In an effort to streamline the membership registration process for 2020, we urge runners to make payment before January if possible. The idea being that your licence number will be waiting for you with your receipt and a pre-populated ASA registration form for signature.
Licence collection is expected to take place from the first week in January. A notice will go out.
So ends another extremely busy and successful year for Stella Athletic Club. In terms of judging the success of the year I have looked at the following criteria:
The achievement of goals by the club and athletes
The numbers of athletes who have signed up as members
The number of athletes who are active at races and spend time at the gazebo after races
The number of athletes who participate in the monthly Club Time Trial and the Time Trial League
The number of members who participate in club and fundraising events
The success of the annual Stella Royal 10 / 25 km race
Being innovative in the athletics space (i.e. trail runs)
2019 has been another big year for Stella AC. We started the year with Stella AC playing an important role in the Task Team that was formed to regain control of KZN Athletics on behalf of all runners. It was a very difficult time, but over the year under the guidance of Steve Mkasi, this Task Team has achieved its objectives and us the clubs and runners now again have a say in how the organization will be managed. KZNA will now go from strength to strength.
Stella AC is definitely heading in the right direction. Our numbers are growing and most importantly the majority of these new members are actively involved in our weekly activities. These new members bring a vibrancy to the club that must be sustained at all costs. We must remain good ambassadors on the road and in the community and never rest on our laurels. Stella AC must be a place where any passionate athlete can find a home. As a committee it’s important that we listen to the members ideas and comments so that we can remain relevant in the running community. At the same time members can play an important role in keeping the club sustainable by offering their time and skills to make the club a pleasant place to be.
Big plans are being made for 2020. The Marshalls World of Sport Stella Royal in March will be part of the Discovery Vitality Series. This will mean that a 5km fun run will be added to the existing menu of 25km and 10km races. With the logistical support of Discovery this race will be taken to the next level and we anticipate that the event will be a massive success. It is our aim to invest some of the profit made on this race in the renovation of the Den and the expansion of our Development Runner Program. We will put a request out for assistance from our members when it comes to the organization of any work-parties.
With the Committee and members all pulling in the same direction I foresee a productive and hugely successful 2020. Most people will be looking forward to a rest over the festive season. The Club will be closed from 16 December until 7 January. Our first Club run of the new year will be on 7 January and the first Time Trial on 9 January. This will give the majority of you athletes time to rest up and come back refreshed and looking forward to a busy January running schedule. To those dedicated Comrades runners who are working on their base over the festive season I urge you to try get some quality rest. The hard months are still ahead and you need to be injury free to tackle them.
To all Stella members I would like to wish you and your families a blessed Christmas and trust that 2020 will bring you all health, happiness and success.
Stella is a club of many talented athletes, and in varying degrees, not necessarily in speed, but also in endurance, grit, stickability and character. This month we asked two of our Stella legends to share their running stories and achievements with us.
I started running in 1988 at the age of 32, my son Douglas was two years old. A friend of mine used to run and she encouraged me to try and train for a 10km race. So I entered . . . Having never run before, I rushed out (in my north stars) not wanting to come last. I completed the 10Km “Clicks” Ladies race – in a time of 50mins. The time didn’t mean too much to me as there were so many people in front of me, I just didn’t want to be last.
I love a challenge, so roll on 1st half marathon, the “Redro” 21km in Durban North – again I rushed off on my own not wanting to be left behind, get lost or not knowing which way they went! – 1.52hr
The following year, my running club Dolphin Coast Striders, made a HUGE fuss of going to the Two Oceans Marathon 1989 – It looked so pretty and exciting and the experienced runners gave fun “pep” talks and described the route, and the challenges, I couldn’t wait! Apparently, (a little inconvenient) I had to do a marathon in 4.15 to qualify for Oceans, so I entered my first marathon, the Besenol Marathon in Hillcrest (same route as today). The distance didn’t bother me as much as the concern that I would not be able to run Two Oceans if I didn’t qualify. So I hurried along and finished in 4.06hr.
