Gert Scholtz in beBee in English BeBee Brand Ambassador • beBee Oct 9, 2016 · 2 min read · 3.6K

A Long Jump in Time

A Long Jump in Time

Two years ago I was a couch potato. I had always kept reasonably fit but I had fallen into a lull with little motivation for exercise. Passing by a running track one day, I thought, why not go back to what I was once good at - athletics?

I began running and sprinting as I had done for many hours at school and university. The going was haphazard as you can expect when combining the muscle memory of a twenty year old and the physique of a fifty year old. Soon the call of the athletics track and my old specialty, the long jump, became stronger. I entered the arena of Masters Athletics.

The first burst of newfound enthusiasm totally overtook my actual fitness level. Sprains and pulled muscles had me out of action at times. In time I learned to go easy and work it up gradually. Warming up longer and taking time to go through the paces. Now I practice every second day, not six days a week as once long ago was the routine.

By the time the summer season started I was in reasonable shape again. I had lost weight, gained strength and could keep going at peak for two hours – the duration of the typical long jump event from warm-up to finishing six leaps. I won two provincial championships and took second place at the SA Masters Championships. By then the bug had really bitten so I kept training in the off season.

Not always easy. Practicing in the evening after work, temperatures in winter are close to freezing point outside. Then, the track is empty. Just me crazy enough train at that time of day. I knew though that you have to keep at it as improvement is slow and incremental.

Some days after work, I really do not feel up to an hour and more of intense training. I trick myself – sort of. I undertake to exercise for only fifteen minutes. If by then I really don’t feel like it anymore, I can pack up and go home. It works every time. Once outdoors and the energizing effects of exercise kick in, it feels too good to stop.

You have to laugh at yourself. Many times. Miss-timing a leap in an open competition, I somersaulted headlong into the sand in front of a full pavilion. Nothing injured but a badly bruised ego. Competing among a group of junior athletes, a young spectator derisively exclaimed: “Hey, this old fart must be at least forty!” I turned to him and replied: “Actually, this old fart is fifty”. He laughed and for the rest of the competition was my most ardent supporter.

I experienced anew how invigorating it is to go outdoors for exercise. My typical work day is filled with numbers and abstractions. One needs to get back to basic elements and awareness of open space, the smell of grass and a setting sun to get outside your mind and restore inner equilibrium. Running hard and leaping in the air is a pure existential pleasure. Yes, I still have enormous fun playing in a sandpit!

Again I discovered the thrill and challenge of competition. Focusing intensely on the five seconds it takes to run and leap. Putting all effort into the split second take-off. Driving to outdo yourself. The chase of a prize in friendly camaraderie, the way it should be.

Soon I will be on my way to take part in the World Masters Athletics Championships representing South Africa. The Olympics for the “oldies” as my children say.

How I look forward to taking part in the competition. I am grateful. It is deeply satisfying to return to an old talent, rediscovering it, and shaping it as good as one can.

To you if you have read this far: are there any forgotten passions or talents within you? Any rusty longings and joys long forgotten that can be re-awakened? Before you hide it carefully in your good memory trove, think carefully. 

It’s never too late. Take a long jump in time.


Lisa Gallagher 6 d ago · #59

#58 Good idea Pam!

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Pamela L. Williams 6 d ago · #58

#57 Go on ebay! That's how I got mine and was way way less expensive!

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Lisa Gallagher 7 d ago · #57

#55 My son has a contraption to do that with his bike too @Pamela L. Williams. I would love to have a good bike and one of those 'contraptions' to use during the snowy months when you can't go out and ride a bike around here. I'm wimpier now, even if it's too cold, forget it. Oh to be young again!!

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Pamela L. Williams 7 d ago · #56

#52 whoo hoo! I can't wait for the Buzz! you better tag me so I don't miss it. This is exciting Gert! We're all so proud of our South African Bee!!

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Pamela L. Williams 7 d ago · #55

#53 My bike riding is now wimpy but I have a very nice bike in the shed that needs a better seat as well! Since writing the comment I've been considering taking it in for a tune up. I have a contraption that turns my bike into a stationary bike and that allows me to build by bike legs on my actual bike.

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Fatima Williams Oct 18, 2016 · #54

It will be awesome to watch a live buzz @Gert Scholtz
It's lovely to rekindle an old passion and revive ourselves with it.
As short as I am I used to jump at school ( giggles) and I was a sprinter too. I also used to be good at volley ball.

This is a great motivating buzz loved reading it. This is so true " One needs to get back to basic elements and the awareness of open space "

All the best again its beBee cheering for you 🤗🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🤗

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Lisa Gallagher Oct 18, 2016 · #53

#52 I know live buzz works for @Lance Scoular but not sure what part of Austrailia he's in. Look forward to seeing one too @Gert Scholtz. @Pamela L. Williams, I will look for a bike that my bottom end feels comfortable on and start riding if you do too! I used to ride a lot and after breaking my tailbone for the 3rd time, I wasn't able to sit on my bike seat long at all.

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Gert Scholtz Oct 18, 2016 · #52

@Sara Jacobovici @Pamela L. Williams I am sure the live buzz feature works in "them here" southern countries SA and Australia. So a live Buzz it will Bee! Sara - glad you stayed on till the ending - that was the intent. Pam - get back on your bike and ride! Thank you!

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