Cerebral palsy ultra marathon runner makes history

2008-03-24 00:00

It was a long but successful day for 31-year-old Daryl “Daz” Howe, who was one of a number of runners raising funds for charity in the weekend’s 39th Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon.

Daz suffers from C6 cerebral palsy, affecting all four limbs to an extent that doctors said he would never walk, but at 3.30 on Saturday afternoon the Australian from Perth crossed the finish line in a record 10 hours, five minutes and 58 seconds.

It is believed that Howe has run himself into the record books as the first person suffering from cerebral palsy to finish an ultra marathon.

With a best of 10 marathon times of five hours 21 minutes, he had been expected to complete the race in around eight hours, and had been started one hour early by the organisers.

However, the strong south-easterly impacted on his progress.

“Keeping balance is one of Daz’s greatest challenges,” said Marc Smith, who ran with him the whole way, “and the swirling and buffeting wind was the most challenging for him, just to keep upright.”

Despite his own disability, Howe entered the race to raise funds in the name of the JAG Foundation to enable disadvantaged primary schoolchildren in South Africa to participate in a running programme.

In true sporting spirit, the achievement was not lost on race winner Marco Mambo, who stayed to present Daz with a medal.

“First or last —both were winners,” said race organiser Rowyn James.

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