On 19 April 2014, Jeremy Hazell, 63, became the first person to complete the 56km Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon (OMTOM) in his regular day wheelchair, fitted only with a third accessory wheel for improved steering and manoevreability. Jeremy completed the event in a time of 6h40m, finishing with 20 minutes to spare.
An active outdoorsman and lover of the mountains, Jeremy became paralysed in a fall on Table Mountain in 1998. He has been a wheelchair user ever since. After 13 years of inactivity and declining health he was inspired by a Tim Noakes article on the now-famous LCHF (low-carbohydrate high-fat) / Banting diet to revitalise his health and start exercising seriously, losing 30 kg in the process. Fittingly the 56km Ultra Marathon route crisscrosses the Table Mountain chain where Jeremy challenged his nemesis.
He says, “I am inspired by the many disabled people who live out the motto that they prefer to be known for what they can do rather than by what they can’t do. I hope, by taking on this crazy challenge, people will donate generously to two very worthy causes, enabling those less fortunate than others of us to access their abilities.”
In 2012, Jeremy completed the OMTOM Half Marathon (21 km), in appallingly wild, wet and windy conditions. In doing so, he raised in excess of R50,000 for Senecio, an organisation which provides support for people with disabilities from underprivileged communities in the Helderberg. Undaunted, Jeremy returned to complete the OMTOM Half Marathon again in 2013. Since then, he has completed a number of other half marathons and events of varying distances, some involving rough and gravelly terrain. A significant highlight, in February 2013, was Jeremy’s finishing the full Peninsula Marathon (42 km) in a time of 4h41m. On 16 February 2014 he repeated that feat in hotter and windier conditions, completing the Peninsula Marathon in 4h38m, thereby qualifying his entry for the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon in 2014.
During events, Jeremy uses a clip-on third wheel called a FreeWheel, but does not use a racing wheelchair. He participates as a member of the Chaeli Sports & Recreation Club, in their distinctive purple colours.
For more information about this year’s Two Oceans Marathon, or if you’re interested in getting involved, please contact us or visit Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon.