Sick runner gets medal

A runner in the 42,4 km Mandela Day Marathon who collapsed from dehydration near the finish on Sunday was honoured with a medal before being discharged from Midlands Hospital in the city on Tuesday.

The medal was handed over to Paul Jacobs (43) in hospital by uMgungundlovu­ District Municipality mayor, Thobekile Maphumulo.

Jacobs, who is from Durban, was hospitalised on Sunday after collapsing six kilometres from the finish line.

His wife, Karen Jacobs, told The Witness that she got a phone call from paramedics asking her to confirm if she knew a “guy lying on the side of the road”.

“They gave me the race number and I confirmed it was my husband. They told me they were sending him to Hilton Life Hospital because he had collapsed and was not responding. Some time later, I received a phone call from the doctor who said that they were transferring him to the Intensive Care Unit at Midlands Hospital as he was having seizures, and that I would find him there.

“When I arrived at the hospital, I was told Paul was suffering from severe dehydration. He was completely out of it, I was very worried. He only came around at 5 pm on Sunday, but was hallucinating thinking he was still in the race,” she said.

Speaking to The Witness on Tuesday, uMgungundlovu District Municipality’s communications manager Brian Zuma said it was clear from the conversation they had with Jacobs at the hospital on Tuesday morning, that he was fairly new to the sport.

Jacobs admitted having run two 21 km races and a 10 km marathon in the run up to the Mandela Marathon at the weekend.

“He ran the 10 km at the end of June. The first 21 km [race] was the Saturday before the Comrades Marathon and the second 21 km was the Saturday before the Mandela run,” Karen confirmed.

Zuma said Jacobs was the only casualty in the event.

“We are happy and grateful that he has recovered,” he said.

Maphumulo on Tuesday visited Jacobs before he was discharged and handed over a Mandela Day Marathon medal and a track suit to him saying: “We know that you were running this race for Madiba, so I give you this medal as a gesture of appreciation even though you did not finish the race.”

The 2018 edition of the Mandela Day Marathon took place on August 26. It was a special edition in that this year is the centenary year of Nelson Mandela.