Two Oceans came along and I loved the scenery – vibe and happy day on the road. The cut off was 6 hours – I managed a 5.46hr. I was nearly a real runner! When I realized I could still walk after the race, I thought, surely Comrades could not be that difficult as I had the whole day to complete it! So I entered … My first Comrades 1989 was a down run, I finished up with 10.25hr. It changed my life!
My 31 year running career had started and I am lucky enough to still be on my feet and looking for a challenge or new experience.
Permanent numbers received:
1000km challenge (completing 1000km of registered races in one calendar year) for 3 years running – Permanent Number 320
Mont Aux Sources 50km Ultra Trail (5 times) Permanent number 151
Two Oceans Permanent Number 1650 – best time ever 5.24
Rhodes 52km Ultra Trail – Permanent number 323
Comrades Marathon – Triple green 6883 – best time ever 9.12
Completed 91 Standard Marathons including 4 international Marathons (favourite is New York) – Best Marathon time 3.43.
Completed 11 multi day Ultra Trails.
The MOST difficult 1 day trail I have ever done was the “Otto Grail of trails” – 42km
Completed 55 ultra-marathons (excluding Comrades)
I am forever grateful for the ability to run – no matter how strange my style or slow my pace
My happy place!
By Sandy Mullins
Some people have been part of the Stella tapestry and history for so long, that we don’t realise exactly what they have achieved in their running career. One such person, who has given so much to the club over the years, that she is Mrs Stella! So just to put you in the picture, the spotlight falls on Louise Hucklesby!
Her running career started in 1994 and she ran her first Comrades in 1995, in a time of 10.19. Her fastest time was 8.38. “With all the hectic training I did was lucky to run 5 sub 9’s”. Louise has completed 21 Comrades!
She has also run:
Thirteen Two Oceans, her first in a time of 5.21 and the fastest 4.54.
70 marathons and 20 plus ultras
Louise has permanent numbers for Bergville, Pietermaritzburg, Buffs and Hillcrest. She also was fortunate enough to run the London Marathon in 2001 in Bruce Fordyce’s bus and had the pleasure of having Rory Stein (Madiba’s bodyguard) running with them.
5km – 20.50mins
10km – 42mins
21km – 1.35
42km – 3.19
Louise is passionate about running and loves assisting fellow athletes. She has been Chairperson of Stella and involved in the Committee for almost as long as her running career. She was one of the founders of the ladies time trial league, which in those days was sponsored by Nandos. The gents liked the idea so much that eventually the Time Trial League was formed and is still going today.
“I have had the privilege of managing the KwaZulu-Natal teams going to SA Champs for Cross Country, 10km, 21km and 42km and also served on a few committees at KwaZulu Natal Athletics”.
Words of advice – “Consistency is key and then always keep running and life balanced”.
Stella is fortunate and definitely the richer for all the input and sacrifice that Louise has given and in so doing put Stella on the running map! Thank you Louise!!
On Thursday 7 November 2019, our group of three runners set off to run the “Authentic Athens Marathon” in Greece. The Stella contingent of the group was Alan Brunsdon and Roger Scholtz.
The event commemorated and retraced the “original” marathon when, according to legend, a Greek soldier by the name of Pheidippides, in 490 BC, ran the 42 kms from the town of Marathon to Athens to announce the news of a great military victory over the Persians. According to legend when he arrived in Athens and announced the victory he promptly died of exhaustion – a feeling I can relate closely to!!
The event included a family run, 10km and the marathon which attracted 60 000 entrants from 110 countries, of which there were more than 100 South Africans!
We flew Emirates Airlines from Durban via Dubai to Athens. The race registration and expo was extremely well organized, as was the entire race.
On the Saturday before the race we did the tourist routine of visiting the Parthenon and Acropolis – this was the right option as we thought it best to do the walking whilst we still could! The sights and history of Athens go back centuries and are spectacular.
