1970 - 1975

2nd screen

1970 Up (45th Race)
Date Saturday, 30 May
Weather Overcast at start. Cool to mild all day.

Temperature – Min/ Max:

PMB 5/19
DBN 16/20
Start Venue/Time Durban City Hall / 6:00
Finish Venue Collegians’ Club Oval
Time Limit 11 Hours
Official Distance 87.548 kms

Winner’s Average Speed:

 4.940 km/hr (4m 1s /km)

Entries 865
Starters 759
Finishers – Total 640
Men 640
Medals – Gold 6
Silver 634
% Finishers / Starters 84.3

THE MENS RACE

The 3 Bs were back… and that promised an exciting race.

Bagshaw, Box and Baker.

Add to that, former winners, George Claassen (1961) and Manie Kuhn (1967), as well as the ever consistent Eric Rencken. Others to take note of were Bill Brown and Dave Levick. The clever money, though, was on Bagshaw.

Gordon Baker and Dave Bagshaw set off along West Street at a blistering pace. Their intentions were clear; the Up Record. At 45th Cutting, Bagshaw and Baker had pulled well away from the rest, and by Westville they held a 29-second lead over Rencken, Dave Box and Brown.

Bagshaw was dictating the race with a suicidal pace. Baker stuck with him valiantly. They reached the checkpoint at the top of Field’s Hill in 1h 33m, with Rencken next in 1h 36m. At Botha’s Hill, the two flying leaders clocked 2h 57m. Rencken was still in 3rd place but he had fallen 7 minutes behind.

The pair were hardly past Drummond when Bagshaw surged again and went ahead as Baker failed to respond. Rencken also weakened, and Box went past him, on the tortuous pull up Inchanga. Over the undulating stretch to Camperdown, Bagshaw took total command, reaching the checkpoint in 4h 7m. Baker held on to 2nd place but had lost 5 minutes to Bagshaw since Drummond. Box was moving strongly over this section and passed Baker just beyond Camperdown. Bagshaw went through a bad patch after Umlaas Road, but by the time he crossed the Mpusheni Bridge he had run through it and, realising he had a chance of breaking the record, sailed up Polly Shortt’s.

On the tough pull up Polly’s, Rencken recovered and went past Baker. Bagshaw, however, was away and with fatigue, from the grueling pace he had set himself, mirrored on his face, he entered the Collegians’ Club Oval, crossing the finish line with a new Best Time of 5h 51m 27s.

In an amazing two years, after only two Comrades Marathons, Bagshaw was the possessor of the Best Time for both the Up and the Down Run.

RESULT

1st Dave Bagshaw South Africa

5h 51m 27s

New Best Time Up

2nd Dave Box South Africa 5h 58m 07s
3rd Eric Rencken South Africa 6h 10m 11s
4th Gordon Baker South Africa 6h 12m 01s
5th Tim Blankley South Africa 6h 15m 30s
6th Roland Davey South Africa 6h 21m 44s
7th Rob Gardner South Africa 6h 27m 29s
8th Dave Levick South Africa 6h 34m 12s
9th Piet van der Leeuw South Africa 6h 34m 59s
10th Dewald Steyn South Africa 6h 37m 07s

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

1st Charlie Chase (42) South Africa 6h 38m 31s
2nd Tony Tingle (41) South Africa 6h 46m 22s
3rd Dennis Gent (40) South Africa 7h 14m 08s

MASTERS (AGE 50 - 59)

1st Arnold Harborth (50) South Africa

6h 55m 08s

New Best Time Up

2nd Eddie Pritchard (51) South Africa 7h 23m 58s
3rd Eddie Gore (50) South Africa 7h 26m 54s
1971 Down (46th Race)
Date Monday, 31 May
Weather Mild and overcast at start. Light drizzle at Umlaas Road. Cold wind with rain and mist from Harrison Flats to Kloof. Patches of sunshine thereafter with no further rain.

