1976 - 1979

2nd screen

1976 Down (51st Race)

Date Monday, 31 May
Weather Sunny and hot.

Temperature – Min/ Max:

PMB 9/26
DBN 10/25
Start Venue/Time Pietermaritzburg City Hall / 6:00
Finish Venue Kingsmead Stadium
Time Limit 11 Hours
Official Distance 90.100 km

Winner’s Average Speed:

Men 15.865 km/hr (3m 47s /km)
Women 9.918 km/hr (6m 03s /km)
Entries 1773
Starters 1575
Finishers – Total 1408
Men 1402
Women 6
Medals – Gold 10
Silver 220
Bronze 1178
% Finishers / Starters 89.4

THE MENS RACE

With 8 of the 1975 Gold Medallists in the line-up, a thrilling race was anticipated, particularly so with Cavan Woodward, the world 50- and 100-mile record holder, also entered.

Woodward revealed his intent from the gun, going into an immediate lead at a pace that left roadside spectators breathless. When he crested Polly Shortt’s Hill he already held a 5-minute lead over a massive group that included all the big names; Steve Atkins, Alan Robb, Vincent Rakabaela, Zwilitsha Gono, Dave Hensman, Gordon Baker, Dave Rogers, Derek Preiss and many others. On the long climb to Thornybush, Preiss and Hensman broke clear of the main bunch while Rogers dropped behind.

Woodward passed the Camperdown checkpoint in 1h 40m, with Atkins, Hensman, Robb, Rakabaela, Chris Hoogsteden and Rogers joint second in 1h 46m. Over the switchback Hills to Cato Ridge, Woodward maintained his massive lead. At this point, his main challengers were Atkins, Robb, Rakabaela, Hoogsteden, Baker, Preiss, Hensman and Rogers.

Going through Drummond in 2h 46m, Woodward was clearly showing signs of fatigue. Hoogsteden went by in 2h 51m followed by Atkins, Hensman, Preiss, Robb and Rakabaela together in 2h 52m. Baker retired at Drummond with an inflamed Achilles Tendon.

The tough pull out of Drummond began to take its toll on the early leaders with Woodward paying for his early pace and Atkins and Hensman falling away. On the run to Hillcrest, Rogers was moving well and making up valuable time. As Hillcrest drew near, Preiss, Robb and Rakabaela went ahead of their group and set off to catch Woodward and Hoogsteden. The order through the village was Woodward, with Hoogsteden trailing him by 90 metres. Then, moving freely, came the trio of Preiss, Robb and Rakabaela. Hoosteden caught Woodward and held the lead for a short while before falling back. The chasing trio soon overhauled both, and started the long drop down Field’s Hill together.

Then drama struck.

Robb surged as he started down the hill. Preiss went with him and immediately pulled up clutching his right thigh. The hamstring had gone. He hobbled on for some time but, in essence, his challenge for a hat trick of victories was over. Robb cruised through the checkpoint at the foot of the hill in 4h 16m, followed by Rakabaela and Hoogsteden (4h 17m), Preiss (4h 18m). Rogers trailed through a long way back in 4h 27m.

Rakabaela picked up the pace through Pinetown but by the foot of Cowie’s Hill, it was his undoing, allowing Robb to pull away. With Robb increasing his lead all the time, both Woodward and Rogers were moving strongly behind him. At the Tollgate, Robb’s substantial lead was never going to be challenged, and he entered Kingsmead Stadium a clear winner.

