Runner’s race for funds

Bart Jonck in his home taking a break from practising for his bug run in April.

A 76-year-old runner is planning to run 76km in 76 hours to raise money for the West Coast Athletic Club.

Bart Jonck, of Table View, will hit the road from Thursday April 5 to Saturday April 7, doing at least 25km a day.

The club is raising money to build a clubhouse near the Table View Tennis Club.

Born in Durban, Mr Jonck was not much of a runner, although he played rugby in school.

A boat accident in Port Alfred in 2007 put him a wheelchair for nine months.

“The accident crushed my right foot, broke my left ankle and had significant damage to my back,” he says.

“The NRSI helped me and took me to hospital. Fortunately the boat wasn’t damaged that bad, but the hospital cost to me was
R160 000 because I was liable to the people that were also on the boat and responsible for the injuries they sustained.”

His legs were in bad shape after the accident, but he was determined to heal and after a few more months of operations and physiotherapy, he took up running, at first to speed up his recovery and later to keep fit.

Four years ago, he was living in Benoni, where he ran a business with his daughter, and joined the Benoni Northerns Athletic Club.

Two years later, he and his wife moved to Table View, where he joined the West Coast Athletic Club and won the Runner of the Year award two years in a row.

“I feel that my age is a bit of an obstacle, especially because I have never attempted 76km before. The most that I have run was 27km a couple of years ago,” he says.

“I would like to ask people to donate to my upcoming run, even if it is R1 per kilometre completed. That would go a long way in raising funds for our clubhouse.”

Carl Pohl, who is in charge of the club’s fund-raising, says they need about R700 000 for the clubhouse.

“Our club is 40 years old, and it’s amazing that we have never had a clubhouse to call our own. The municipality has finally given us a piece of land. Together with the initiative by Bart, we are having a golf day on March 24 at Atlantic Beach Country Club and a wine auction on April 12 at Ratanga Junction.”

Mr Jonck’s motto in life is “Don’t stop when tired. Stop when done!” And he says he’s not done yet by a long shot.

* Visit the West Coast Athletic Club Facebook page, SMS 083 409 8082 or email Bart Jonk at to support the club’s fund-raising efforts.