Home
COUNTDOWN TO COMRADES MARATHON 2015
2 2
2 2
2 2
DAYS
1 1
6 6
HOURS
0 0
7 7
MINUTES
2 2
6 6
SECONDS

Start

List

Are you on the Start List for the 90th  Comrades Marathon? "BE PART OF IT! BAMBA IQHAZA".

 

Online

ENTRY

Comrades online entries open on 1st September 2014. Comrades entries close on 30 November 2014 at 11:00:00.

 

Training

Info

Kickstart your training with our guides to exercising and goal setting to prevent injury.

 

Entries

Count

Entry Cap for 2015 is 23,000. Current entries:
 

 

Run for

Charity

Runners have raised millions of rands for good causes since the race began.
 

Medical Information

2nd screen

 

PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE

 

The Comrades Marathon Association, with Dr Jeremy Boulter at the helm of its Medical Portfolio, has its prime focus on the health, safety and wellbeing of its runners and as such, has prioritised its medical provisions. It is important to remember that the medical attention is retro-active, i.e. we only respond when a runner is in trouble. Prevention is better than cure, and the prevention of problems is in the hands of you, the runner.

The CMA will provide the following medical facilities for runners:-

 

ON THE ROUTE:
Netcare 911:
16 ambulances equipped with satellite tracking to enable us to accurately position the vehicles and ensure optimal response times to attend to runner’s difficulty.

6 rapid response vehicles with advanced life support paramedics and full emergency equipment

4 motor bikes / quad bikes with paramedics

1 helicopter

This will be controlled from the medical joint operations control, based on the finish, where there will be 8 computers, a full complement of staff to operate and record all details and dispatch vehicles as and when necessary.
All calls for medical assistance for runners should be made to Netcare 911 medical emergency number 082 911. These calls will then be routed directly to the Medical JOC.

 

Netcare 911 Physio/ 1st Aid Stations:

8 stations incorporating qualified Physios / Professional Nurses / Paramedical staff.
These will treat minor medical problems. It will also do blood sugar testing. Can be used to treat/ stabilise runners until arrival of ambulance. Physio students will also be at certain refreshment stations along the route. Physio tent is also positioned at finish.

 

FINISH:

Adcock Ingram Critical Care Medical Tent
50 Doctors and interns
20 Nurses

Mini laboratory provided by Ampath Laboratories

A three bed, fully equipped, ICU type, resuscitation area. This area will have a dedicated specialist emergency team to provide appropriate emergency care if needed.

We will have a mobile medical resuscitation trailer on the finish line. This will be staffed by an emergency care doctor and a paramedic. Its purpose is to be used as a primary, emergency resuscitation area if a runner is in severe trouble at the finish and needs care immediately, prior to being transferred to a medical tent. 

In addition there will be an advanced life support paramedic being stationed along, or at the end of the Toyota Mile. The paramedic will be able to respond to calls to runners in that area who are in trouble before they enter the stadium.

St. John’s Ambulance tent.
For R&R, Rub downs, strapping and massage etc.

 

HOSPITALS

Netcare group.
St. Anne’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg will be utilised for those runners who require hospitalisation before halfway.
St. Augustine’s Hospital in Durban will be our referral hospital from the second half of the race and the finish.
Runners with Medical Aid may be charged at Medical Aid rates. Those without will be treated free of charge for a maximum of 24 hours. [sponsored by Netcare].


PUBLIC 1ST AID:

Will be provided by Netcare at the finish venue at the Sahara-Kingsmead Stadium in Durban.

What can runners do to prevent serious health problems?

Firstly, it is important to appreciate that runners, who collapse after they have finished a race, even if they require urgent medical attention, will almost certainly recover fully. However, those who collapse during a race are most probably suffering from a very serious and potentially fatal condition. So what can be done to prevent this latter situation from arising?

The first thing that runners can do is to make sure that they are adequately prepared. This means that they should have done enough training. They should also do their best to ensure that they have no underlying medical problems, of which they may or may not be aware. The following is a list of questions that runners should ask themselves. If you have answered “yes” to any of these questions, it is strongly recommended that you see your doctor or a cardiologist for a full check up before starting the Comrades.

