Many runners have found themselves frustrated by the coronavirus-induced lockdown impacting their training regime. Not Zelda Joseph. On Saturday April 11 she did a Two Oceans half “home run” from her Parow garden.
It was a highly ambitious undertaking but this 59 home executive had her very own race director. She also had the support of friends, family and neighbours.
To background music Chariots of Fire, husband Danny Joseph counted down before firing a starter pistol at 8.30am with two-year-old Skylar Janse Van Rensburg hot on her heels. Ms Joseph said it was perfect running weather. As rain clouds threatened she said she learned the tricks of running from her dad, Peter Young after she had shown interest while at Florida Primary School.
A member of Tygerberg Athletics Club she has completed numerous races since she started running in 2018.
Mr Joseph had been preparing the event for the past week. Owner of Danny J Transport, operating between Parow and Plattekloof, he measured the course from the back garden wall to the entrance of their driveway.
“That’s 50m each circuit meaning Zelda had to run 350 of them, 21km in total,” he said. Their son and daughter, Vanessa and Denzil were seconding their mum. As she completed each circuit Denzil popped a button or rock from one container to another. Vanessa ensured that mum had nutrition and liquids and Ringo the dog kept any nasty people away.
Mr Joseph also organised a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, water table, sound equipment and decorated the garden. He also sponsored the lucky draw. “The grand prize is five litres of hand sanitiser,” he smiled.
When he asked his neighbour, across the road, for flowers from a bush in his garden Philippi Scholtz gave them and also donated balloons.
Next door, the Kleinhans family enjoyed a braai while cheering their support. And other neighbours who could not see Ms Joseph run offered support via messages.
Ms Joseph completed the home run 2 hours and 45 minutes later to be wrapped in a “Corona” towel and bouquet by Mr Joseph who then put a medal around her neck. He had come across the towel in a cupboard and added a lock to the medal his wife had won in last years’ Two Oceans except that he added a lock to this one – for lockdown.
Mr Joseph is now preparing for their ninth wedding anniversary which should take place at the end of lockdown, on Thursday April 30. What does he have planned? It’s a secret, he says.
Last year she competed for the first time in the Two Oceans Marathon. Now her goal is to do a full marathon of 42km next year. She can’t wait for lockdown to be over so she can train for it. She did the home run to see if she could. And also to show that it is possible to stay fit as virus containment measures tighten.
The important thing is to keep moving, said Ms Joseph.
Northern News used personal protection equipment and respected physical distancing during the making of this story.