The Warriors Wolfpack marathon which saw huge success with its inaugural run in 2021 was postponed this year due to various unforeseen circumstances. For local runners the postponement was a major blow as the race has become known as one of the most challenging on the annual circuit and to complete it, would inspire confidence and greatly add to preparations for the rest of the year’s calendar.

Two young runners from Tzaneen, Liezl Labuschagne and her best friend, Lisa-Marie Stoltz, had decided a year ago to train for the Wolfpack and complete the 32km run together. It was a bucket list entry for the inseparable duo. Sadly, Lisa passed away in May.

Liezl decided that despite the race having been postponed, she would still run the race on the day in Lisa’s honour. “We always ran together and we wore matching outfits. Lisa actually bought me a pair of ski pants specifically for the Wolfpack and they arrived in the mail a week after her passing,” Liezl remembered.

“I decided that running the race despite its postponement would be one last run that Lisa and I could do together. It was a very emotional moment for me, and one that I will cherish in my memories of my friend for time immemorial.”

After sending out a call to other runners in the area to join her, she soon garnered a group of girls who formed their own ‘pack’ and together they completed the run and paid tribute to their dear friend. “It would have been the first 32km run we completed. And now, we have completed it. Bucket list ticked.”

Another runner, Cecilia Freiheur Von Houwald, who just recently moved to Tzaneen, also ran on the day, but opted for the gruelling 42km marathon. She completed the race, making her the official, unofficial winner of the 2022 rendition of the Warriors Wolfpack marathon.

The organizers of the event were touched by the gesture and decided to honour the group for the efforts with medals and orchids.

“I was moved to tears when I saw what these girls did and we decided to have the medals manufactured and award them to these runners. It is testament to the love they felt for their friend, and the love they have for road running. Just beautiful,” said Tracey van den Dool at the medal ceremony held at Olive Tree.

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