Thursday, 4 August 2016

The legend that was Karl-Heinz Jost

Through running and adventure sports I have met many incredible 'mature athletes'. The first of these amazing senior citizens was German legend Karl-Heinz Jost, who, at the age of 67, ran the Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon with me in 2001. 

News just received from the event is that Karl-Heinz passed away last week after a long illness. Co-incidentally I was thinking of him yesterday. 

Karl-Heinz has never been far from my mind and I still get uncontrollable giggles when recounting how he 'turned turtle' after tripping and falling on the way up the Molopo River on the way to Riemvasmaak. He ended up with his head downhill and, with his weighted backpack underneath him, his arms and legs were flailing like that of a tortoise turned upsidedown. And he couldn't get up. I was paraletic with laughter so I wasn't much help. This is one of my fondest memories from my first KAEM where I spent quite a bit of time with Karl-Heinz. He left an impression on me that is still positive, inspiring and strong 15 years later.

"It is never too late to start. Everyone can start, beginning with a little bit more. Soon it will begin to feel good and you desire to get more of this good feeling the next time. You look happier, stronger, younger, healthier… To make sport is a thing of the mind."
I wrote this article on Karl-Heinz in 2004 for Good Taste magazine (three and a half pages). It was my first feature article for a non-running publication. Karl-Heinz was an interesting and inspiring character who I was fortunate to have met.

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