Youngest runner: rookie’s size 13 shoes to follow in granddad’s tracks

2011-05-25 00:00

AFTER growing up with the Comrades Marathon as a big part of his life, this year’s youngest Comrades competitor is excited to finally have a shot at the race in his size 13 running shoes.

Twenty-year-old Nathan Kipps of Durban said, “I have always been running and always wanted to do the Comrades.”

His mother, Melanie, said: “We’re a very sporty family … Every year we’d get up early and watch from the start to the finish.” This became a tradition that Kipps remembers well.

His grandfather, Jan le Roux, competed in several marathons, and although they never ran a Comrades Marathon, Kipps is dedicating his run to his grandparents, Jan and Evonne. They died 14 years ago, within a few months of each other.

Kipps’s uncle, Deon le Roux, has also taken part in the 87-kilometre race four times, and will be joining Kipps in his first attempt.

Kipps realised at a young age that he was a talented runner, and participated in cross-country at school. Since then his feet have grown to size 13, which will probably serve him well in this year’s up run.

The former Queensburgh High School boy also developed a love for music. After receiving lessons at Scouts, Kipps played as side drummer in the pipe band of the 1st Medical Battalion. He now installs music systems for Mr Price events.

While his job does allow him to travel often, it also disrupts his training schedule.

The young runner has been preparing for race day since last year’s Comrades.

“I’m really nervous … I’ve heard of some of people who haven’t finished,” said Kipps. “I’m going into unknown territory, and I’m just hoping to finish.”

His mother believes he will make it to the finish, saying, “He’s very determined. If he puts his mind to something, he gets 100% out of it.”

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