• Ipeleng Khunou intends to be the first runner to complete the Two Oceans half-marathon on crutches.
  • He suffers from a rare brain disease that affects his balance and eyesight. 
  • The 32-year-old took up jogging a year ago to lose weight. 

A 32-year old man from Rustenburg, Ipeleng Khunou, intends to be the first ever runner to finish the Two Oceans half-marathon on crutches. 

Born with a rare brain deformity called septo-optic dysplasia, which affects balance and his eyesight, Khunou cannot walk without crutches.

Known to his friends as 'Crazy Legs', Khunou never let that hold him back, however. He told Business Insider SA that his crutches are as much part of him as the rest of his body.

He grew up playing soccer at school and took part in school athletics. He can still run the 100 meters at under 16 seconds. 

He took up jogging a year ago when his weight hit 120 kilograms. Khunou says that he was initially embarrassed, and would leave his home at 4am to avoid being seen by people on the road.

Within three months, he lost 30 kilograms, and went on to complete the Om Die Dam, Wally Hayward and Soweto half-marathons. 

Photo: Supplied
  

He will be running the Two Oceans, which will take place on Saturday in Cape Town, to raise disability awareness and raise funds for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.

Khunou's aim is to finish the half-marathon under the cut-off time of three hours. His strategy is to run by himself and keep away from other runners. This is because he fears that his four-legged gait can trip up other participants. He also must watch out for patches where the road is wet, like water stops, as his crutches tend to slip.  


Ipeleng Khunou. (Photo: Supplied)


“Personally, for me, there is no bigger motivation in life than getting up and running, because it’s not meant to be possible for me to wake up and walk to the bathroom,” said Khunou.

His dream is to compete in the Paralympics, but at the moment - because his disease is so rare - there is not a category that allows him to compete. 

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