Stella Accolades

Stella Accolades – December Edition

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.

Pat Freeman

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:

  1.  1000km challenge  (completing 1000km of registered races in one calendar year) for 3 years running – Permanent Number 320
  2. Mont Aux Sources 50km Ultra Trail  (5 times)  Permanent number 151
  3. Two Oceans Permanent Number 1650   –   best time ever 5.24
  4. Rhodes 52km Ultra Trail – Permanent number 323
  5. 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!

Louise Hucklesby

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.

PB’s

  • 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!!

Stella Accolades – November Edition

By: Sandy Mullins

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!

Grant Matkovich

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!

Stella Accolades September Edition

By Sandy Mullins

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!

Jadi Clark

“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! 

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Gcina Msibi

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. 

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Kim Clunas-Bonorchis

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!

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Stella Accolades

By Sandy Mullins

Stella is a club of many talented athletes, and in varying degrees, not necessarily in speed, but also in endurance, grit, stickability and character. Often achievements are made and they fly under the radar. So my aim is to acknowledge our Stars by highlighting their achievements and giving credit where credit is due. If you know of someone who you feel needs to be recognised, please send me a mail and we can honour our Stars. It could be coming “first” in your personal race against time, or achieving a goal that ticks off a bucket list. Or it could be the support and encouragement given to runners that makes this individual shine.  It will take time but we will do our best to make sure you do your best!

To kick-start the Accolades, here are a couple of Stars that have made an impact this year.


Stars to the Rescue!

By Sandy Mullins

Not every run planned goes according to plan! Saturday 23rd of Feb 2019, was one such run. A training run from the club had been planned, a tough Cowies Hill and back 32k, which under normal circumstances is challenging to say the least. We arrive at the club before 5:00 and start ambling up the road gearing up for the challenge. As we look up in the dawn light, a chap on a bicycle comes past us and we see Clay Bonorchis running towards us – shouting and gesticulating to the group to stop that guy – he’s just hijacked that bike off a mature cyclist doing an early morning ride. The next minute, Julian Robert followed by Clay go hurtling off, giving chase that would have given Usain Bolt a run for his money. The rest of us stunned, are not quite sure what to do now. Do we wait; do we carry on and hope that our two brave idiots are okay and catch up? We decided to continue slowly. About 4ks down, Kevin Hendrikse phoned Gabriel, our car guard at the club to find out if Clay and Julian had returned. They had and he told Clay to join us at 45th cutting if they were up to it. 

What had transpired was that they managed to catch up to the thief and eventually retrieved the bicycle, though the badly stunned crook managed to get away. They then took the bike to the club and gave it to the cyclist with a stern admonition from Clay. After having done a world record 2k’s or so – these two gents still proceeded to run up to Cowies and caught up with us! Absolute respect for our heroes – who did not hesitate to help in a time of need! 


Sam Mkhonto 

By Sandy Mullins

There are so many Stella members who fly under the radar, yet contribute so much to Stella. One amazing man is Sam Mkhonto, who has been running with the club for many years. He is over 60 and has ten Comrades under his belt, his best time being 8:51 and still continues to run credible times. But what is special about this gentleman is the encouragement he gives to other runners. Every week you see him and a few other athletes training in the park. At club runs, he comes alongside aspiring athletes and gently gives them advice and reinforcement. I went through a bad patch one year, and while running one day, this gentle presence came alongside me and gave me tips and pushed me through, when I was feeling as flat as a pancake. I know many have been touched by his encouragement. His passion for Stella and the runners is noticeable. Sam – you are a star of note and deserve to be recognised!

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Sharon Troll

By Sandy Mullins

This quiet, unassuming lady is a walker of note. She is part of the walking squad, though is quite able to run too!

In March this year, Sharon attended the KZN Masters Champs 5000 meter track events. On the Friday evening, she came second in her age category for the 5k walk in a time of 33:57, and to top it all, the next day did the 10k walk in 1:14, receiving silver medals for both events. 

Well done Sharon – you are a champ!!b03ac321-6d4b-4d60-8a43-784daab9aecf.jpg


Michael Mostert

By Dave Beattie

Mike Mostert is the epitome of a big man with a big heart. Not only is he our Walking Road Captain, but he is also the person who champions walking at club, race and league level. Nothing is too much effort for Mike and you will always see him in the middle of his gaggle of walkers. He is the person to whisper encouragement into a new walker’s ear and push his protégés to be the best that they can be.  He is certainly quick with a chirp and similarly fast on his feet. Mike is innovative in his training methods and is not scared to try and convert seasoned runners to the walking discipline. The Stella walking team would not have achieved the league wins that they have had without his excellent leadership, drive and encouragement. Mike is a great guy and huge asset to the club. 

Michael compressed