Temperature – Min/ Max:

PMB 5/13
DBN 14/19
Start Venue/Time Pietermaritzburg City Hall / 6:00
Finish Venue Royal Durban Light Infantry Drill Hall, Greyville Racecourse
Time Limit 11 Hours
Official Distance 92.000 kms

Winner’s Average Speed:

 15.905 km/hr (3m 46s /km)

Entries 1239
Starters 1061
Finishers – Total 931
Men 931
Medals – Gold 6
Silver 925
% Finishers / Starters 87.7

THE MENS RACE

Not since the days of Arthur Newton and Wally Hayward at their peak, was the outcome of the race as certain as it was. Dave Bagshaw, established new Up and Down Best Times, in the past 2 years. The only uncertainty was ‘who will come second?’

A substantial detour, due to roadworks, in the Umlaas Road, Camperdown and Cato Ridge areas, resulted in the overall distance of the race being extended to around 92 kilometres.

Bagshaw, Gordon Baker, Ron Kotze, Robin Stamper and Eric Rencken were bunched together, in a big group, as the field surged across the outskirts of the city.  At the first official checkpoint, at Campedown, reached in 1h 41m, the order was Bagshaw, Rencken, Kotze, Stamper and Tommy Malone. Roland Davey was next in 1h 42m, followed in 1h 44m by another large group in which Dave Levick and Fred Morrison were prominent.

Stamper, Baker and Bagshaw led through Cato Ridge, but Malone was dropping back. Levick, meanwhile, was moving up, and by Harrison Flats had picked up 30 seconds on the two leaders.   

The lead remained unchanged through Drummond, with Stamper (2h 49m) 5 yards ahead of Baker and Bagshaw. Levick was closing in with a powerful drive. The climb out of the Drummond valley put paid to Stamper’s chances. Bagshaw went ahead of Baker and opened up a lead of 2 minutes by Hillcrest. Passing through Kloof, Levick moved into 2nd position as he passed Baker. Bagshaw went through the Pinetown checkpoint in 4h 20m and appeared to have the race safely in his grasp… then he hit a bad patch. Levick was though in 4h 24m with Baker another minute back in 4h 25s.

At Westville, Levick was still in with a chance. Bagshaw, however, hung on tenaciously but, closing in on the finish, he was a tired man as he ran down Berea Road. Levick finished 1m 47s behind him while Baker closed out the top three places.

It was an amazing performance by Bagshaw. His time of 5h 47m 6s was a mere 1m 31s outside his 1969 Best Time of 5h 45m 35s. Considering the additional 4 kilometres, through the detours at Camperdown and Cato Ridge, it would have been a stunning time by a substantial margin.

The additional distance certainly robbed him of the opportunity of emulating Arthur Newton’s 1922, 23 and 24 feat of three new Best Times in successive years and, in all probability, the first three men home might have beaten the previous time.

RESULT

1st Dave Bagshaw South Africa

5h 47m 06s

2nd Dave Levick South Africa 5h 48m 53s
3rd Gordon Baker South Africa 5h 57m 26s
4th Barry Gerber South Africa 5h 59m 10s
5th Bill Brown South Africa 6h 02m 12s
6th Trevor Parry South Africa 6h 03m 03s
7th Rob Gardner South Africa 6h 08m 47s
8th Robin Stamper South Africa 6h 09m 28s
9th Bill de Swardt South Africa 6h 10m 15s
10th Clive Crawley South Africa 6h 11m 19s

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

1st Clive Crawley (41) South Africa 6h 11m 19s
2nd Doug Hamilton (40)* South Africa 6h 14m 39s
2nd Tony Tingle (42)* South Africa 6h 14m 39s

* Finished Together

MASTERS (AGE 50 - 59)

1st Arnold Harborth (51) South Africa

6h 54m 32s

2nd Eddie Gore (51) South Africa 7h 05m 34s
3rd Peter Dickson (51) South Africa 7h 34m 24s
1972 Up (47th Race)
Date Saturday, 3 June
Weather Mild with clear sky at start. Mist in Drummond valley clearing later. Bright sunshine the rest of the day.