RESULT

1st Alan Robb South Africa

5h 40m 43s

2nd Cavin Woodward England 5h 49m 19s
3rd Dave Rogers South Africa 5h 52m 41s
4th Koos Sutherland South Africa 5h 53m 26s
5th Steve Atkins South Africa 5h 54m 39s
6th Chris Hoogsteden South Africa 5h 56m 02s
7th Rob Ashworth South Africa 5h 59m 01s
8th Vincent Rakabaela Lesotho 5h 59m 02s
9th Dave Hensman South Africa 6h 01m 08s
10th Derek van Eeden South Africa 6h 02m 54s

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

1st Derek Kay (43) South Africa 6h 24m 00s
2nd Doug Hamilton (45) South Africa 6h 32m 00s
3rd Caspar Greeff (41) South Africa 6h 42m 00s


MASTERS (AGE 50 - 59)

1st Eddie Pritchard (57) South Africa

7h 16m 00s

2nd Pippin Oosthuizen (53) South Africa 7h 24m 00s
3rd Mercer Davies (51) South Africa 7h 50m 00s
 

THE WOMENS RACE

The small womens’ contingent, it was only the 2nd occasion on which they were competing, was vastly outnumbered by their male counterparts and always ‘lost’ in groups of male runners,

Lettie Kleynhans was timed at Drummond in 4h 25m, with Lettie van Zyl clocking in a minute later. Alet Ten Tusscher and Lynn Oberholzer were prominent among the rest of the field but were a long way off the pace.

Going through Hillcrest, Kleynhans was not running with the ease that was apparent earlier in the day and before she reached Winston Park, both Ten Tusscher and Oberholzer had gone past her. van Zyl, however, was away and never in any danger of being denied victory. She continually increased the distance between herself and the next two runners and crossed the finish line at Kingsmead a full half-hour before Ten Tusscher arrived with Oberholzer another 18 minutes further adrift  

RESULT

1st Lettie van Zyl South Africa

9h 05m 00s

Established Best Time Down

2nd Alet Ten Tusscher South Africa 9h 35m 00s
3rd Lynn Oberholzer South Africa 9h 53m 00s
4th Mavis Hutchinson South Africa 10h 06m 00s
5th Daphne Ledlie South Africa 10h 23m 00s

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

1st Lettie van Zyl (43) South Africa

9h 05m 00s

Established Best Time Down

2nd Alet Ten Tusscher (41) South Africa 9h 35m 00s
3rd Daphne Ledlie (43) South Africa 10h 23m 00s
1977 Up (52nd Race)
Date Tuesday, 31 May
Weather Warm, sunny day.

Temperature – Min/ Max:

PMB 3/30
DBN 10/28
Start Venue/Time Durban City Hall, Smith Street / 6:00
Finish Venue Jan Smuts Stadium
Time Limit 11 Hours
Official Distance 89.700 km

Winner’s Average Speed:

Men 15.059 km/hr (3m 52s /km)
Women 10.004 km/hr (6m 00s /km)
Entries 2212
Starters 1963
Finishers – Total 1670
Men 1662
Women 8
Medals – Gold 10
Silver 188
Bronze 1472
% Finishers / Starters 85.1

THE MENS RACE

Nearly 2000 runners set off from Durban on a balmy morning and, on the long gentle pull up Berea Road to Tollgate, Vincent Rahabaela and Francis Koos established a 50 metre lead over the rest of the field. Koos held a slight lead of 15 metres over Dolf Dampies when he reached 45th Cutting where a huge group, containing all the big-name runners, were only strides behind.

By the time the leaders went through Westville, all the serious contenders had placed themselves in strategic positions. The easy-striding Koos led the way up, and over Cowie’s Hill and down through Pinetown where he held a 2-minute lead over Dave Wright, Jan Erasmus and Henry Nyembe. No more than 50 metres back, came the Alan Robb, Dave Rogers, Barry Gerber and Steve Atkins group.

Koos struggled up Field’s Hill, but still led at the checkpoint in 1h 37m. Wright and Nyembe were next in 1h 38m, but Wright quickly overtook Koos. The pace, generally, was slow and enabled Robb to tuck in behind Koos before they reached Kloof. Wright was firmly in the lead by Winston Park, with Robb looking menacing, just behind Koos and Rakabaela.

The testing climb up Botha’s Hill held no terrors for the flying leader and, looking even fresher than he did at Kloof, Wright, as he went past Kearsney College at the top of the climb, was a full two-and-a-half minutes in front of the dangerous trio of Atkins, Robb and Rakabaela.

