Runner's World SA
THE EVERGREEN Image Credit: Runner's World SA
THE EVERGREEN Image Credit: Runner's World SA

The Evergreen



Johnny Persents is a late bloomer: inspired by his sons, Devon, Hilton and Heinrich, who are all promising athletes, he participated in the Western Province Schools and Western Province Athletic Clubs Cross-Country Championship, held at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). That day he became the second-fastest male, racing against a massive field of sub-vets – and he realised he was a natural.

Persents’ sons are also the reason he continues to run.

“Sometimes I want to quit, but I have to fight because I’m a role model to my kids,” Persents says. “We live in crime-ridden Belhar now, close to Cape Town Airport; which is a far cry from the peaceful farming community I grew up in outside the small town of Klawer.

“There are gangs in Belhar: the Terribles and the Sexy Boys. But I run there every day, even though it’s dangerous. And you know what? Gang members applaud me when they see me out running.

“I coach youngsters at a Symphony Primary School. Without my continuous support, they might otherwise fall prey to gangsterism. It’s a shame when innocent children choose the wrong path.”

Another motivating factor for Persents is the fact that he simply enjoys running. For him, it’s a stress reliever and a form of relaxation. The beauty of his approach is that he runs within himself; which means he runs at his own pace, rather than at someone else’s.


Continue Reading with Magzter GOLD Subscription

Log in if you're already a subscriber

Continue Reading This Article For FREE By Downloading The Magzter App

Magzter for iOS Magzter for Android

To continue reading on the website, Click here

Get unlimited access to thousands of curated premium story and 5,000+ magazines

Try FREE for 7 days or

Download the Magzter App and
Try FREE for 30 days

More from Runner's World SA