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!

Maybe, anyone CAN be an Ironman!

by Margie Foord and Shantelle Walters

In 2009, the two of us decided we wanted to be runners. What the initial goal was beyond the Spar Ladies 10km at that time is hazy but, within a year of running, we set our sights on the Big C. This seems customary for Durban “joggers”.


Here we are at one our 1st races, The NOSA train race – fine tuned athletes!!

It took us two years to be able to run fast enough to qualify for Comrades but with much persistence, we got there. Margie being the wiser of the two, vehemently declined annual pleas from Shantelle to run Comrades.  In 2014, Margie finally relented and agreed to run 2015, and then in 2016 to get her “back to back” medal.

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Epic finish of the 2015 Comrades Marathon with many Stella novices

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Margie and Shantelle at the Finish with the coveted Comrades medals (they are so tiny)

Having embarked on a series of trail running events around KZN, dabbling in a bit of Mountain biking, swimming a bit across the Midmar dam, running several marathons in South Africa and having the privilege of running the iconic and beautiful Paris Marathon, Margie and Shantelle were ready to seek out the next thrill! Some photos of some of our little challenges.

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Racing wildly along the tracks at Kenneth Stainbank Reserve

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Some lovely early morning trail running in the outskirts of Durban

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An incredible and highly recommended experience – the beautiful Paris Marathon

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Getting our Duathlon medal and shirt after swimming the Midmar Mile

Having rubbed shoulders with fellow Ironmen at the Stella Athletic Club, it was obvious that this had to be our next quest.


Margie took a little more persuading (wink wink nudge nudge – Cheers! Before the night was out – she was in!)

Throwing caution (and a lot of cash) to the wind, we entered and started training in 2016 for our 2017 Ironman 140.3 mile event in Port Elizabeth, like nothing else mattered. NOTHING! Why? We were too overwhelmed and exhausted. 140.3 miles (226.2kms) stands for 2.4 mile swim (3.86kms), 112 mile cycle (180.25kms) and 26.22 mile run (42.2km). These all have to be completed in a single day and within 16h45. Each section of the race has its own cut-off times.

Training every day and sometimes twice a day, we dug deep and pulled on our running experiences from the past, the long days we had previously spent on the road on Comrades day and we were inspired by the fellow team mates who supported us on this life-changing journey.

Thanks to the Team Just-in, we followed the program, bit the bullet and we made it on to the red carpet with enough energy to strut around with our medals looking for photo opportunities to record this momentous occasion. (We occasionally take photos of ourselves at our running events). Margie – YOU ARE AN IRONMAN! Shantelle – YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!
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Anything is possible with patience, consistency and commitment, even if you slow. We have been training for eight years now and we still pretty much at the back of the bunch but we have loads of fun, have experienced so much all over the Country, met great friends and absolutely love the outdoors in whichever shape or form.
She believed she could – and she did!