Wright maintained his pace and clocked in at Drummond in 2h 56m 45s. Robb, Atkins and Rakabaela arrived together in 3h 00m.

At the foot of Inchanga, the unheralded Wright looked a likely winner. As in many years past, Inchanga always had a say in the way things turned out over the final kilometres. From looking unbeatable at the foot of the climb, Wright was slowing considerably by the time he went over the top. On the roller-coaster, hilly, downhill to Cato Ridge, Robb and Rakabaela regularly exchanged positions, with Atkins never out of striking distance.

At Cato Ridge, Robb and Rakabaela were 300 metres adrift of the fast-fading, Wright, but when they caught him, he hung on and the three went through the checkpoint at Camperdown, together in 4h 8m. Exiting Camperdown, Robb hit the accelerator. Rakabaela went with him, but Wright failed to respond.

On the way down to Tumble Inn, the pace was torrid. Commencing the climb up to Ashburton, Robb injected even more pace, but this time Rakabaela could not go with him. Having burst away from Rakabaela and into a commanding lead, the order at the foot of Polly Shortt’s was Robb, Rakabaele, Wright and Atkins.

With Robb away, and seemingly unassailable, the major card still to be played, was shown on Polly’s. Atkins floated up the final big hill, passing Wright and Rakabaela before the crest, to move into 2nd place.

The huge change of pace after Camperdown, put Robb in a position where, if he sustained his momentum over the final few kilometres, he could lower the Up Record. Never flagging for a moment, his relentless pace paid off and he crossed the line in Jan Smuts Stadium as the new record holder.

A brave Dave Wright hung on grimly and was beaten by a minute by 2nd placed Atkins, while the gallant Rakabaela was beaten, in the end, by his courageous, furious battle with the victor over the final quarter of the race.

RESULT

1st Alan Robb South Africa

5h 47m 09s

New Best Time Up

2nd Steve Atkins South Africa 5h 57m 48s
3rd Dave Wright South Africa 5h 58m 43s
4th Vincent Rakabaela Lesotho 6h 03m 50s
4th Heinz Jeanrichard South Africa 6h 09m 54s
6th Barry Gerber South Africa 6h 12m 48s
7th Malcolm Ball South Africa 6h 14m 00s
8th Norman Wessels South Africa 6h 14m 41s
9th Anton de Koning South Africa 6h 15m 38s
10th Koos Sutherland South Africa 6h 16m 14s

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

1st Calie Beneke (40) South Africa

6h 23m 00s

2nd Derek Kay (45) South Africa 6h 30m 00s
3rd Herman van der Wilt (42) South Africa 6h 53m 00s

MASTERS (AGE 50 - 59)

1st Jarrie van Jaarsveld (51) South Africa 7h 56m 00s
2nd Allan Ferguson (55) South Africa 7h 57m 00s
3rd Eddie Pritchard (58) South Africa 8h 18m 00s


THE WOMENS RACE

Almost unseen among massed runners at the start, the sprinkling of women competitors were ‘lost’ until the field spread out.

First to emerge from the horde, at the Field’s Hill checkpoint, was Lettie van Zyl, a minute ahead of Thea Claassen. Two minutes further back came Marie-Jean Duyvejonck. The race unfolded as the leaders approached Drummond. van Zyl was suffering from a sore back and struck a bad patch on the climb up Botha’s Hill. Claassen was running a blinder, however, and at top of the hill, near Kearsney College, she took over the lead and striding away, passed through the halfway mark in 4h 28m; 5 minutes ahead of, a battling, defiant van Zyl. Duyvejonck was through in 3rd position, although a long way back.

Once over Inchanga, van Zyl was clearly recovering from her bad patch and, running strongly, moved ever closer to Claassen. She finally caught, and went past, the leader before Cato Ridge and, reaching the Camperdown checkpoint in 6h 22m, had built up a substantial lead of 9 minutes.

