Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 157 Issue 157 - March 2023 | Page 14


Well Done ,

During the recent Johnson Crane Half Marathon in Johannesburg , 80-yearold Dr Reinie ‘ Dok ’ Mornet achieved the remarkable feat of completing his 600th and final half marathon . It seemed an appropriate milestone in his long running career , to go with his glittering career in the hospitality industry and academia , and we caught up with him after his run for a chat about the long road he has so clearly enjoyed travelling .
up the real essence of it , because we were talking , and making jokes , and I had no idea whatsoever what was going to happen to me after the race .”
Having reached the finish and collected their medals , Dok ’ s friends coaxed him to attend the prize-giving , ostensibly because Neville was going to be presented with a category award . “ They sat me down on a chair near the stage – by that time , I needed the chair , so I wasn ’ t complaining – but instead of Neville , they called me up to the stage , and I was presented with a signed copy of Bruce Fordyce ’ s book to commemorate my 600th half marathon finish ! I was so surprised , I just said to Manie , what have you done here ?” says Dok .

As Dok Mornet trundled along the road in the Johnson Crane Half Marathon in January , he noticed that a number of his long-time running friends were nearby , and Manie Bosch , Elbert Loubser , Dot Johnson , Nola Joubert and Neville Muir were all sticking with him , even though he was moving at a really slow pace . “ It was my slowest half marathon ever , as we finished in three hours and 47 minutes , but my friends stayed with me the whole way . We were enjoying ourselves , and I was just happy to reach my bucket list goal at last ,” says Dok . “ I found it a bit strange that they were around me the whole time , but I never picked

Dok Mornet at the start of the Johnson Crane Half Marathon with long-time running friends Dot Johnson , Nola Joubert , Neville Muir , Manie Bosch and Neville Egan .
Unbeknownst to the group , Bruce had experienced some problems during the race and was not able to stay for prize-giving , but another of their friends at the race , Neville Egan , had assisted Bruce mid-race , and because he knew about the book handover , the book somehow still arrived in time to be handed to Dok by race announcer Pete van der Merwe . And more was to follow when Dok drove back to Pretoria with Elbert and Manie after the race .
“ Suddenly , Manie said , Dok , I need your left running shoe , so I asked why , and he said , no , just give it to me . So , I gave him my shoe , and he then mounted it
Mid-race pic showing Nola , Dok , Dot , Manie and Elbert Loubser .
on a piece of wood , beautifully done , with the medal we got at the race , and a nice plaque stating it was my 600th ,” says Dok . “ That was really the cherry on the cake … I couldn ' t believe what had happened to me . It was overwhelming , a hell of a surprise , and a highlight of my 40-year running career , for sure .”
Besides feeling great joy at reaching his target , Dok says he also felt relief , because not too long ago , he was facing more than one obstacle in the road . In 2018 , during a routine check-up , his doctor said he thought he could hear something funny on the stethoscope , coming from Dok ’ s heart , and therefore sent him for an MRI scan and referred him to a cardiologist . “ Eventually they decided that I had to replace a heart valve as well as an aortic valve , and it was a big , five-hour operation that took everything out of me . I was in ICU for eight days , and then spent four more days in hospital , and in that period , I didn ’ t eat much , so I went from 80 to just 72 kilograms .”
Images : SMacPix , Norm Johnson & courtesy Elbert Loubser , Dok Mornet
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