The Race of Life

©2012 Edward C. Lunnon

Wednesday 18 January 2012: 5 years 4 months on … Deuce


My speech at the prize-giving at the Run/Walk in the Parks road race events held on Saturday 14 January 2012 at Grey Junior School, Port Elizabeth:

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, and especially the busload of 20 athletes from Graaff-Reinet.

Imagine, if you will, the Race of Life.

Like today’s race and any other road race, it begins with a registration form and the allocation of a number, which you keep with you for the entire duration of your life.

At the completion of Life’s race, a death certificate, like a medal, is issued to indicate that the race is finished.

For some, it’s a longer race and for others a very much shorter race. For all, like the song says, it’s a winding road.

There are uphills and downhills, watering points, potholes and stumbling points; sometimes you race in groups and other times you are all by yourself.

Some people appear to do it so easily – they just sail through it; others have great difficulties and obstacles to overcome along the way. It’s not just plain sailing for them.

What is important, however, is that as participants in the race we need to enjoy every step of the way, from start to finish, put in all we’ve got and above all, have fun – because all too soon it is over!

I hope that you have all had fun today.

I received a note yesterday from a friend which read “I am encouraging my friends to run your race on Saturday.”

Most healthy people have no idea what it is like to run my race or the race that so many people with special needs run each day. That is what today has been about – raising awareness about people whose race is just a little bit more difficult than your own.

So next time you brush your teeth or don your running shoes or just go for a walk in the park, please spare a thought for those of us who are challenged to do like wise!

Thank you for being here today.

Thanks to Loines, Colleen and their team for all the hard work in organising this event and to the Headmaster and Rector of the Grey Schools for the use of their facilities.

Thanks to all the many sponsors whom Alec has mentioned.

By your participation in this event today, you have not only helped raise awareness about the special needs of so many people, but you have also contributed financially to making our life’s journey that much easier.

I am humbled by your support and thank you most sincerely for that.

I hope and pray that this time next year, in 2013, we may all be here again, and that Loines’s vision of making this, the ED Lunnon Walk/Run in the Parks, an annual event, will come to fruition.

Thank you!



It’s Not Just a Walk in the Park

©2011 Edward C. Lunnon


Tuesday 17 January 2012: 5 years 4 months on … Advantage ED

Two months ago Loynes Jenkerson was unknown to me.

Then I received a phone call from him – to thank me for our radio programme and what it meant to him personally.

I invited him to join me for coffee at Bluewaters café and, as they say, the rest is history.

We discovered that we had a mutual interest in road running – me having run my first official Knysna half-marathon with Lindsay Brown in 2000 and my last one in the year before I became ill. Loynes is still an active runner and the organiser of many races. In our discussion we decided that this July 2012 would see a number of us walking that half-marathon again!

The next thing I knew, Loynes called me again, and asked me for my permission to organise a race in Port Elizabeth to highlight my illness. I agreed to the ED Lunnon Run/Walk in the Parks on two conditions: one was that I would not be expected to help organise the programme and, secondly, that there would be some or other event that would be arranged for people with special needs.

So within the short period of just over one month, and that over the holiday period, the event was organised and put together by Loynes, Colleen Muller and his team of helpers.

There was to be an official 10km run/walk, a 5km fun run/walk and a 1km “walk” around the Grey Schools for people with special needs – people with wheelchairs, crutches, walking sticks, blind people, … you name it!

Permission was sought and granted by Grey Junior School to use their facilities in Mill Park as the starting and finishing point, with parking facilities at the High School. The races would take place in Mill Park and Newton Park – hence the name “Walk/Run in the Parks”.

Loynes is one of those people who does first and then asks – he does not see the wood for the trees – and just gets on with it. “It’s better to ask for forgiveness later than to ask for permission in the first place!” (my paraphrasing!)

Yvonne Anderson was brought on board to organise the handicapped race.

Within days, the framework and the sponsors were there, within weeks the print material and advertising and before the end of December, the first registrations were coming in!

Well-known sports personalities like Steven Hunt, Rory Duncan and Kevin Paul came onboard. People from all walks of life offered to help.

And so came 14 January 2012.

I was slightly nervous when I approached the schools. Firstly, I had volunteered to walk five kilometres and secondly, I was hoping that Loynes would not be disappointed when he saw a few hundred people arrive for the events.

But what I saw in front of me was a sea of humanity – some one thousand people, from as far afield as Union High School in Graaff-Reinet, were already lining up at the start in College Drive.

I became even more nervous. Was there the capacity to handle so many entrants?

“Oh thee of little faith!”

The weather was perfect. The excitement palpable. Late registrations and more late registrations. Last minute hiccoughs.

But, at 06h30, I pulled the trigger to start the 2012 ED Lunnon 10km Run in the Parks, then at 6h45 the same for the 5km run/walk (and then getting myself into the pack to participate, too) and getting back before 07h45 to start the special 1km race.

At 8h30 the prize-giving took place on Junior Grey’s Osborne Field and by 09h30 the clearing up process was in place. Putting away all the equipment for the 2013 races and what will hopefully be the beginning of many more.

Truly, a run in the park may just be a walk in the park for some, but at the end of it all, it takes small ideas from people like Loynes to start big things – in this case, a new movement to raise awareness of people with disabilities, whether they be neurological like CBD, or as a result of motor car accidents.

I hope to see you all in Knysna in July and in the Parks again in January of Twenty Thirteen!

(PS I will post results and pics as soon as I receive them.)








join us for a WALK / RUN IN THE PARKS: SAT 14 JAN 2012

10km ROAD RACE1 (Info)

10kmROADRACE2 (Prizes)




More info ….Click here

Route Maps …. Click here

There are opportunities to:

  • run/walk
  • (wo)man watering points
  • sponsor Ed’s 5km walk
  • Lucky draw prizes
  • anything else?

Thanks to the following who have already come on board:

  • PG Glass
  • Lemaitre Industrial Safety Footwear
  • Frontier Events
  • Grey Junior School
  • Grey High School