Race day arrived on Sunday together with cool cloudy conditions and temperatures of 21 degrees. There were five different collection points throughout the city of Athens that would take the 20 000 runners to the start of the marathon in Marathon. We arrived at our collection point, conveniently close to our Airbnb accommodation, at 06:00 to find numerous luxury buses waiting to take us to the start. We boarded very quickly and en-route a recording played through the bus PA giving us clear instructions as to what to expect on arrival at the start.
The starting area was well laid out with different coloured balloons marking the different starting batches etc. My starting batch as per my bib was purple – so all I had to find were the purple balloons! The race is run mat to mat so I set off at 09:28 while the front runners started at 09:00.
The first 5 kms were pretty easy but from there till 31 kms it was literally all uphill – a tough course! The water stations were very well stocked with drinks, dark chocolates and energy bars. The vibe on the road was great and crowd support good with the locals calling me “Bravo Bravo” even though my name was on my bib! Running in the South African flag colours certainly helps with crowd support and interaction with other runners. My SA flag running shorts earned the name ‘Faf shorts’ from many of the South Africans on the race!
The last 11 kms into Athens was a gentle downhill with lots of crowd support. The finish was into Panathenaic Stadium, the white marble stadium where the first modern Olympics were held in 1896. I finished in 5:58 even though the cut off was a generous 8 hours.
We returned home after a memorable Athens experience – definitely a marathon for the bucket list!
Stella is a club of many talented athletes, and in varying degrees, not necessarily in speed, but also in endurance, grit, stickability and character. This month we applaud the following Stella member for his achievements!
When it comes to running, for most of us, we are simply proud to finish a race or complete the goal that we have set for ourselves. But some athletes, are simply amazing with what they manage to achieve, and the beauty about it, is that you would never know because it is not broadcast. That is, until I get hold of it!!😊
Stella has one such sportsman who has achieved so much. Here are just some of his achievements:
In 2008, he summited Kilimanjaro.
In 2015, he comfortably completed the full Ironman competition in PE.
He has completed two Two Oceans Ultras in 2006 and 2014.
He has ten Comrades to his name, his best time being 8:22. However on his 10th, he raised money for charity, doing the UNOGWAJA CHALLENGE, which is a 10-day, 1,660km cycle from Cape Town to Pietermaritzburg, then on day 11, you simply run Comrades! What is seriously impressive is that he did Comrades in under 11 hours and raisingover R500k for Comrades Amabeadi-beadi charities!
Also added to his bucket list of achievements is most of the road and trail running races, cycle races (Amashova, tour Durban) and triathlon events in and around KZN.
Not only is our doctor an achiever, but Grant Matkovich gives back for the love of the sport. He is a member of the Comrades Race Organizing Committee as the Portfolio Convenor for International Hospitality since 2015 to present, which looks after International runners’ registration at the expo and the International hospitality area on race day. He also helps Community Chest Charity with their Comrades fundraising campaigns.
We as Stella are extremely proud of what Grant has done and commend him for his achievements and his selfless giving!
Walking is one of those disciplines that sounds a bit silly at first. Anybody can walk, you might think. Then how on earth could walking fast be a sport?
Well, walking is MY sport!
I joined Stella in mid 2018 due to the fact that it was no longer safe to walk alone in the afternoons as a lady. For me, Stella AC was just a club whereby I could continue my love for walking in a safe environment. It’s become so much more than that!
I had completed a few 10k races as well as three ECR 20km Big Walks, so was under the impression that completing a half marathon would be well within my limits. My first attempt was the SAPS Striders 21km which is a double lap course along our beautiful Durban promenade. I was prepared physically, but for weeks leading up to the event I became less and less confident, worried I was going to be the last person on the road and not finish in the allocated time limit. It was always going to be a dual between my head and my physical ability, it turned out my head won. I bailed at the 16km mark! Looking back I was well within the time limit and was not the last person on the road, I could have finished.