Temperature – Min/ Max:

PMB 8/21
DBN 14/22
Start Venue/Time Durban City Hall, (changed to Smith Street) / 6:02
Finish Venue Collegians’ Club Oval
Time Limit 11 Hours
Official Distance 90.400 km

Winner’s Average Speed:

15.552 km/hr (3m 51s /km)

Entries 1448
Starters 1180
Finishers – Total 976
Men 976
Medals – Gold 10
Silver 85
Bronze 881
% Finishers / Starters 82.7

THE MENS RACE

A team of 8 members of Tipton Harriers from Staffordshire in England were among the starters at the Durban City Hall. Their star performers, John Malpass and Ron Bentley were expected to push the overwhelming favourite, Dave Bagshaw, to the limit.

A clear sky and mild winter weather accompanied the field as it set off up Smith Street. Bagshaw and Baker went straight to the front with Derek van Eeden on their heels. Out of Durban, through Westville and on to Cowie’s Hill, Bagshaw led the field, reaching the foot of the first major climb where he held an 8-second advantage over Baker, with van Eeden another 35 seconds back. Dave Box was next with the Tipton Harriers challenge be led by Tony Burkitt.

Bagshaw continued setting the pace through Pinetown and up Field’s Hill to the checkpoint at the top, where he went by in 1h 35m. Baker and Mick Orton, now the leading Tipton runner, followed in 1h 36m, with van Eeden only metres back.

Orton moved into 2nd position when he overhauled Baker in the vicinity of Gillitts and then, inexorably, whittled away at the distance between himself and the flying leader, drawing level with him on the descent into thick mist at Drummond, in the Valley of a Thousand Hills.

Orton and Bagshaw sped through the halfway mark in an incredible 2h 50m. Baker was next in 2h 54m. Bagshaw struggled up Inchanga and lost sight of Orton who disappeared into the mist ahead. Out of the mist and into the sunshine over the top of Inchanga, Orton was flowing with supreme ease. As the miles were left behind, he showed no sign of cracking from the punishing pace.

Through Cato Ridge and on to the checkpoint at Camperdown, Orton never wavered and reached there in 3h 59m, becoming the first man to do so in under 4 hours. Bagshaw, still running uncomfortably, went by 4h 2m, with Baker following in 4h 7m. Dave Box, meanwhile, was making good progress, going through in 4h 11m. At the highest point on the route, the water tower at Umlaas Road, Orton led Bagshaw by 2m 42s, but there were still many who did not believe Orton could win, because it was felt that the long, raking Ashburton and Polly Shortt’s Hills, would find him wanting.

To everyone’s surprise, Orton cruised up and over both, reaching the crest of Polly Shortt’s in 5h 18m. The pale, drawn figure of Bagshaw appeared next in 5h 22m 30s. Third over Polly’s was Box, who had passed Baker on the big hill.

With the long downhill, into the Capital city, his only remaining hurdle, Orton was greeted by an astonished crowd at the Collegians’ Club. Not only did he amaze everyone in maintaining his blistering pace, he crossed the line in a new Best Time of 5h 48m 57s.

RESULT

1st Mick Orton England

5h 48m 57s

New Best Time Up

2nd Dave Bagshaw South Africa 5h 53m 54s
3rd Dave Box South Africa 5h 59m 59s
4th Derek van Eeden South Africa 6h 02m 42s
5th Gordon Baker South Africa 6h 03m 06s
6th John Malpass England 6h 06m 02s
7th Bill Carr England 6h 07m 46s
8th Len Jenkins South Africa 6h 13m 43s
9th Bill Brown South Africa 6h 14m 49s
10th Don Hartley South Africa 6h 15m 05s

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

1st Clive Crawley (41) South Africa

6h 31m 03s

2nd Doug Hamilton (41) South Africa 6h 42m 44s
3rd Lars Nayler (41) South Africa 6h 55m 09s

MASTERS (AGE 50 - 59)

1st Arnold Harborth (52) South Africa

7h 08m 11s

2nd Eddie Pritchard (53) South Africa 7h 25m 29s
3rd Allan Ferguson (50) South Africa 7h 28m 43s
1973 Down (48th Race)
Date Friday, 1 June
Weather Cold with clear sky at start, becoming partly cloudy and mild to warm late morning.

