Monday, November 2, 2015

200th HALF

12 May 1990 I lined up for my first half, it was Pick ‘n Pay half hosted by VOB… I don’t remember a lot about that race, but as a 20 year old doing my National Service, I was gunning for a sub 90. It might have still been on as we passed the garage on Lady’s Mile heading home, but the legs were toast and I remember hurting as I crossed the bridge over the M3. I finished with 92:20.

90min would easily be broken in my next half, in fact I would run 77:15 at Federated Timbers in Feb of 1991… Roll on to March 1995 and a windless day in Elsies River. I hadn’t targeted this race, but I was in good shape… I remember the race had a dog leg in the 1st km and while I made a point of running around the marshal a lot of people took a short cut. Then I caught up to Julius Oosthuizen and tucked in and behind him! I followed him step for step through 5km in 16:45 and the next 5 in 16:46 (10 in 33:31). He joked that I would run a 15km BP if I could hold on… I remember a big Dutch guy with a black vest running with us as well as one or 2 other guys (one could have been Aubrey?) we had slowed 16:59 (50:28 through 15km). Then Julius took the pace again (ok it was from 14km the other guys had let it slip) I just followed step for step! 3:16, 3:14, we didn’t slow down, only the Dutch guy stuck with us. The 5km to 20km that flown by 16:13, then I surged passed Jules pushing for the finish-line 70:07 I would never break 71 again, that was just one of those days when you are invincible!

Like many of you I loved the half and notched up lots of them, in 2002 I ran 18! I’ve raced them, winning a couple, Kloof Nek and Hemal & Aarde neither of which were flat! I’ve run with friends and my wife, sometimes just for fun and other times to help them aim at BPs… I remember Gun Run back in 1994, I went out with the leaders and then after 1km I slowed watching the field go by, I had planned on just running sub 90 that day… But at 3km when Jenny Bam passed me she said: No Dion you can’t slow down help me run a good time… 76:15 good enough for you?

28 Sept 1996 Bonnievale half, a couple of us had gone away for the weekend, and while I was trying to win the race (finished 3rd in 71:45) I ended up winning the heart of Dawn!

My slowest half was run in Elgin on a hilly route with Stef and Mike, and while we were on sub 90 pace till a few km from the end ‘they’ throw in an extra loop making the route maybe as long a 22km so my time of 94:16 could have been something different.

Then in Dec 2011 after swimming in the dam at Lourensford half and finishing in 85:08 I noticed that with 182 half’s to my name I had an average of just over 80min, with only 6 min 29 to make up I set about running down those seconds with the goal of reaching 200 with an average of under 80! I cut out the hilly routes and started racing, no more fun half’s. In the next 14 races I would loss time to the wind of Milkwood 2012 and the Slave run been 500m long in 2013… with only 4 to go and carrying an injury I only ran 2 in 2014 losing time in both (I had built up a small buffer). Being permanent number 1 at Landmarks Half I decided that it would be a good race to run number 200 at, so with only 1 half run in the first half of the year I was all set for number 200.

While I wanted a sub 80 and I believed I could do it I only needed 83 to keep my average in tacked. I started well and was looking good at 5km at was started the climb, I pushed through UCT, but Rhodes Mem… I was slow losing 30sec on my splits from other years, so it would be a big ask to make up almost 2 min in the 2nd half… but it was downhill and I was pushing harder than normal and closing the gap. By 15km it was 67sec to make up but with 199 half’s in the legs they didn’t want to give any more and those last 5km hurt! I finished with 82:02 in 36th place 2nd 45+…

Over the years I’ve only been over 90min on 5 occasions while I broken 80min 119 times… My total running time of 266h38:57 means I still have 1:03 in the bag…

Ran a lot of the 200 with these guys!


  1. 200 half marathons is an impressive resume. I'll have to keep running till I'm about 80 to get there. But hey, I've got nothing better to do for the next 30 years.

  2. Char: I'm 83 and haven't run anything like 200 ½ marathons!
    Coach: An instructor at a local Sports Centre conned me into running my first ½ marathon when aged 54. I finished way behind him in 95.21. When I was 58 I raced him again, clocking 81.23, and beat him. I somehow felt I'd graduated.
    Congratulations on your 200.....

  3. That is fantastic Dion, well done! I have far more half marathons than any other distance. I think there are far more of them around probably. A great distance because you can finish before it hurts. On to the next 100!

    1. The last couple have hurt, so best I start training for a road half next and take a bit of trail time out... NO it's summer and the mountains are calling...

  4. I thought my 86 multi-sport trades was impressive. 200 halts is amazing!