Florida’s Thelma is an inspiration to all at age 84

Thelma Fouché with some of her medals and her running shoes. Photo: Adéle Bloem.

 

“For me, staying active is a way of life, and I believe that is what kept me healthy. You are never too old to do something, you just need to go out and try.”

The 84-year-old Thelma Fouché has 13 Comrades Marathons and countless fun runs under her belt, and has just completed her 224th Parkrun, and has not even considered stopping – yet.

She started running the weekly Parkrun at Len Rutter Park in 2012, and said with a smile, “It is only five kilometres, which is nothing to me.”

Thelma said that she was always quite fast for her age, which meant that she did not have a lot of competition in her age group, because not a lot of people her age still ran. “I have run quite a variety of races, ranging from five kilometre fun runs, 16 km races, 32 km races to the Comrades Marathon, and have won a lot of medals,” she said.

She added that she was also awarded quite a few trophies, which she has donated to the Golden Reef Running Club, where she has been a member for the past 41 years. “They can now use the trophies as prizes for the younger members, to motivate them,” Thelma said.

Thelma explained that she started running quite late in life, and only ran her first Comrades at age 48. “I went on to run 13 more, but only finished 11. On my tenth run, I did not finish, because I slipped and fell, but I went back the next year, and received my green number. I did not run again, because I was not fast enough to qualify any more,” she said.

Even though the doctor has told her that she should start taking it more slowly, as her bones are disintegrating, Thelma is still quite active. “I play tennis twice a week, spend some time on the stationary bike and treadmill and also present an exercise class for my fellow residents here at the Ons Huis Retirement Village, three times a week,” she said.

She also plays chess on a regular basis, and started learning how to play the piano, because she believes that you need to keep yourself busy otherwise your mind will go blank.

Thelma said that it would be a privilege to be seen as an inspiration to others, as she would not have achieved what she had if it were not for Nel du Plessis, who was her inspiration.

And, when will she decide that she has had enough and stop? The answer is simple, “I will keep going until I cannot walk any more!”

Do you perhaps have more information pertaining to this story? Email us at [email protected] (remember to include your contact details) or phone us on 011 955 1130.

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  AUTHOR
Adéle Bloem
Journalist

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