Temperature – Min/ Max:

PMB 3/19
DBN 9/21
Start Venue/Time Pietermaritzburg City Hall / 6:00
Finish Venue Western Campus, Howard College, University of Natal
Time Limit 11 Hours
Official Distance 88.200 km

Winner’s Average Speed:

15.588 km/hr (3m 51s /km)

Entries 1621
Starters 1366
Finishers – Total 1225
Men 1225
Medals – Gold 10
Silver 197
Bronze 1018
% Finishers / Starters 89.7

THE MENS RACE

With Dave Bagshaw having returned to England, and no top-class visitors entered, it was an opportunity for the top local runners to strive for victory.

Gordon Baker’s magnificent record of 6 Gold Medals in 6 attempts was truly outstanding. He had recently won both the Karoo 50-miler and the 35-mile Bergville to Ladysmith. Dave Levick was victorious in the 56-km Two Oceans in Cape Town. Both were in peak condition.

Then at the last moment, Mick Orton, the surprise 1972 winner, submitted his entry. This was followed by that of the smooth-striding Scot, Alistair Wood.

It all pointed to an interesting, intriguing and exciting battle.

Following the jostling, bumping and barging in the mad stampede down Commercial Road and across the Umsunduzi Bridge, Koos Sutherland emerged first, over the Scottsville ridge, leading a massive group by 12 seconds as they set off en route to the foot of Polly Shortt’s. Immediately behind this group was another batch that included the likes of Orton, Wood, Eric Rencken, Fred Morrison, Baker and Levick.

Going over the crest of Polly’s, Orton made a decisive move, going into the lead on the descent of the big hill. Fifteen kilometres out, in the vicinity of Thornybush, Orton had a 500-metre lead over a group in which Baker, Rencken, Levick and Wood were running. Nearing the top of the climb, at Umlaas Road, Orton held a 2m 15s advantage over the chasing group.

With the heavy climbing behind them, there was little change in the order over the rollercoaster run through Cato Ridge, and on to Harrison Flats. The New Zealander, John Mc Brearty, was moving through the field, from a long way back, to join the prospective top contenders.

Setting a punishing pace, Orton went through Cato Ridge a little under 6 minutes ahead of Wood and Baker. With a fierce sun now beating down, Orton powered his away up and over Inchanga. On the big drop into the halfway stage at Drummond, Wood began to hobble painfully, having pulled a muscle in his thigh. He retired a few metres further on, leaving Baker to pursue Orton into Drummond.

Orton passed through the midpoint in an unbelievable 2h 45m 35s; a full 4 minutes inside Jackie Mekler’s record to halfway. He was looking amazingly relaxed, with a lead of 8 minutes over Baker. Leaving the Valley of a Thousand Hills, Levick set off after the pair ahead of him.

At Kearsney College, near the top of Botha’s Hill, Orton’s lead over Baker was 9m 12s, and he still showed no sign of slowing. Looking invincible, and already being hailed as one of the greatest Comrades runners ever, Orton clearly had the record at his mercy; provided nothing untoward went wrong. He was so far ahead, no one was visualising anyone else as the victor. Levick was maintaining a sustained surge and went past Baker and into 2nd place down Botha’s Hill.

With Orton blasting away at the front, Levick, paying for his long surge, slowed appreciably going through Hillcrest and was overtaken by Baker at Gillitts, and subsequently by Chris Hoogsteden, who was having a storming late run. Orton was timed at the checkpoint at the foot of Field’s Hill in 4h 10m. Hoogsteden and Baker came past in 4h 17m. The lead had been reduced by a minute since Botha’s Hill. Was it an ominous sign?

On the lower slope of Cowie’s Hill, Orton was clearly tiring. He was, however, so far ahead, nobody imagined he could be overtaken. Hoogsteden and Baker, separated by only 150 metres, were running much faster than Orton. So much so that spectators at Westville were speculating ‘Hoogsteden or Baker?’ In the excitement, nobody it seemed, noticed the flying Levick making great progress behind the leading trio.