I was feeling despondent and didn’t think the half marathon distance was for me. Fortunately for me it was at this point our Chairperson Dave Beattie offered to guide me through another half marathon. We chose the upcoming Goss & Balfe Sapphire Coast 21km. After a few “big“ and “small” Gillies I felt confident I could do this.
Before I realised it was the morning of the race and it was now or never. Dave and our Stella family were there for me through all the tough moments and 3 hours later, we crossed the finish line with a feeling of euphoria. I DID IT!
Having seconded on the side of the road for many years, I never realised how valued seconds are. Often seconds are husbands or wives, friends or family, in this case it was a Stella angel by the name of Sharon Troll who popped up along the route exactly when she was needed.
The camaraderie amongst the Stella family as a whole has been fantastic, so many playing a part enabling me to accomplish my goal. Thank you everyone!
In the words of Eliud Kipchoge, “NO HUMAN IS LIMITED”
Jocelyn came second in the walking event for the half marathon distance!
Early Saturday morning a bunch of eager walkers from as far as Hilton attended the Walking Clinic given by Natalie le Roux.
She shared her truely inspirational life story, some of her future goals, nutrition, how to train for a race and a little bit about KZN Masters Athletics before taking us through the warm up routine. Boy was that difficult!!! ‘Pulling the line from your navel’, ‘rocking the baby’, ‘loosening those hips’ and ‘activating the shins’ made us all look at bit silly, but we soon saw the benefits of all these movements.
After a few stretching exercises we walked up to Bulwer Park where Natalie explained how we should approach the up hills and downhills, and some other techniques. We did a couple of rounds in the park showing off our new moves.
The clinic was enjoyed by all and several walkers showed interest in future events. So watch this space.
Thanks to Natalie for sharing your knowledge in such a humble way.
Thanks to Jodi Pastorino from KZNMA for joining us.
Thanks to Stella Athletic Club for hosting the clinic.
Thanks to Michael Mostert who took the initiative in asking for a donation towards the Elders Voice and thanks to everyone who gave from the heart.
I’ll end with a very appropriate saying coming from our own Frankie…
Michael, Maureen and Sam at the end of the trail run
It was that time of the year when the beauty of Umlalazi Nature Reserve called me back to tackle the not one, but two day trail hosted by Mtunzini AC.
I decided to do the two day race with my ankle conversing with me in fluent Gaelic. “Remember your history with trail runs and also remember you just recovered from a broken ankle, break dancing down the wet steps” I said to myself. Weighing up my options and waking up with my trail run nightmares and cold sweats,I entered the two day Bushbaby Whacker which compromised of 15km on day one and 10 km on day two.
The day dawned as we all gathered around burning fire baskets in nervous chatter. It was great to see the friendly faces of other Stella peeps who like me were tackling the whacker. We lined up in our multi coloured regalia and camel packs stocked enough for Mount Kilimanjaro.“Yho! these trail runners are serious, what have I got myself on for” I thought.…
The race set off at 7 am to the start of a fish eagle call. I lined up with fellow Stella crazies, Samantha and Maureen, as we headed into the green forest of the reserve. Maureen and Sam bounded down the hill like impala being hunted by Cheetah. We headed through a section of the golf course safely and entered into the most beautiful scenery of forest paths, fallen yellow leaves, wooden walk ways, bridge crossings, and trees as we meandered through the foot paths and the tush-aching beach section. The beach was breath taking, even the cold shark infested water looked inviting to cool down burning glutes. My time was slow as I helped out a young fellow runner with an Achilles tendon injury, but bounded off like a hare to the finish line another 7 km away ….