  • Has your doctor ever warned you that you have “heart issues” or that you should only be physically active or do sports under medical supervision?
  • Are you overweight or underweight?
  • Is your girth over 88cm (for women) or 102cm (for men)?
  • Are you over 35 and have not been physically active for a longer period of time?
  • During blood pressure monitoring, have you ever recorded high blood pressure?
  • Have you ever been diagnosed with high cholesterol?
  • Do you smoke or have you smoked extensively in the past?
  • Has anyone in your direct family ever suffered from high blood pressure, calcification of the conary blood vessels/heart attack, blood sugar disease, or stroke?
  • Do you have diabetes?
  • In the past few months, have you had the sensation of a ‘racing heart’, problems breathing, or chest pains, whether while at rest or during athletic activity?
  • Are you taking any medication for high blood pressure, heart or breathing conditions?
  • Do you ever feel dizzy or pass out, whether at rest or during physical activity?
  • Do you have any problems with your musculoskeletal system, which worsen during physical activity?

Remember, any of these symptoms could be indicative of a serious underlying medical problem.

The next thing that you can do is to be aware of any unusual symptoms that may develop during the race, e.g.: Chest pain, dizziness, severe nausea, unusual shortness of breath, change in your running style, confusion and disorientation. If this happens, stop running and seek medical attention. It has become apparent over many years that people feel it is more important to finish the race than to be concerned about their health. [Or is it a matter of pride!]

The third way is DO NOT TAKE ANY MEDICATION AT ALL during the race, especially anti-inflammatories [e.g. Voltaren, Cataflam, etc]. This also includes other pain killers and supplements for cramp etc. There are increasing numbers of runners developing renal failure after Comrades, and one of the major contributing factors to this trend is the taking of anti-inflammatories during the race. Renal Failure is a serious condition and can be fatal.

Another method is a “medical orientated” enforcement of the rules. As the name and the origins and ethos of the Comrades implies, it is a personal battle to the finish, and the support and encouragement of one’s fellow runners is an intimate part of the race. However this could, and has led to runners being helped and carried when they should have stopped running and sought medical help. Any runner who is unable to move forward under their own power, [i.e. is being carried by other runners] will be prevented from continuing and medical attention will be called for - and that runners race will be over!

My appeal to runners is that they demonstrate a great degree of self responsibility. Take care of your health. Make sure that you are adequately prepared to run Comrades. The following is a list of the basic principles every runner should adhere to.

DO drink enough
DO eat if necessary
DO listen to your body

DON’T run if you are not fit enough or not properly prepared. 
DON’T run if you have been sick or on antibiotics in the three weeks prior to the race.
DON’T take ANY medication during the race. 
DON’T be afraid to bale.
 

Remember the aim is to enjoy the race and finish in a reasonably healthy state. It is your body, and your responsibility to care for it! Be sensible, take note of what is happening to yourself and make responsible decisions. If you start running into trouble, pull out before it is too late.
 

Spirit of Comrades 2010

2nd screen

 

2010 GOLD FIELDS SPIRIT OF COMRADES AWARDS

 

The Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) hosted its annual ‘Gold Fields Spirit of Comrades Awards’ ceremony in Durban North on Friday, the 15th October 2010. As part of honouring do-gooders in our local communities and abroad, three deserving recipients were awarded a ‘Gold Fields Spirit of Comrades’ gold medallion, in recognition of their humaneness, athletic achievements or other positive nation-building attributes. The ‘Gold Fields Spirit of Comrades Awards’ is an annual event, whereby a maximum of three individuals are rewarded for embodying the true ‘Spirit of the Comrades Marathon’. This has been an ongoing feature of the CMA since 1995. Recipients of the prestigious award are based on nominations received from CMA members, Comrades Marathon runners and the general public and are subject to the discretion of the CMA Board.

