Quintin van Jaarsveld
The South Coast Striders will pay tribute to one of the club’s most cherished and respected athletes in South Coast Hospice’s Family Fun Run, which will take place in Uvongo on Human Rights Day on Monday.
Stephanie Markram, a 24-year member and legend of the Uvongo-based club, passed away at the age of 71 on March 1 after battling cancer.
Markham, who was the Head of the Afrikaans Department at Port Shepstone High School for over 30 years, was diagnosed with the disease in December of 2014 and remarkably continued to run – and excel – for most of 2015.
She ran her final race, the Sani 21km, last November and went out on top as she won her age-group category.
That swansong victory, one of countless throughout her decorated career, spoke volumes of Markram’s character and indomitable spirit.
While conquering the Comrades at the age of 55 in 2000 was perhaps her most significant achievement, her triumph in November was arguably the most meaningful of her life.
It transcended sporting spheres – it was a triumph of the human spirit. It characterised the way she lived and competed and was the most fitting manner to end the career of one of the most inspirational athletes in South Coast history.
A gifted and determined runner and walker, she completed countless ultra-marathons, was a perennial age-group winner in various race distances and a multi-time club champion.
Markram left an inedible mark on the Striders and South Coast athletics as a whole, and received the honour of being inducted as a honourary life member of the club at the beginning of the year.
She spent some of her final days at South Coast Hospice, where she received the top-class palliative care synonymous with the non-profit organisation, and it’s the combination of these factors that have prompted Striders athletes to dedicate Monday’s run to Markham’s memory.
“She received excellent care at Hospice so we feel this is a great way to honour Stephanie and thank and raise funds for Hospice,” close friend and Striders walker Ronel Viljoen told eHowzit.
Viljoen met Markram in 1986 and said it was she who introduced her to walking and the club in 1999.
She looks back fondly on their 30-year friendship and hailed Markham as an exceptional person and athlete.
“Stephanie was a kind-hearted person. She had a wonderful attitude and her willingness to help other athletes really stood out.
“Every race was a challenge to her and failing was never an option. She will be missed by everyone at the club and leaves a legacy of dignity, friendship and perseverance.”
Monday’s 5km/10km event is open to runners, walkers, prams, pets on leashes, wheelchairs, crutches and bicycles.
The run starts at the Uvongo Pier at 8am, taking participants along Lillicrona Boulevard and back, with watering tables at the start/finish and at the turn-around point at Manaba Beach.
Entry is R25 per person and all funds raised will go towards palliative patient care.
“This is a family fun day because this is what Hospice works for – families,” said Hospice fund-raising co-ordinator BT King.
“Every entrant will be given a Canvas goodie bag, with a drinking bottle and a hand-made keyring for adults and jelly babies for children. All finishers will also receive a hand-made gift.
“We will have music and some boerewors rolls, tea, coffee cold drinks for sale at the finish.”
To enter or for more information, contact King on 039 682 3031, 072 3449 546 or 082 728 0233.