So well was she moving, her lead was growing with every stride. She had set herself a schedule to finish inside 9 hours and, running along Alexandra Road, a little less than a kilometre from the finish, she looked at her watch. She had 6 minutes in which to achieve her goal.

Fighting hard against overwhelming fatigue, she accelerated and 4 minutes later established a new Best Time, with 2 minutes to spare over her goal.

RESULT

1st Lettie van Zyl * South Africa

8h 58m 00s

New Best Time Up

2nd Thea Claassen South Africa 9h18m 00s
3rd Marie-Jeane Duyvejonck South Africa 9h 51m 00s
4th Daphne Ledlie South Africa 10h 04m 00s
5th Alet Ten Tusscher South Africa 10h 20m 00s
6th Mavis Hutchinson South Africa 10h 36m 00s

* First Sub-9:00

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

1st Lettie van Zyl (44) South Africa

8h 58m 00s

New Best Time Up

2nd Daphne Ledlie (44) South Africa 10h 04m 00s
3rd Alet Ten Tusscher (42) South Africa 10h 20m 00s
1978 Down (53rd Race)
Date Wednesday, 31 May
Weather Cold at start, warming to mild with short intervals of rain in places after halfway.

Temperature – Min/ Max:

PMB 6/21
DBN 16/24
Start Venue/Time Pietermaritzburg City Hall / 6:00
Finish Venue Kingsmead Stadium
Time Limit 11 Hours
Official Distance 89.900 km

Winner’s Average Speed:

Men 16.384 km/hr (3m 40s /km)
Women 10.681 km/hr (5m 37s /km)
Entries 3094
Starters 2721
Finishers – Total 2601
Men 2590
Women 11
Medals – Gold 10
Silver 394
Bronze 2197
% Finishers / Starters 95.6

THE MENS RACE

The winner was surely to come from one of Alan Robb (Winner in 1976 and 1977), Derek Preiss (Winner 1974 and 1975) or the consistently steady Vincent Rakabaela.

The crack of a pistol was followed by the never-ending slap of running shoes on the tarmac as nearly 3000 runners set out into a rain-threatening dawn. The early leaders, Piet Makola and Themba Malinga went over the top of Polly Shortts with all the big-name favourites in their wake. Among them were Malcolm Ball, Dave Wright, Barry Gerber, Robb, Preiss, Steve Atkins, Rakabaela and Anton de Koning.

On the long, testing climb through Mpusheni to the Dardanelles, the unknown George Williams was running 100 metres ahead of Atkins. Williams had increased his lead at Camperdown and reached the checkpoint 200 metres ahead of Atkins, with Gerber and Wright another 200 metres astern. A further 300 metres back, was the trio of Robb, Preiss and Rakabaela. The sight of these three together conjured up visions of a nail-biter in another few hours.

Amazingly, Williams still held the lead at Cato Ridge where the order following him, was Atkins, Gerber and Wright. A mere 25 metres back was Robb and his shadow, Rakabaela. Preiss had drifted about 30 metres behind but still appeared to be running easily.

Atkins was closing in on Williams and went past him on Harrison Flats. Inchanga, once again played its dastardly tricks on the runners. This time it was Rakabaela who faded while Robb, free of his shadow, stepped up the pace and passed both Williams and then Gerber. The order, going over the top of Inchanga, was Atkins, Wright and Robb. On the fast drop down the big hill, Robb shifted up a gear and drew level with the two ahead of him. The three were timed through halfway in 2h 48m. Preiss was having a disappointing day and retired at Drummond, as did Rakabaela, another kilometre further on, at Alverston.     

On the testing climb past Alverston, Robb went ahead of Atkins, reaching the top with a lead of 100 metres. Striking out strongly, he increased his lead to 200 metres at the top of Botha’s Hill.

Behind the flying leader, Atkins was slipping back, Gerber was struggling and De Koning was having difficulty staying in contact with the leading contenders, while Wright was coming back into the picture, passing Atkins in Hillcrest.