After two hours of awesome trails we headed up to the finish which felt like a category 1 climb on the Tour De France. We crawled over the finish line to family and friends welcoming us home. That was day one, day two was a sight to see as those who did day one were lined up with aching muscles. It was a comedy of errors seeing those, including myself, hobble down the hill with moans and groans. Some of us literally looked like crabs running back into the ocean with stiff legs. This time we hobbled past the fairway and no stray golf balls to worry about as a drone hovered above. We entered the cool forest again with odd sightings of Duiker, Zebra and Mongoose ..
At least for the 10km option there was no beach section, thank goodness. I went to see the 15 km route and the size of the beach dune they had to traverse up, which was not for the faint hearted!
All in all, I had two awesome days on two different routes and recommend this race as a must for all Stella runners. You can arrange a weekend getaway in the camp site with other clubs or stay in one of the many chalets and BnBs in the tranquil village of Mtunzini. Highly recommended!
Stella is a club of many talented athletes, and in varying degrees, not necessarily in speed, but also in endurance, grit, stickability and character. This month we applaud the following Stella members for their achievements!
“Baker girl, Baker girl
Run us a race
Go to the island and pick up the pace!”
And this is what she did! Not only did Jadi Clark have a brilliant run at Comrades, being the first Stella lady in at an amazing time of 07:37, she then, a few weeks later ran the Mauritius Marathon on the 19th July, and achieved first position in a time of 3:17!
This lovely, effervescent lady is a real credit to the club, and we salute and recognise Jadi for the discipline and effort she puts in!
A novice runner he was this year, but novice times NOT as nothing stopped this speedster from achieving times most of us only dream about. Gcina Msibi joined Stella and we have not looked back! A gentleman with a smile on his face, we have watched as he pushed himself to the limits to achieve the goals he had set for himself. With over 2 500kms on his feet this year, his first Comrades was a Silver medal in a time of 7:02, and recently he did the Cape Town City Marathon in a time of 2:38. Gcina – you are an absolute star and we applaud you for who you are and what you have achieved.
Not all Stella Stars are athletes. This lady may not physically run the miles her hubby does, but she puts in as much effort, if not more to support and second him, as well as every Stella runner on the road! Kim Bonorchis is a familiar face many a runner has seen while on training runs or races, and she is an absolute breath of fresh air as she encourages with words and actions to get us to the end. She offers advice as well as drinks, meds and other necessities that are in good supply. She’s up at the crack of dawn carting runners, and on the side of the road with a smile and her iPhone in hand snapping photos as we trundle along. On one occasion this year on a training run, she injured herself while crossing the road to a support table right at the beginning of the run. We were none the wiser as she popped up on many occasions along the way – 56ks! Only later did we find out that she was injured – but not a moan! Kim your efforts at Stella have not gone unnoticed, and you will be sorely missed as you leave for the UK. We appreciate everything you have done. You are a true STAR!
So many athletes did well at Comrades this year. Everyone who received a medal can pat themselves on the back. But just to highlight a few runners who need a mention.
Edmond Mngadi, Shane Hinchliffe and Pat Freeman all obtained their treble green numbers.That is an amazing accomplishment. Thirty times going up and down equates to about 2 600 km’s and not to mention the years of training! Following close behind is Garry Mann on 29, Helen Mann on 27 and Gina Hinchliffe on 26. Vino Pillay and Annie Harmsworth have 25 each. Only two other current Stella members have done more than 30, Pat Fisher who finished her 31st this year and Phillip van Niekerk who has finished 32. Kudos also goes to Ivan Charles who obtained his 20th and Moses Ngcobo who received his green number.
Our golden girl – Jadi Clark ran a remarkable 07:37 earning herself the new Isavel Roche-Kelly medal. All the training and hours of hard work paid off!
An amazing accomplishment by one of our novices comes in the form of Gcina Msibi, who cracked a 7:02 for his first effort and a piece of silver!
And not to mention a man who does Iron Man the week before Comrades in a time of 5:17 and then finishes a week later with a Bill Rowan medal in a time of 8:34 – maybe you’re not a blonde after all!