- Ipeleng has a brain deformity that has caused him to be off balance
- He does not believe in limiting himself because of it and so he will be taking on the Two Oceans Marathon
- He say's that this is only the beginning of his journey and that he has a lot more to conquer
Ipeleng Khunou makes his debut in the Old Mutual Two Oceans Half Marathon on 31 March 2018 alongside thousand of other runners who have entered the famous race.
What makes Mr. Khunou different from the rest is that he is competing in the race on crutches due to a brain deformity called Septo Optic Dysplasia which causes him to have no balance. But, this is not stopping this young man’s determination to compete in the country’s biggest half marathon.
The 31-year-old has said that he has always looked for any excuse to get moving on his feet and his journey as a runner started during his childhood. “I’ve always tried to run. Especially as a child where we would play games that involved chasing each other. For me, its not about speed, I just love to move.”
Khunou first started running seriously 12 years ago in a bid to lose weight. “I came in at about 120kg and I decided that I needed to change my life and running was the easiest way to do that.’ His running success includes having completed several half marathons including the Old Mutual Om Die Dam.
His debut in the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon is not just a thrilling experience but a chance to bring awareness to a greater cause. “I’m really excited about this. What makes it special for me is that I’m going to be raising money for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. A lot of people tell me that I am an inspirational person because I run on crutches, but I have not felt the same. Now I have a purpose to run, and I am driven to finish with a medal. I can’t let the children down,” this is not an easy task, running with crutches is incredibly taxing on the body and mind.
“I just got some new crutches to run with. In fact, they’re called ‘smart crutches’ and they have been slightly adapted. The OMTOM is the first time I am going to be using them. I’m looking forward to using them because they will help me with the impact.”
“Often it’s your shoulders that take the beating.” He adds “Other challenges come abut in uneven road surfaces where there are lots of potholes. Also, when it’s rainy it makes things very slippery. But something that I constantly worry about is the rubber on the bottom because that can wear out easily and quickly”
For Khunou this is only the beginning of his journey. He hopes to take on longer distance and hopes to go on to do the OMTOM Ultra Marathon, next up for the young man though is a planned run from Pretoria to Cape Town next year with other runners of varied abilities.
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