Joshua Wolmarans, flanked by his mother Judy Hitchings (right) and his aunt Wendy Davis, will celebrate his 20th birthday with a debut Comrades run.
Whereas many youngsters would rather be at a club partying away their exit from the ‘terrible’ teens, Joshua Wolmarans will be running his way into the twenties.

Wolmarans turns 20 on Sunday and, to mark this milestone, the lad from Edenvale will be making his debut at the Comrades Marathon.

“What a crazy way to celebrate my birthday right,” he laughs as he begins to share the story of his decision to tackle The Ultimate Human Race.

“My friends certainly think so because when I asked them to join me and celebrate my birthday by running Comrades they all refused.”

He really is crazy - after all Wolmarans only started running last year at the behest of his mother.

“My mom, Judy Hitchings, has been running for four years and she did her first Comrades last year. She told me that I could do it and encouraged me to try it out.”

And so, armed with a few 21km races to his name, Wolmarans, with mom egging him on, registered for the Vaal Marathon in February and finished in an impressive time of 4 hours 20 minutes.

With the Comrades ticket secured, Joshua then headed to Cape Town and completed the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon.

“I am not scared because I ran and finished my first ultra marathon in Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon and I really enjoyed it,” the young man says. “I am targeting sub 11 hours. I want to finish before cut-off time so actually my biggest aim is to finish the race,” he said.

Running is not something Joshua intends taking up seriously. His passion is graphic design, which he is studying at Inscape Education Group in Midrand.

“I will be doing running for fun. My focus is in graphic designing. I want to be one of the best in the country,” said the Bedfordview Athletics Club athlete.

As it became clear he would be running The Ultimate Human Race, Joshua said his mother gave him valuable advice.

“She told me that it's possible, I need to eat the right diet, and she told me to quit smoking which I did at the beginning of this year,” he laughs.

And now he is ready to take on Comrades.

“All I want is to finish the greatest race in South Africa. I do not want to win it. I will not talk about winning it in future.”

On Sunday though, Joshua will be out for a pretty unique birthday celebration, one he will definitely never forget. And his friends will probably wish they had tagged along.

“I am not feeling bad about their decision not to join me. But I am willing to show them that it is possible.”

The Star

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