TOP VETERAN SHERYL DE LANGE FATALLY HIT BY CAR WHILE TRAINING
By Riël Hauman
The Western Province athletics community was shocked today to hear of the death of well-known distance runner Sheryl de Lange, who was hit by a car while training in the early hours of the morning in Durbanville. De Lange was 47.
De Lange was a top performer in WP distance running for more than twenty years, making her mark on the road and in cross-country and winning a number of WP titles in these two disciplines. A little more than three weeks before her death she placed second in the 45-49 age category in the WP Cross-country Championships (also finishing ninth over 10 km in the open race).
Just this past weekend she was the overall winner in the Lentefees 10 km in Riebeek Kasteel, running 44:38. The previous weekend she finished third in her age category in the WP Half-marathon Championships in Atlantis, repeating her performance of 2014.
De Lange represented Western Province with distinction in national road running and cross-country championships on many occasions and was due to run in the South African Cross-country Championships in Middelburg this coming weekend.
Earlier this year De Lange finished second in her age category in the SA 10 km Championships after she had won the category last year.
Apart from the Lentefees race, she scored two age category victories on the road in 2015 – in the Lion of Africa 10 km and the 27 for Freedom 10 km. On the 2015 WP performance lists for veterans she was 10th in the 10 km (41:21), eighth in the 15 km (63:45) and ninth in the half marathon (1:32:30) at the time of her death.
De Lange's best year while she was still a senior was 1995, when she ran three personal bests in the space of four weeks: 36:46 (10 km), 55:42 (15 km) when finishing second in the WP Championships, and 1:19:37 (half marathon) when she was 11th in the SA Championships. The latter remained the best performance of her career in a national championship. These times placed her 24th, 11th and 15th respectively on the SA performance lists for the year.
As a veteran (40-49) she was third in the SA 10 km in 2012 after finishing fourth in 2010. In the SA Half Marathon she was sixth in both 2009 and 2010, and fifth in 2011. In last year's SA Half Marathon she placed fourth in the 45-49 category.
Even while racing against athletes up to six years younger, the very competitive De Lange was able in 2014 to place eighth and tenth on the SA veterans performance lists for the 15 km and half marathon respectively.
De Lange, who joined the newly formed FNB Multisport Club recently, was born on 4 June 1968 and leaves her husband Phillip and two children.
On behalf of the whole athletics fraternity in the province, Western Province Athletics and its President, Jakes Jacobs, would like to extend their heartfelt condolences to the De Lange family.