There was no stopping Robb, however, and on the mostly downhill final 30 kilometres, he drew further away from his opposition. From here onwards, the race took on a whole, new perspective. Robb ‘exploded’ down Field’s Hill. He was running so fast that a new Down Record seemed inevitable, while some were hinting of a sub-5h 30m.

Robb sailed through Pinetown, up and over Cowie’s Hill and through Westville, where he was 8 minutes ahead of Wright. De Koning, moving freely, was not far adrift in 3rd position.

Running alone over the final few kilometers into Durban, Robb was assured of a third consecutive win, and a new record. The real interest was, however, whether the 5h 30m barrier would survive or not. He ran without faltering, crossing the finish line at Kingsmead Stadium in an amazing 5h 29m14s.

RESULT

1st Alan Robb * South Africa

5h 29m 14s

New Best Time Down

2nd Dave Wright South Africa 5h 48m 40s
3rd Anton De Koning South Africa 5h 49m 39s
4th Piet Vorster South Africa 5h 52m 04s
5th Trompie Strydom South Africa 5h 54m 14s
6th Steve Atkins South Africa 5h 55m 58s
7th Malcolm Ball South Africa 5h 57m 19s
8th Barry Gerber South Africa 5h 57m 38s
9th Willie Vermeulen South Africa 5h 59m 15s
10th Harry Schubert South Africa 6h 02m 07s

* First Sub-5:30 Down Run

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

1st Calie Beneke (41) South Africa

6h 10m 00s

2nd Jorrie Jordaan (41) South Africa 6h 22m 00s
3rd Caspar Greeff (43) South Africa 6h 38m 00s

MASTERS (AGE 50 - 59)

1st Pippin Oosthuizen (55) South Africa

7h 25m 00s

2nd Eddie Pritchard (59) South Africa 7h 28m 00s
3rd Ross Ashington (57) South Africa 7h 29m 00s

GRANDMASTERS (AGE 60 +)

1st Rue Rachailov (62) South Africa

8h 45m 00s

2nd Ken Oglesby (61) South Africa 8h 56m 00s
3rd Allen Boyce (64) South Africa 9h 23m 00s
 

THE WOMENS RACE

The outright favourite was the 1977 winner, Lettie van Zyl, while Aletta Kleynhans also had a degree of support.

Kleyhans was the first to show as the field wound its way out of the city. She led over the crest of Polly Shortts and maintained her lead up the long pull to the water tower at Umlaas Road, where van Zyl ran her down and went into a lead that was short-lived. Sue Wagner was running strongly at this point and overhauled both runners in front of her in the vicinity of the Inchanga Mission School.

Wagner led at the halfway mark in 4h 1m, with van Zyl checking in at 4h 11m. That time-gap remained unchanged as the two leaders made their way across the undulating section to Kloof, where Wagner still held a commanding 10-minute advantage.

It was on the big drop down Field’s Hill, and along the Pinetown Flats, that van Zyl found new sources of energy. She caught sight of Wagner on the climb up Cowie’s Hill and, closing steadily, went into the lead with 16 kilometres remaining.

From then on, she drew steadily away, running effortlessly into the city and crossed the finish line with a new Best Time.

RESULT

1st Lettie van Zyl * South Africa

8h 25m 00s

New Best Time Down

2nd Sue Wagner South Africa 8h 43m 00s
3rd Joan Clark South Africa 8h 53m 00s
4th Cheryl Jorgensen South Africa 9h 19m 00s
5th Alet Ten Tusscher South Africa 9h 46m 00s
6th Elizabeth Cavanagh South Africa 9h 53m 00s
7th Estelle Botha South Africa 9h 59m 00s
8th Daphne Ledlie South Africa 10h 09m 00s
9th Clare Taylor South Africa 10h 41m 00s

* First Sub-8:30 Down Run

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

1st Lettie van Zyl (45) South Africa

8h 25m 00s

New Best Time Down

2nd Alet Ten Tusscher (43) South Africa 9h 46m 00s
3rd Elizabeth Cavanagh (47) South Africa 9h 53m 00s
1979 Up (54th Race)
Date Thursday, 31 May
Weather Cold at start. Cold and overcast, with drizzle and mist in places, all day.

