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Yet another victory for Paralympian Van Dyk
- Updated: February 24, 2015
Ernst van Dyk has raced his way to yet another prestigious road race title, writes Mark Etheridge.
The six-time Paralympian’s latest win came in the annual OCC Marathon in George, Southern Cape.
Van Dyk has been involved with the wheelchair event ever since its inception in 2003.
His latest time was 1hr 09min 01 and he beat fellow competitors Andries Scheepers (1:09:10) and Stuart McCreadie into second and third place respectively.
It’s been a long-standing joke that the local registration plate of CAW stands for Cold and Wet or Cold and Windy due to the little town’s climate.
And so it turned out to be at the weekend.
‘There was yet another great turn out for the event,’ Van Dyk told Road to Rio 2016. ‘But it was sad to learn that one of the competitors from Zimbabwe was hit by a car in George on Thursday morning and died later in hospital. It was a cold and cruel reminder on how exposed we are out there on the road.’
The race had some additional international flavour with the entry of veteran Scottish athlete Kenny Harriot.
‘Conditions for the race started out cool and windy and later turned to windy, cold and wet,’ relates Van Dyk. ‘In the first lap there were four of us in the group with myself, Andries, Stuart and Kenny from Scotland.
‘We blitzed the first 12 kilometres with 40km/h ave speed but then the cross winds picked up and we slowed quite a bit.
‘Kenny hung with us for close to one lap but lost touch at one of the turning points and could not fight back in the wind.’
That saw the three South Africans left to fight it out for line honours. ‘We kept the pace high but in the last 12km the rain picked up a lot and visibility dropped and things got really slippery.
‘We stuck together but with around 500m to go I started my sprint and opened a significant gap before we hit the line.’
And although Van Dyk might not have been happy with his time but was happy to have banked the win. ‘The time was not the fastest we’ve done for this course but conditions were not favourable for any records.
‘I felt good all the way and was able to finish strong,’ he concluded.