HAMNET Report 1 April 2018

The indefatigable Dave Higgs ZS2DH of HAMNET Eastern Cape has spearheaded a HAMNET exercise in South Africa, to be called the “HAMNET Blackout Exercise 2018”. He writes:

“Hamnet are pleased to announce the 2018 exercise – a 24 hour blackout – off grid, on radio!

“The event will take place on the weekend of Saturday 5 to Sunday 6 May 2018.  Teams should be between 4 and 8 members in size, may include non Hamnet members, but must be led by a Hamnet member.  Teams comprise a VHF/UHF unit and an HF unit.  Teams will be tasked with relaying messages and completing simple tasks – such as working with GPS coordinates.

“To find out more, download the team booklet from https://www.eyedeal.co.za/blackout/  Register and join the fun!”

Thank you for the effort, Dave – hopefully all divisions in HAMNET will field some teams.

Now a good news story from the TWO OCEANS run yesterday. A 32-year old man from Rustenburg, Ipeleng Khunou, is 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 in 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 had lost 30 kilograms, and went on to complete the Om Die Dam, Wally Hayward and Soweto half-marathons. He ran the Two Oceans, which took place on 31 March in Cape Town, to raise disability awareness and raise funds for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.

Khunou aimed to finish the half-marathon under the cut-off time of three hours. His strategy is usually to run by himself and keep away from other runners. This is because he fears that his four-legged gait will 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.

Well done, Ipeleng, you are a shining example to all!

For the rest, I can report that the Two Oceans Marathon went off well, with all organisation and service functions running smoothly. The weather was just right, with not too much heat or too much wind. Maximum temperature measured was about 24 degrees, and humidity not more than about 70%.

Unfortunately, there were a few nasty casualties, and I have to report a death on the field of a runner on the short race just short of Rhodes Drive.

The deceased was a 43-year-old half-marathon runner.

According to race organisers, the runner experienced difficulties on Southern Cross Drive and collapsed.

“Despite prompt and prolonged medical attention, the runner could not be resuscitated,” read a Two Oceans statement.

Carol Vosloo, general manager of the Two Oceans Marathon, also commented: “We would like to extend our sincerest condolences to her loved ones, and also thank her fellow club members who gave up their own finish time to remain with, and assist her.”

Another resuscitation in the same area was successful, and some nasty falls and a runner suffering an epileptic fit added to the drama. It was also noted that there was an inordinately large number of runners dropping out, though a reason for this was not immediately obvious.

About 40 runners didn’t make the cut for the 21km race, and about 100 the long race, so there was a fair amount of fetching and carting for the sweep vehicles and bailer buses to do, over and above those who withdrew of their own accord, and needed retrieving.

HAMNET Western Cape salutes the operators who volunteered their time and capabilities to make the race safer for the nearly 28000 runners. We’ll be doing it again next year – our twentieth consecutive race!

Poor old Papua New Guinea has been struck again by a major earthquake, this one a magnitude 6.9 shock on Thursday at 21h25 UTC.

The strong earthquake shook Papua New Guinea on Friday their time, a month after a more powerful quake killed at least 125 people in the Pacific island nation. Damage and casualties were not immediately reported.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii said the quake may have caused small changes in the sea locally but the danger had passed within about an hour or so. There was no tsunami risk to Australia or the wider Pacific, according to the PTWC and Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology.

The U.S. Geological Survey measured the quake at magnitude 6.9 with a depth of 35 kilometres about 162 kilometres southwest of Rabaul in a remote area of East New Britain province. Fortunately its epicentre was sparsely populated, but 8700 people were exposed to risk to their lives.

And so has Tajikistan, an hour later at 22h54 UTC on Thursday evening, by a magnitude 5.6 quake, exposing a population of 1.64 million people within 100km of its epicentre to risk. Again, fortunately, we haven’t received any reports of major loss of life. Let’s hope the news hasn’t just been hidden.

Clearly, the earth’s mantle is a very unstable thing, and we in South Africa are lucky not to be on any of its major faults.

This is Dave Reece ZS1DFR reporting for HAMNET in South Africa.