn

Founder at Ultrarunner_ZA
Big Dreamer...Loving Husband to a beautiful wife :) Runner and Wannabee UltraRunner! Takes life too seriously.
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Big Dreamer...Loving Husband to a beautiful wife :) Runner and Wannabee UltraRunner! Takes life too seriously.

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