RUNNING the Washie 100 Miler is a challenge only a few of the most hardened and extreme road runners will consider taking on, and by itself the 161km course demands great respect, preparation and participants who are mentally fit and in optimal physical shape.
One runner, Tobie Reyneke, a humble family man and attorney from Pretoria defied all logic and finished a “double Washie”, running the ultra-marathon to East London with the rest of the field, and then turning around and heading back to Port Alfred.
Describing himself as a slow runner, Reyneke has made several attempts to do the 200 mile course from Port Alfred to East London and back. He took on the mammoth journey to raise awareness for Tears, a non-profit organisation that looks after abused women and children, as well as honouring the memory of a close friend, Rijk van Oostenbrug, who passed away earlier this year from brain cancer.
On his forearms Reyneke wrote the names of his friend and his wife. “Every time I looked down I pressed on and felt the drive to keep going,” he said.
In 2011 Reyneke ran the Comrades back to back and the seed was planted to run the Washie back to back. He has run for several causes including awareness and fundraising for rhino poaching.
On previous attempts occasions, Reyneke has withdrawn for varying reasons. In 2014 he ran from East London to Port Alfred and planned to run back to East London with the other Washie 100 runners but didn’t make it to the 50km cut-off.
“It’s about not giving up. It’s about starting over. If you have to run 500 miles to finish 200 miles, then so be it,” he said.
Reyenke started running in 2008 and ran his first Washie in 2009. “I have been running a lot, I love it. It’s about the open horizon; there’s no finish line. You can stop if you want or keep going,” he said.
A humbled Reyneke said he did not tell people what he was attempting before the race. “You don’t want to scare people with what you do,” he said.
He believes running for a charity is really important and plays a massive role in inspiring people. Just like he is completely dependent on the support of his seconders for finishing and safe-guarding, so people make a difference when they stand together, he said.
“I don’t want to stand alone.”
What he likes best about the Washie is the beautiful scenery and especially the moon over the rivers at night.
The finish was emotional for Reyneke, who said he struggled against the elements on Sunday evening approaching the Riet River valley. “The hill is about 1.8km and is a miserable little hill. Port Alfred seems to never come,” he said.
Commenting on why some of the younger runners struggle to complete the Washie, Reyneke said it’s because they run with their bodies and not their minds. Arriving in Port Alfred and having to complete the 16km circuit before the finish, Reyneke said it was a mental challenge because “you’re here, but not finished yet”.
Fanie Naude and Magda Venter completed the circuit with him and supported him to the finish at 7.20am Monday morning, finishing the 322km circuit in a time of 62:21:08.
To donate to the cause SMS the word TEARS to 40111 to support Reyneke in his efforts. A once off fee of R20 will go towards the cause.