History beckons for Maylah at Om Die Dam

Roodepoort Athletics Club’s runner Maylah Pieterse is the only woman who will be competing in the Old Mutual Om die Dam for 26th time.

She has participated in the race since its inception in 1991. That year, 1950 runners stood at the starting line.

This year Maylah and seven other runners will be back at Hartbeespoort next week for the milestone.

The 59-year-old teacher will be joined on this occasion by 67-year-old Gerald Kroukamp, the oldest of these runners.

The former Irene Athletics Club chairman will return in 2016 with his wife Estelle at his side, as she goes for her 16th finish.

Boksburg Athletics Club’s 55-year-old Frank da Ascencao and 54-year-old Noel Smeda have also displayed long-term commitment to their club.

Da Ascencao is well-known for his running prowess, claiming 20 silver medals out of 27 runs at the Comrades Marathon.

Long-serving military men Richard Hammill and Zirk Lourens will start their 26th Om die Dam marathons in South African National Defence Force (SANDF)-Pretoria PMMC colours.

Last year Lourens turned 60, and retired from the SANDF.

57-year-old Derrick Oliver works for City Power, as Head of GIS, so it is perhaps not surprising that he has had the energy to soar over the likes of Commando and Saartjies Neks and through the rest of the challenging course year after year.

Chris du Plooy (54) has home ground advantage: he is a member of the hosting club, Hartbeespoort Marathon Club, and serves on the race committee.

“The Old Mutual Om die Dam Marathon is an annual event that has a proud tradition of loyalty.

Apart from the fact that the 2016 race marks its 26th anniversary, there is a group of remarkable runners that have taken part in every one of the 26 races. As remarkable as the eight runners making the start line of each Om die Dam race are, they’ve also all gone on to achieve their Comrades Marathon permanent numbers for 10 or more finishes; highlighting that there’s no better race than the Old Mutual Om die Dam Marathon to set you up to achieve your long-term goals,” said Old Mutual spokesperson Anneke du Plessis.

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