At Westville, it became clear that Orton’s race was over. Hoogsteden was 5m 10s behind him and closing, with Baker and Levick another 2 minutes back. At 45th Cutting, Hoogsteden had reduced Orton’s lead to 60 seconds but had, with the extreme effort, exhausted himself. Baker now turned on the pace and went past Hoogsteden into 2nd position. Orton was only 500 metres in front of Baker who was enjoying his best-ever Comrades Marathon. Baker caught Orton on Mayville Hill, 5 kilometres from the finish. He had his life’s ambition within his grasp.

But… it was not to be.

Levick was having a blinder. Baker was told that ‘Levick was coming’. Two and a half kilometres from home, Levick gave Baker a friendly tap on the shoulder. Baker had nothing left. He could not respond.

Confusion reigned at the finish. Radio reports first announced that Orton had an unassailable lead. Then they were told that Baker was approaching the finish.

Then Levick erupted onto the track to run the final lap, of a thoroughly absorbing race, in a new record time of 5h 39m 9s. Baker held on for a gallant 2nd place while McBrearty worked his way quietly into 3rd place.

In the turmoil and confusion of the final few kilometres, Sutherland slipped past into 4th place, while the two runners who provided most of the excitement during the closing minutes of the race, Orton and Hoogsteden faded to 5th (5h 48m 9s) and 6th (5h 48m 49s) places respectively. Both were still very respectable times.

RESULT

1st Dave Levick * South Africa

5h 39m 09s

New Best Time Down

2nd Gordon Baker South Africa 5h 42m 53s
3rd John McBrearty New Zealand 5h 46m 18s
4th Koos Sutherland South Africa 5h 47m 49s
5th Mick Orton England 5h 48m 09s
6th Chris Hoogsteden South Africa 5h 48m 49s
7th Trevor Parry South Africa 5h 52m 17s
8th Derek Preiss South Africa 5h 54m 35s
9th Rob Gardner South Africa 5h 56m 09s
10th Don Carter-Brown South Africa 5h 59m 42s

* First Sub-5:45 and Sub-5:40 Down Run

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

1st Derek Kay (40) South Africa

6h 01m 00s

2nd Doug Hamilton (42) South Africa 6h 09m 00s
3rd Charlie Chase (45) South Africa 6h 33m 00s

MASTERS (AGE 50 - 59)

1st Arnold Harborth (53) South Africa

6h 39m 00s

New Best Time Down

2nd Allan Ferguson (51) South Africa 6h 57m 00s
3rd Peter Dickson (53) South Africa 7h 21m 00s
1974 Up (49th Race)
Date Friday, 31 May
Weather Gloriously sunny and warm.

Temperature – Min/ Max:

PMB 2/19
DBN 12/22
Start Venue/Time Durban City Hall / 6:00
Finish Venue Collegians’ Club Oval
Time Limit 11 Hours
Approx. Distance 54 M
Entries 1557
Starters 1350
Finishers – Total 1162
Men 1162
Medals – Gold 10
Silver 129
Bronze 1023
% Finishers / Starters 86.1

THE MENS RACE

“Expect a dark horse to come to the fore,” the media expounded.

Why that opinion was expressed seemed strange when, among the masses lined up outside the Durban City Hall were proven top-flight performers like Gordon Baker, Dave Levick, Dave Box and Roland Davey.

True, there was an array of talented youngsters who were capable of ruffling the feathers of the recognised runners; men like Alan Robb and Derek Preiss. They would have to perform above their best to unsettle the more experienced veterans.

Merv Myhill had established a clear lead by 45th Cutting, but a group of unknowns were trailing not too far behind. By the time the lead bunch reached Westville, they were starting to weaken and close behind, some formidable names were taking their places in an ominous batch. Soon Ronnie Brimelow went to the front setting a cracking pace while tucking in, within striking distance were Koos Sutherland, Robb and Baker.

As Cowie’s Hill loomed, Brimelow and Myhill, and a short distance back, Sutherland, had broken away. Some fifty metres adrift was Baker, Denis Morrison and Chris Hoogsteden. Preiss was a fair way back in about 30th position.

