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.
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 & 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 3years 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!!