On Friday April 14, Somerset West resident Dr Eric Webster, 89, will tackle his 14th Two Oceans Half Marathon, but before he sets off on his run, he’ll be saying the opening Christian prayer at the start line, a duty he has performed for the past 27 years.
“The Friday race is for those people who cannot run on the Saturday for religious reasons,” Dr Webster, a Seventh Adventist minister, told Bolander on Monday, “and also for those runners who must work during the Saturday race.”
The Friday race generally has a field of around 100 runners, according to Dr Webster, of whom about 20 percent are people who must work during the Saturday race.
A long-time marathon runner, Dr Webster has completed the Comrades Marathon three times, the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon five times, and the Two Oceans Half Marathon 13 times.
He also completed the Peninsula Half-Marathon earlier this year, and last year he ran the 10km event of the Cape Town Marathon.
Dr Webster says he has gathered many engaging stories of his running experiences over the years. “I’ve run in the past with John Cameron-Dow (journalist and author) a few times, when he had to work during the Saturday race,” Dr Webster says.
“John is Roman Catholic and I’m Seventh Day Adventist, and we used to pray together while we were running. With our eyes open of course.”
With his 90th birthday in August, Dr Webster isn’t planning on hanging up his running shoes anytime soon.