Reaping the multiple benefits of sport

* Trevor Busby is a pastor and sports development coach who launched his own athletics club.

A lifetime of sport has served as a blessing for Trevor Busby – and he has dedicated himself to sharing the benefits of this with others, especially children.

As a child, Mr Busby was diagnosed with arthritis from rheumatic fever.

His doctor prescribed sport. He joined a gym and cultivated a deep love and appreciation of all sport.

And right up until he got married, Mr Busby kept that arthritic creep at bay, and kept his heart healthy.

Some years after his wedding though, he began suffering symptoms again, and at 35, as a pastor with a paunch, he re-dedicated himself to sport.

He is now a celebrated marathon and trail marathon runner, and a regular face at the Zandvlei parkrun. What for many people is their Saturday keep-fit session is a good warm-up for Mr Busby.

Some years back Mr Busby discovered sports development training, and the bug bit. He has taken courses in rugby, netball, hockey, swimming, athletics training and more, and combined with his personal experience gleaned from 34 years of sport – he is applying this knowledge to a broad spectrum of children.

He teaches children from state schools in Lavender HIll and Sullivan Primary in Steenberg, alongside children from Athlone and Grassy Park – and children who attend private Waldorf schools.

That’s the thing about sport, he says. It is a leveller. Everyone benefits. Everyone learns a healthier lifestyle and what they are individually capable of, everyone has a chance to compete (either with their own best achievement or that of others) and, depending on the sport, to learn teamwork.

And now Mr Busby, an almost life-long Steenberg resident, has pushed just a little further. He has created his own sports club, called Capricorn Athletics Club, which is based at Zandvlei Yacht Club. The club is open to all, and will accommodate all ages.

Mr Busby has a particular love of cross country running, and it is this which – with the advent of parkruns and fun runs – broadened his vision.

He was 36 when he ran his first Peninsula Marathon, and his first Two Oceans Marathon. He now has permanent numbers in both, having completed 15 Peninsulas and 20 Two Ocean numbers.

Another favourite is the Riebeeck Mountain Marathon – 42 kilometres – and he earned himself four gold medals, two silver and two bronze in this race too – earning himself yet another permanent number in this event.

So his coaching is not just talk.

And this experience is already evident in the success of young runners at Capricorn Athletics Club like Simon Read, who aces the weekly Zandvlei parkrun whenever he is there.

This past Saturday, November 10, Simon, 18, came in first overall at the parkrun with a time of 21.29.

At this parkrun, Capricorn Athletics Club was also represented in the junior section by Jordan Johnson who took fourth place overall and first place for the club, and by Kyle Solomons who took 12th place overall and second place in the club and a promising new member Joshua Aghulas who finished even after a late start.

A growing number of Grade 7 pupils from Sullivan Primary have joined the club. Miklye Solomons of Sullivan Primary made it to Western Province, and Seth Trantral of Kirstenhof Primary is another WP club representative who belongs to the club.

Bernelle Verster of Lakeside is the event director of the Zandvlei parkrun and said it is considered a health initiative to give all people access to exercise in a safe, fun, sociable environment.

She says the other benefits of the parkrun is that it builds community, putting you side by side with other members of your community who share a common interest or health

Ms Verster said the Zandvlei parkrun’s fastest runners are members of Mr Busby’s club and that he often buses kids in to the event on his own account each week to grant them the experience of this.

Mr Busby says the parents are seeing their children benefit and are slowly signing up too, to create the balance that he wants. As a coach he can do well with the kids, but if there is parental buy-in, the combination will work wonders, he says.

He is firm believer in the multiple benefits of sport as a positive focus for children. He says the children today have many challenges, and sport is one place where they learn the value of work and incremental progress, and he says it boosts feel-good endorphins and self-esteem. Also, when they are healthier, they are better able to focus on other areas of their lives and schooling.

Last year, Mr Busby suffered an angina attack. “Because rheumatic fever can have a long-term effect on your heart, it hit me But only then. I believe I kept it at bay all these years by being healthy and active. Now I am back on my feet, back on track, back coaching. And excited about extending the reach of my club, to all, so that they can benefit the way I have,” he said.

Mr Busby can be contact-
ed on 078 271 5445 and on