Temperature – Min/ Max:

PMB 6/17
DBN 15/21
Start Venue/Time Durban City Hall, Smith Street / 6:00
Finish Venue Jan Smuts Stadium
Time Limit 11 Hours
Official Distance 86.600 km

Winner’s Average Speed:

Men 15.059 km/hr (4m 00s /km)
Women 10.336 km/hr (5m 48s /km)
Entries 3410
Starters 3001
Finishers – Total 2820
Men 2809
Women 11
Medals – Gold 10
Silver 343
Bronze 2467
% Finishers / Starters 94.0

THE MENS RACE

‘It’s gonna be a one-horse race.’

Everybody agreed that Alan Robb, the winner of the three previous races, could not possibly be beaten.

And then Johnny Halberstadt’s entry landed on the Race Secretary’s desk. Suddenly, it wasn’t a one-horse race anymore.

In the cold, grey half-light, 3001 hopefuls swarmed up Smith Street en route to Tollgate where the first runners though were Steve Atkins, Halberstadt and Graham Farrell, with Robb and Dave Wright some 25 metres behind.

After 30 minutes, Halberstadt and Atkins were running shoulder to shoulder past 45th Cutting. Half a minute later came Robb, ensconced in a big bunch. Making his intentions clear, Halberstadt soon led by 50 seconds from Atkins, with Robb a further 25 seconds adrift as the field moved towards Westville. In a bunch immediately behind Robb, there followed a group that contained all the other dangerous names.

At the foot of Cowie’s Hill, Halberstadt had extended his lead to 1m 50s. He was followed by Akins, the Vermeulen brothers, Paul and Willie, Robb, Wright and Piet Vorster. Running at a speed in excess of 17 kilometres per hour, Halberstadt was leaving the field for dead and reached the Field’s Hill checkpoint with an advantage of 3m 5s over Atkins, with Vorster on his shoulder. Then came Willie Vermeulen, Wright and a tired-looking Robb.

Over the relatively easy stretch to Hillcrest, Halbertadt, looking great, held a 3m 30s lead over Vorster who was, in turn, followed by Atkins, Wright, Robb and Vermeulen. Up Botha’s Hill, past Kearsney College and over the rolling hills to Drummond, Halberstadt clocked in at the midpoint in 2h 45m 30s. The next runners to pass halfway were Vorster (2h 49m 30s), Atkins (2h 52m 35s) and Wright (2h 53m 28s). A dejected Robb went through in 14th position; seemingly out of contention, in 2h 56m.

The battle up front continued furiously. It was clear that if Halberstadt maintained his devastating pace, the Up Record would be annihilated. He negotiated Inchanga without any trouble. Vorster was, also, showing great composure and never allowed the flying leader to increase his lead over the massive climb. The Swiss runner, Heinz Jeanrichard, had progressed through the field and appeared set to challenge, but he, soon, fell away.

At Cato Ridge, Halberstadt looked set for a stunning victory but there was still a fair distance to go. A few short kilometers further, however, at Camperdown, he was clearly slowing. Vorster had closed the gap to 3m 45s, with Wright only a further minute back. Coming through from nowhere was Bruce Fordyce who had passed a dispirited Robb.

Then high drama struck. Vorster went past Halberstadt lying on the side of the road. He was overcome by cramp and while his helpers were struggling to massage some life back into his legs, Wright also went by 4 minutes later. In true Comrades spirit, Halberstadt was back on the road a few minutes later.

Vorster was away, however, and with the monster, Polly Shortt’s, looming on the far horizon , he appeared a certain winner. Taking advantage of the blistering pace set by Halberstadt, Vorster found himself in striking distance of the Up Record. Halberstadt was coming back, though, and he soon regained 2nd place from Wright. Behind all the drama, Fordyce was blazing his way through the field. He caught Wright on Polly’s, and set off after Halberstadt, only to fail by just 45 seconds to overtake the early pacesetter.

