Desmond started running while in the army, it was a way to keep him from getting bored.
Then a few of his friends started running, a couple did Comrades, and one even did the Washie 100 miler, which Desmond seconded him for.
Meet Desmond Klein
After finishing his national service, Desmond also decided to run the Comrades Marathon.
His first marathon was the Nashua Johannesburg Marathon in 1985.
He then joined Rockies (one of the oldest and most established running clubs in South Africa) and learned a lot about running from Don Oliver, who lead the club runs every Sunday.
I qualified for Comrades in 1986 with a marathon time of 3:33, which was my PB until now.”
Desmond ran the Vaal Marathon as his Comrades qualifier and managed 3:50:18!
My fastest marathon and first sub 4 hours since I started running again in 2017.”
His previous best since then was 4:06 when Desmond qualified in 2019.
After a 30-year break, he started running again in 2017.
I only started running again when my nephew told me was running a Parkrun, and wanted to do Comrades with me. (He still sometimes runs Parkruns, but has stopped talking about doing Comrades.)”
Since then, Desmond’s best PBs have been in 21km races, first 1:57 at Old Eds where he came 1st in his age group, and then a couple of months later at the Irene 21km where he came second in his age group in 1:50.
“My other best PB has been in 5km, with a PB of 22:44 in February this year.”
Welcome, Coach Parry…
Desmond joined Coach Parry in November last year.
He had decided that he needed more guidance to improve his times, as he is aiming to do a sub-10-hour Comrades.
I also wanted someone who has experience with Comrades, and local conditions.”
The Biggest Contributor To Desmond’s Success Story
I’ve learned a lot from the videos that Coach Parry posts, as well as from reading the forums.”
Desmond also says that the addition of strength training has made a BIG difference to his running.
After watching the YouTube video Shona posted about setting the goal to run Boston… I went to the Boston website and found that my time beat the qualifying time for my age group by 15 minutes!!!”
“So if my wife agrees, and my time is recognized, I might be joining Shona in Boston in 2023.”
Struggles Along The Way
The biggest hurdle for Desmond was keeping up the training and running during the lockdowns, as well as the lack of races to assess progress.
Work was also a problem, but since he has retired it’s been a bit easier.
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Hardest Part Of Reaching Goals?
I find that going on long runs by myself (3 or 4 hours) is difficult, but it does mean that I’ve learned to run without worrying or help from anyone else.”
Wonderful story Desmond!
We can’t wait to see what’s next! Keep it up:)