MY COMRADES STORY BY ECKART SCHUMANN

“I grew up in Pietermaritzburg, and every year there were these crazies who ran down to Durban, and the next year back up again. After finishing university I started working in Pretoria, and then with a friend decided we had to find out the attraction of THE RUN. That was in 1968, and we entered the Comrades, and with a bit of training managed to finish in under 11 hours.

Well, after that effort I didn’t run Comrades again, but somehow the message did get through to my son Lyal and daughter Beth: on the 31st of May we were always up early to watch the start on TV and through to the finish. Lyal ran his first Comrades in 1998, and when Beth followed in 2000 my wife Strelza and I were there to meet them both when they finished in Pietermaritzburg.

How could I not be enticed back into running? So in 2004 I was back, and managed to complete my next Comrades in under 11 hours. Then in 2010 Lyal, Beth and I ran the whole way from Pietermaritzburg to Durban together – they were good enough to slow down to allow me to keep up – an amazing experience! Beth finished her 10th Comrades in 2017 while Lyal, living in England, still has 2 to go.

After completing another Comrades, I set my sights on 2018, 50 years after my first Comrades. Running had become part of my life, and of course runners offer an amazing support system; I was also very lucky for the support from Strelza. Anyway, fortunately I had no problems, and managed the 90km with 8 minutes to spare – thank goodness they added in the extra hour in 2003!”

The winner of this month’s Mr Price Sport voucher is Dr Eckart Schumann.