Stella’s Henk Vos was the very first Comrades 2011 entrant when he lined up at Comrades House yesterday morning at 09:00. (2 September 2010)
For Vos it was much more than registering to be on the line in the 86th Comrades marathon from Durban to Pietermaritzburg – It was the first step on his personal Magical Mystery Tour linking a passion for running and ultra-running with his favourite musicians the Beatles.
Vos is the artist who won this year’s inaugural Comrades Marathon and KZN Department of Arts and Culture art competition with a painting depicting the history of the Comrades.
For the past ten years he has been evolving his ‘Circle of life” painting which will accompany him on his Magical Tour to UK, Europe and potentially America.
After leaving Comrades house on Wednesday ‘Sgt Pepper’ Vos drove his trusty vintage Beetle Volkswagen car down to the Westville Pavilion Mall where to paint the word Imagine in the Centre Court feature. Much of the funding for his project has come from exhibiting and selling his art in this popular mall area.
On Saturday he jets out to Britain where he commences his pilgrimage to follow the history of The Beatles founder John Lennon who was born in Liverpool 70 years ago. His “circles of life” artwork will accompany him to Woolton Church, where Lennon first met Paul McCartney, the Cavern Club which was one of the Fab Four’s first gig venues and he will walk across the iconic Abbey Road zebra crossing as the group did 40 years ago for the cover of their final album before breaking up.
“I often ‘Imagine’ walking over this crossing. It will be a very special day,” said Vos who has this planned for his birthday on 25 September – “when I’m sixty four”
This all happens 50 years after the group’s first stage appearance and will be followed by a trip to his birth city of Amsterdam for the annual marathon and onto Hamburg which is not only the place where the ‘Silver Beatles’, which was the original name for the group, perfected their act, but also where the Volkswagen Beetle was first produced.
The final leg of the European tour is to Athens for the 2500th anniversary of the original marathon that saw the legendary messenger Pheidippides run from the battlefield planes of marathon to Athens to announce the army’s victory over the Persians in 490 BC.
Not only will Vos run the marathon, but the Comrades Marathon representatives will hand over one of his painting’s at the Congress of the Association of International Marathons and Distance races, (AIMS) which is being held over the same weekend.
Providing funds are generate from work on his tour Vos will travel to New York for the marathon on 7 November, and remain there to complete the circle of Lennon’s life on 10 December by displaying the artwork in the famous Strawberry Fields of Central Park, exactly 30 years since his assassination.
“For years I have been inspired by Lennon’s ability to Imagine a life of Love and Peace. The way life’s happenings have construed to afford me the opportunity to take this journey has convinced me it was meant to be,” said Vos “I’m sure things will fall into place to let me complete the final (New York) leg.” The dedicated runner, artist and Beatles fan will be recording the whole Magical Tour on camcorder and a Garmin watch which he intends auctioning on his return to South Africa. It’s an adventure that’s going to be hard for most to match when they’re 64!