MY 1ST COMRADES MEDAL
“My running career started in 1973, the year in which I ran my first Comrades Marathon which also happened to be the first race I had ever participated in.
It all started with me attending a church service at the Anglican Church in my hometown, Odendaalsrus. The Bishop of Bloemfontein had used a bible text in his sermon which he compared directly to the Comrades Marathon.
I sat in the congregation and decided for myself that I would be running the next Comrades Marathon. My mom offered to buy me a pair of running shoes for my first Comrades at a sports shop in Welkom. They cost R23.00 at the time and turned out to be the most expensive running shoes in that store.
The salesperson who sold those shoes to me asked me what I was going to do with those expensive shoes. I responded that I was planning to run the Comrades Marathon to which he replied, “Listen, you need 2 pairs to run that far!” I said, “Sorry, my mother is only buying me 1 pair.”
Two weeks before Comrades 1973, my mom and I travelled by train to Pietermaritzburg. I had been training along the Comrades route four days before race day.
I then decided to go into downtown to look for a sports shop so that I could find a second pair of running shoes. I bought myself a pair for R4.99
The evening before race day, I decided that I will start the race with the cheap shoes and save my expensive shoes for the latter part of the race. Instead, I ran the full distance with the R4.99 shoes and ended up only using the R23.00 shoes in 1974.
The 1973 Comrades Marathon was my first ever race with #Comrades1974 being the second in my life.
Today I am joint holder of the most Comrades Marathons ever completed by any athlete, together with Barry Holland, with 47 consecutive Comrades.
I am certainly looking forward to being on the start line in 2021, celebrating the centenary edition of this amazing race.”
The winner of this month’s Arnica Ice hamper is Louis Massyn.