A Running Inspiration

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My 59-year-old father, Frank Maloney, is about to run (and hopefully complete) his 20th Comrades ultra marathon this year – running under the colours of the Alberton Athletic Running Club in the South of Johannesburg, where he has been a member since 1985.

He was involved in a very serious accident 21 years ago, where the tyres of the combi in which he was travelling burst and the vehicle rolled down a cliff. He was very lucky to have survived. Passengers were seriously injured. My father’s right hip was brutally shattered.

Basically my father was told that he would never run again. Thankfully he is a stubborn and optimistic man. Over the past two decades he has gone on to complete many ultra marathons, ten Tough Ones, two ‘Iron Man’ competitions and has many other accolades to his name. In a nutshell, he has proven the doctors and sceptics wrong.

He will celebrate his 60th birthday next year and now the years of wear and tear on his hip are taking their toll. He’s been told he will need a hip replacement pretty soon. The cartilage around the joint has worn away and the bones have actually fused themselves together, causing him much discomfort & pain.

After many consultations with specialists and experts (including his idol Bruce Fordyce) he has decided to give it his all in 2011, and to do his 20th Comrades before saying goodbye to long-distance running and hello to a new hip – a ‘faster’ hip, as he calls it.

His training this year has been a bit slow and painful for him, as after a certain distance, and many painkillers, his hip joint goes completely numb and lame. But one thing remains firm with him, he never leaves a runner behind. He is usually the one called on by beginners and other runners trying to finish a race in a certain time or just to qualify – and you can bet your last penny that he will make that happen, no matter what pain he is feeling.

To me, he is the true defi nition of a legend. I look up to him so much because instead of giving in and doing what the doctors actually told him to do, he has fought all the way. He also, recently broke his finger whilst running a race and tripped and fell and had to run in his cast for 6 weeks. The man won’t give up!

He does a lot of charity runs for Cancer and a couple of years ago, he along with his fellow Alberton runners ran a relay race over a couple of days, day and night to raise money for the Alberton Cancer Day Care Centre.

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