Many people in the Port Elizabeth running scene will know the van Eden family. After all, husband and wife duo Jan and Irene have given countless years to the sport. Currently chairman of the Nedbank running club in Port Elizabeth, Jan has also served on the EPA road commission for over 20 years and is also an ASA accredited route measurer. But it is not just administrative duties that he is known for, but also his running.
Next weekend Jan and Irene make the trek to Athens, Greece to partake in the Athens Marathon, an event with rich history in more ways than one. The tale upon which the modern Marathon rests is the mythic run of Pheidippides from Marathon to Athens. He was a professional messenger and, in 490BC, is supposed to have brought a message from the plains of Marathon, where the Greek Army had just won a crucial battle against the invading Persian Army of General Datis. After the battle, in which he may have taken part, he was dispatched to Athens to deliver the news: “Rejoice, we are victorious”. He did this, and no more, dropping dead with the delivery. It is on this same route that Pheidippides took that the Athens Marathon takes place.
It also wont just be yet another marathon for Jan. This will be his 100th marathon. What better place to do your 100th than at the birthplace of the marathon. Starting back in 1988 at the age of 30, Jan began his marathon journey and also boasts a not too shabby personal best of 2:48:06. Out of the 99 he has done so far, he rates the PE City Marathon, no bias by the way, as one of the best ones and is also proud of the fact that he managed to run a sub 3-hour marathon at Knysna which is not the quickest of courses.
Quite fitting that after completing his 100th marathon in Athens next weekend, the event will qualify him for next years Two Oceans Marathon which will not only be his 30th event, but also his 100th ultra.
You wont find a more dynamic duo than Jan and Irene who have given so much to the sport and continue to do so in the Nedbank running club.
The Nedbank running club wishes Jan all the best on his 100th marathon!