Running through Pinetown, Brimelow had surged ahead with Sutherland second. Derek van Eeden was storming along, and passed Sutherland before the ascent of Field’s Hill. Myhill was falling back and was soon out of the picture. Box was soon to follow suit. Along the Pinetown Flats, Preiss drew level with Baker, Hoogsteden, Robb and Morrison.

As usual, the big hill took its toll and a tired-looking Brimelow was clocked at 1h 35m at the checkpoint. Don Hartley had come from nowhere and went through with Sutherland and van Eeden. Everyone, however, was asking, “where is Levick?”

His was running comfortably, a long way back, seemingly enjoying the glorious running weather, rather than trying for a top spot.

Brimelow hung, doggedly, on to the lead and went through Drummond in 2h 55m 5s. Then came Hartley (2h 58m), Sutherland (2h 59m), Baker, Robb, Preiss and Hoogsteden together (3h 2m) and Morrison (3h 3m).

Inchanga, always a catalyst, was soon performing its dark deeds. Brimelow had apparently discovered new sources of energy and was running freely over the top, but it wasn’t to last. Preiss went ahead of Baker and Robb but soon tired and was re-passed by the pair on the run to Harrison Flats. Sutherland was looking very strong and appeared to be holding himself back. Hartley was slowing and was overtaken by Sutherland before fading out of contention.

Brimelow reached the Cato Ridge fly-over in 3h 55m, with Sutherland (4h 00m) next. Preiss had stepped up the pace and moved into 3rd place, leaving Baker and Robb behind. The position remained unchanged as the top contenders arrived at Camperdown

Shortly after Camperdown, Brimelow’s race came to an abrupt end. He was walking, seemingly in agony, when Sutherland swept past. Preiss was running very strongly hereabouts, claiming 2nd place from a distressed Brimelow. He certainly had Sutherland in his sights and by Umlaas Road was only 1m 50s off the pace.

It was on Polly Shortt’s where the race was finally decided. Sutherland climbed the monster hill without losing his steady rhythm but Preiss simply ‘flew’ up the testing climb. From trailing Sutherland by 90 seconds at the foot, he caught and passed him at the crest. Robb went ahead of Baker on the hill.

The race now, however, belonged to Preiss. He stretched the distance between himself and Sutherland with every stride and entered the Collegians’ Club Oval with a lead of nearly half a kilometre.

RESULT

1st Derek Preiss South Africa

6h 02m 49s

2nd Koos Sutherland South Africa 6h 04m 25s
3rd Alan Robb South Africa 6h 06m 45s
4th Gordon Baker Switzerland 6h 12m 32s
5th Barry Gerber South Africa 6h 13m 37s
6th Trevor Parry South Africa 6h 14m 52s
7th Dave Rogers South Africa 6h 18m 19s
8th Derek van Eeden South Africa 6h 21m 47s
9th Ronnie Brimelow South Africa 6h 23m 22s
10th Manie Saayman South Africa 6h 27m 21s

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

1st Doug Hamilton (43) South Africa

6h 28m 00s

2nd Derek Kay (41) South Africa 6h 34m 00s
3rd Eddie Craig (42) South Africa 6h 41m 00s

MASTERS (AGE 50 - 59)

1st Arnold Harborth (54) South Africa

6h 59m 00s

2nd Allan Ferguson (52) South Africa 7h 21m 00s
3rd Eddie Pritchard (55) South Africa 7h 22m 00s

GRANDMASTERS (AGE 60 +)

1st Benjamin Mamabolo (60) South Africa

7h 44m 33s

2nd Vossie Vosloo (60) South Africa 8h 26m 17s
3rd Phillippus Maartens (63) South Africa 8h 55m 43s
1975 Up (50th Race) Golden Jubilee Year
Date Saturday, 31 May
Weather Cool windless morning at start with clear sky. Hot, sunny day.

