Van Dyk’s Boston win ‘for himself’ this time

2014-04-25 00:00

ERNST van Dyk realised in the last 100 metres of the Boston Marathon that he would achieve his 10th win in the race.

With his Boston win in 2001 the athlete realised he could help change the way the world sees disabled people, but this time the win was for himself

This is what the wheelchair-bound South African wrote in an e-mail to sister paper Beeld after he broke his own record for the most victories yet in the wheelchair category of the race on Monday.

“I pushed hard from the start to get a 20-30 second lead and then had to maintain that pace the whole way to stay the lead.”

Behind him, he could see that his two Japanese competitors were attempting to try and catch up with him and Van Dyk couldn’t relax the pace for moment. “For me it was an 80-minute time trial. Ask any runner or cyclist how hard is it to operate at your peak for 80 minutes.”

When he eventually flashed over the finish line many emotions and thoughts went through his mind. “In the back of my mind there was the thought of the bombs last year and the process to work through this — I was directly across the street from the second explosion.

“Then there was the fact that I last won this marathon in 2010 and many people had written off any possibility that I could get a 10th win.”

He said the relief was huge since all the long hours of training from November onwards had paid off. With his ninth win in 2010, he had already bettered the previous record by one person of eight wins in the wheelchair category, so a record was not what it was about for Van Dyk.

“The 10th win was more a personal journey and something I wanted to prove to myself and not the world. People have started to write me off and I did it [winning] by recording my third fastest time in my 22-year career.”

He will next compete in Italy in the first UCI World Cup for hand cycling.

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