by Michelle Carnegie
19 March 2019
She has run 10 Two Oceans Ultra’s, 8 Comrades Marathons and over 50 standard marathons and ultras. But one thing Kim van Niekerk has never done is run an international marathon. Now this 49-year-old Gauteng resident has decided 2019 is the year to take on the Virgin Money London Marathon. After all, it is the year in which she turns 50.
Together with husband Gavin (55) the Dowerglen based couple will be taking on the London Marathon come 28 April, and both can’t wait. “We are looking forward to running through the streets of London and passing all the landmarks. We want to enjoy the race and take everything in. After the race we plan on having a cold beer, kicking up our feet and enjoying a plate of fish and chips.”
Seasoned local athletes
Though the Virgin Money London Marathon will be their first international marathon, they are no newbies to the sport of running, cycling or triathlons.
On top of finishing the two major long distance road races in South Africa - Oceans and Comrades – Kim has also completed some trial runs (Mont-Aux-Sources and Oxpecker) as well as 94.7 cycle events.
Hubby Gavin ran his first marathon in his early 20’s and the rest is history. “I couldn’t walk for three days after but the bug had bitten. Since then I have run all of the major races in SA (Comrades and Two Oceans) and two years ago I completed the 70.3 Ironman in Durban. Last year I completed the Ox-Pecker trail run, and I have done eight 94.7 cycle races.”
Taking on London
“We have always wanted to run an international marathon, and specifically the London Marathon. Kim is turning 50 in August so we decided that this would be a good year to do it,” says Gavin.
The couple will be staying with family in Surrey and are planning to visit Wales and Brighton on Sea. “We would like to run a parkrun while we are there and really look forward to travelling around London. We can’t wait to partake in this amazing event!”
Training has been going well with four training runs a week and a 20km long run on weekends. “We will be running a 30km long run in April before we leave.”
After the London Marathon there seems to be no stopping Kim and Gavin. Kim will be tackling her 9thComrades Marathon in June and Gavin will take on the Coronation Double Century Cycle Race towards the end of the year. And their next international goal? The 70.3 Ironman in Florida in 2020!
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