Polly Shortt’s offered no resistance to Vorster who cruised up the hill and completed a triumphant journey into the city to cross the finish line at Jan Smuts Stadium with a new Best Time.

RESULT

1st Piet Vorster South Africa

5h 45m 02s

New Best Time Up

2nd Johnny Halberstadt South Africa 5h 50m 30s
3rd Bruce Fordyce South Africa 5h 51m 15s
4th Anton de Koning South Africa 6h 00m 18s
5th Alan Robb South Africa 6h 01m 12s
6th Malcolm Ball South Africa 6h 01m 52s
7th Geoff Deeny South Africa 6h 02m 10s
8th Dave Hensman South Africa 6h 02m 38s
9th Norman Wessels South Africa 6h 04m 16s
10th Dave Wright South Africa 6h 04m 58s

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

1st Calie Beneke (42) South Africa

6h 09m 56s

New Best Time Up

2nd Dennis Boyle (41) South Africa 6h 26m 03s
3rd Herman van der Wilt (44) South Africa 6h 30m 38s

MASTERS (AGE 50 - 59)

1st Roy Wise (50) South Africa

7h 25m 58s

2nd Bill Hobbs (50) South Africa 7h 44m 00s
3rd Bernie Horne (51) South Africa 7h 46m 00s

GRANDMASTERS (AGE 60 +)

1st Eddie Pritchard (60) South Africa

7h 41m 09s

New Best Time Up

2nd Ken Oglesby (62) South Africa 8h 51m 56s
3rd Doug Horton (64) South Africa 8h 59m 54s
 

THE WOMENS RACE

With 17 women entered, the race promised to be more competitive than in previous years. It should be remembered, though, that these were still formative years for women in the Comrades Marathon.

From the start, Moira Hornby was the first to show, leading the way up Berea Road, through Tollgate. Behind her, positions changed regularly with Jan Mallen, Marie-Jean Duyvejonck, Lettie van Zyl and Joan Clark never permitting too much space to develop between them.

Hornby maintained a steady pace and led all the way over Cowie’s Hill, through Pinetown, Hillcrest and down to Drummond in a time of 4h 3m. Such was the intense battle behind the leader, the 2nd and 4th women through halfway were separated by a mere 4 minutes. van Zyl (4h 15m) was through in 2nd place, followed by Clark (4h 16m) and Duyvejonck (4h 19m).

As always, Inchanga was up to its usual grim deeds. On the massive hill, Mallen found she was not troubled by the steep incline and began edging closer to those in front.

On the roller-coaster downhill section through Harrison Flats, Cato Ridge and Camperdown, Mallen, at regular intervals overhauled Clark, van Zyl and, finally Hornby, to assume the lead, on the run down to Mpusheni. She climbed Polly Shortt’s with ease and, running unchallenged into Pietermaritzbug, entered Jan Smuts Stadium to establish a new Best Time.

RESULT

1st Jan Mallen * South Africa

8h 22m 41s

New Best Time Up

2nd Moira Hornby South Africa 8h 29m 10s
3rd Lettie van Zyl South Africa 8h 32m 55s
4th Joan Clark South Africa 8h 37m 18s
5th Gail Ingram South Africa 9h 02m 43s
6th Marie-Jean Duyvejonck South Africa 9h 05m 30s
7th N.F. de Beer South Africa 9h 53m 40s
8th Hazel Hobbs South Africa 9h 58m 34s
9th Daphne Ledlie South Africa 10h 10m 28s
10th Val Sandison South Africa 10h 15m 01s

* First Sub-8:30 Up Run

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

1st Lettie van Zyl (46) South Africa

8h 32m 55s

New Best Time Up

2nd Hazel Hobbs (45) South Africa 9h 58m 34s
3rd Daphne Ledlie (46) South Africa 10h 10m 28