When he joined the Lion of Africa Itheko Sports Club 10 years ago, Nezaam Isaacs, weighing in at 138kg, wanted to make a lifestyle change and join the running fraternity.
He went on to become an ultra runner, losing almost 70kg in the process and competing in many events, including the Comrades. But the road came to an end for the Lansdowne accountant in Claremont early on Tuesday June 6 when he was killed in a hit-and-run while out jogging.
Lieutenant Colonel Andre Traut said police were investigating a culpable homicide and were looking for the driver who had fled the scene.
News of the runner’s death spread quickly. Farouk Meyer from Itheko said Mr Isaacs had been a founding member of the club and influential in many other runners’ lives. “Nezaam wrote his own story of determination, setting goals and reaching it, one step at a time. He was always willing to assist and share his running experiences with everyone. His pleasant demeanour and candour will be sorely missed,” Mr Meyer said. “Nezaam will always remain one of the greatest motivators in our running community.”
Tributes poured in from the running community on Facebook.
Zainub Davids said there had been a “sad but beautiful aura” at Mr Isaacs’s funeral. “Although it was icy cold standing outside, there was so much love and warmth among the incredible crowd of people, family, friends and most of all, a variety of runners from all over, club runners and non club runners.”
Jerome Mias posted: “I didn’t know you personally, just by seeing you at races, you invited me on Facebook and I accepted your friend request. Rest in peace, running buddy. Nezaam Isaacs, I pray they find the person that took your life!”
Hundreds flocked to Ottery on Tuesday evening to pay their last respects to Mr Isaacs, before he was taken to Masjid Israaq in Grassy park and finally laid to rest at the cemetery in Mowbray.
Mr Meyer added: “Nezaam is an icon and can rest assured and be proud knowing that he has made a positive contribution in changing the lives of so many runners in the Western Cape. Our hearts and prayers go out to the Isaacs family. May Nezaam be granted a high place in Jannah.”
Anybody with information about the incident is asked to call Lieutenant Colonel Michael Benn on 082 469 2525.