Robert de Castella (Deeks) as one of the leading marathon runners in the 1980s. The colourful Australian, off Swiss-Italian descent, was the World Champion in 1983 and won back-to-back golds at the 1982 (Brisbane) and 1986 (Edinburgh) Commonwealth Games. He also took the Boston title in 1986.
“If you feel bad at 10 miles, you’re in trouble. If you feel bad at 20 miles, you’re normal. If you don’t feel bad at 26 miles, you’re abnormal,” was one of his famous quotes.
In 2013 he launched ‘Deeks’ – a chain of grain and gluten free bakeries and cafés and for good measure earned a black belt in the traditional Okinawan style of karate, Goju Ryu.
His distinctive moustache made him an ideal caricature target, which I drew and got it signed when he visited my home town in Invercargill, New Zealand, as the director of the Australian Institute of Sport.
Sir Murray Halberg is one of New Zealand’s greatest athletes. After a rugby injury left his arm severely withered, he took up running, motivated by his disability. In the 1950s he teamed up with the legendary Arthur Lydiad who had new ideas about athletics training. Sir Murray went on to win the 3 miles gold medal at the 1958 Cardiff Empire and Commonwealth Games, and became New Zealand’s first sub-four minute miler.
Two years later in Rome he won Olympic gold in the 5000 metres on the same day fellow Kiwi, Peter Snell, claimed the 800m title. He successfully defended his 3 mile title at the 1962 Commonwealth Games in Perth.
After retiring from athletics, Sir Murray founded the Halberg Trust to support children with disabilities to be active in sport, creation and leisure. It was rebranded in 2012 and is now known as the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation.
Sir Murray signed my sketch at the Halberg Trust Celebrity Sporting Luncheon at Ascot Park Hotel in Invercargill, New Zealand in October 2002.