Temperature – Min/ Max:

PMB 5/24
DBN 10/22
Start Venue/Time Durban City Hall, Smith Street/ 6:00
Finish Venue Collegians’ Club Oval
Time Limit 11 Hours
Approx. Distance 54 M
Entries 1501
Starters 1352
Finishers – Total 1237
Men 1236
Women 1
Medals – Gold 10
Silver 204
Bronze 1023
% Finishers / Starters 91.5

THE MENS RACE

This was a landmark year. Participation was opened to all, regardless of race or gender. All the big names were present plus a whole host of unknown local runners who could cause all sorts of problems to the regular top echelon. Also in the mix were some dangerous performers from New Zealand, Australia, Rhodesia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

To say it was anybody’s race was a fair statement.

Leading the massed celebration of running up Berea Road was Pius Khumalo, Jonathan Gardner, Dave Rogers and Koos Sutherland. Sunrise saw the flying leaders on Cowie’s Hill. First over the top was Rogers. Following him was Khumalo and Alan Robb, while not too far adrift came Sutherland, Gordon Baker, Dave Levick and Derek Preiss.

Rogers held a 200-metre advantage at Pinetown. Robb had gone past Khumalo who was dropping back. The fancied pair, Levick and Preiss, was well behind the leaders at this stage. Robb surged on the big climb up Field’s Hill, overhauling Rogers and held a lead of a minute when he reached the top. He was timed through the checkpoint at the top in 1h 36m, with Rogers passing by in 1h 36m 24s. A huge group, with all the top names among them, arrived in 1h 38m.

The group disintegrated on the run through Hillcrest and Botha’s Hill to the midpoint at Drummond. John McBrearty, Derek van Eeden and Dave Hensman broke out of the cluster and set off after those ahead.  Robb arrived at Drummond in 2h 56m with McBrearty and van Eeden going by in 2h 56m 30s. Hensman, Sutherland and Preiss were next in 2h 58m.

Inchanga, ever the catalyst, was the beginning of the end for Robb, as he faltered on the big climb, though he still led at the top. Preiss was enjoying a storming patch, overtaking all except the leader as they wound down past the Inchanga Mission School where the order was Robb (3h 24m 10s), Preiss (3h 24m 50s), McBrearty (3h 25m 5s), Sutherland (3h 26m 30s) and Kevin Shaw (3h 27m).

Preiss took over the lead at Harrison when Robb finally wilted. Effortlessly, he piled on the pressure to put the result beyond doubt. On the drop down the hill to Mpusheni, Shaw was moving strongly, going past Sutherland and McBrearty.

The  tough climbs of Ashburton and Polly Shortt’s appeared on the distant horizon. Preiss powered up both and commenced his run down to the finish with an unassailable lead.

RESULT

1st Derek Preiss South Africa

5h 53m 50s

2nd Gordon Shaw South Africa 6h 03m 15s
3rd Koos Sutherland South Africa 6h 06m 40s
4th John McBrearty New Zealand 6h 07m 00s
5th Alan Robb South Africa 6h 09m 24s
6th Dave Rogers South Africa 6h 10m 14s
7th Dave Levick South Africa 6h 11m 00s
8th Derek van Eeden South Africa 6h 12m 26s
9th Tim Blankley South Africa 6h 12m 48s
10th Geoff Deeny South Africa 6h 13m 35s

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

1st Derek Kay (42) South Africa

6h 27m 00s

2nd Eddie Craig (43) South Africa 6h 35m 00s
3rd Clive Crawley (44) South Africa 6h 41m 00s

MASTERS (AGE 50 - 59)

1st Pippin Oosthuizen (52) South Africa

7h 25m 00s

2nd Arnold Harborth (55) South Africa 7h 26m 00s
3rd Eddie Pritchard (56) South Africa 7h 27m 00s
 

THE WOMENS RACE

With only two official entrants, the race was never going to rise to any great or exciting moments. Mavis Hutchinson faded badly after halfway and subsequently dropped out.

It was left to Elizabeth Cavanagh to cross the line, after 10h 8m on the road, to become the first woman to earn a Comrades Marathon Medal.

RESULT

1st Elizabeth Cavanagh South Africa

10h 08m 00s

Established Best Time Up

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

1st Elizabeth Cavanagh (44) South Africa

10h 08m 00s

Established Best Time Up