Dr.Botha's Extreme Cycling Challenge II
About Dr. Andries Botha
by Sharon Reichert
Mile Zero News Reporter
Dr. Andries Botha is one of
Grimshaw, Alberta's three doctors.
Botha was born and raised in South Africa and first came to
Canada when he was invited by a friend to practice Sport's
Medicine in Inuvik, North West Territories. Botha had never heard
of Inuvik but he agreed to go there for a short time. He stayed
there three years and has been in Canada ever since. He said that
the summers, with their constant sunlight, were more difficult
than you might think. People would come to him for treatment at
all hours of the night and no one ever wanted to sleep. In the
winter it is just the opposite, people forget to get up.
The winters don't get too much colder than here but the cold
spells last longer, according to Botha.
After his time up north, Botha lived in Edson for two years.
Botha found Grimshaw very welcoming when he moved here, even
though the only person he knew was Dr. Wouter Dehaeck, another of
Grimshaw's doctors. Dehaeck and Dr. Francois Klassen, Grimshaw's
third doctor, are also from South Africa. Keeping doctors in
rural, northern communities has proved to be difficult but
Grimshaw is fortunate to have three doctors who have been settled
here for awhile now.
Botha noted the differences in climate among the places he's
lived and said that a person can adapt to anything, it's a matter
of attitude. Having been in Canada for several years now, he
isn't sure he could ever live in South Africa again.
"You can't belong to two places," he said, adding that when you
leave a place everything changes, including you.
Over the years, Botha has run more than 40 marathons, including
nine 90 km races, he has cycled across South Africa, across the
USA in 34 days without assistance, from Seattle to Los Angeles
and the 500 km from Grimshaw to Edmonton in 1996 as a
fund raiser for fitness equipment for the hospital. Once he also
cycled 180 km from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk on an ice road in -25
degrees Celsius temperatures in a single day.
This year he was
the Grimshaw Huskies Hockey Club team doctor. He was also the
team doctor for the South African team at the 100 km World
Championship road run in Japan in 1994 and Holland in 1996/97.