The criteria for the awards are far-reaching with special emphasis placed on Comrades Marathon winners, legends, volunteers and otherwise ordinary heroes and heroines, who through individual acts of sacrifice, service, courage or perseverance, either in a single race, or over a period of time, demonstrate the noble qualities associated with ‘The Ultimate Human Race’. Among this year’s ‘Gold Fields Spirit of Comrades’ recipients was Anne Kouvarellis. This feisty, fun-loving 61-year old most certainly personifies the Comrades spirit. Anne hails from Gauteng’s Boksburg area, where she founded the Falcon Flyers Running Club, aimed specifically at training and enabling novices to complete the world’s greatest ultra-marathon. Now in its 12th year, the Falcon Flyers has an almost 40-strong membership. Having completed 24 Comrades Marathons herself and with 20 bronze and 4 Vic Clapham medals to her name, Anne is no push-over. Being the captain and coach of the team, she personally trains new runners and always runs together with the novices each year, at the expense of her own race time. In response to hearing of her award, Anne says: ‘This is indeed humbling. I am sure there are others who are more deserving of this accolade!’ Now, that is definitely a clear manifestation of what we call; an embodiment of the essence of Comrades! The second ‘golden’ recipient was 38 year-old Jaco Zevenster. A Mathematics teacher by profession, this kind man is also Deputy Principal at the David Brink Primary School in Rustenburg, and a member of the Rustenburg Marathon Club. But more than having what it takes to be a Comrades medalist, Jaco possesses the heart and soul of a true people’s person. Being a fit and healthy 20-year old nearly two decades ago, he ran his first Comrades Marathon in 1992, going on to earn 2 bronze and 1 Vic Clapham. Had he reached the finish line of this years race in time, Jaco would have scored another Comrades medal but that was not to be. In fact, he missed his Comrades 2010 medal by 1 minute and 2 seconds, after going to the rescue of fellow Comrades runner Joanni Opperman, who fell and broke her ankle at the start of the marathon. In deep gratitude to Jaco, Joanni says: ‘After breaking my ankle, I couldn’t get up and thousands of athletes were still running past me. Jaco stopped and stood by me and warned other runners who could have tripped over me or worse still, trampled me.’ She adds: ‘I believe Jaco could have completed his 5th Comrades in time, had he not stopped to help me!’ Jaco says: ‘I feel honoured and overwhelmed by this award. The 2010 race was another wonderful Comrades experience and even though I wasn’t able to win a medal, I was privileged to have the support and encouragement of my wife and son in the final leg of the marathon’.

For his humility, helpfulness and living out the genuine Comrades spirit, Jaco took home the gold! The final recipient was the revered, reliable and respected 53-year old Vlam Pieterse, a Hartebeestpoort resident who has been described as the absolute archetype of the ‘Spirit of Comrades’. He has been credited with having an exemplary pacing ability, having helped many to fulfill their dream of achieving a Comrades finish. Vlam has also been upheld as an integral player in South Africa’s and the Comrades’ rich historical tapestry, having first begun pace-setting at the ultra-marathon 12 years ago. Many Comrades enthusiasts will remember this living legend by the weather balloon he used as a beacon for runners to find him along the route. He also leads the 12-hour bus at Comrades, which is the oldest, biggest and by far, the most famous of all the buses. Being witness to the size and spirit of the 12-hour bus coming around the final bend of the Comrades finish has been described as nothing short of phenomenal and breath-taking. Vlam is usually quite a focal point at many qualifying races as well. With 13 bronze and 8 Vic Clapham medals, Vlam is a notable Double Green Number holder. With his constant chants and camaraderie, he is said to ‘make Comrades seem like a breeze!’ On hearing the good news, he said: ‘I am overwhelmed. Now I will have to keep running the Comrades Marathon until I’m 60!’ For epitomizing the very nature of Comrades, this terrific team builder walked away with the third coveted golden medallion.

Another exciting facet of the glamorous evening was the granting of the distinguished Life Membership as well as the Honours Awards to two people who truly embody the ethos of volunteerism. The Comrades Life Membership Award is presented to a member who has made a commendable and discernible contribution and been of outstanding service to the CMA and The Ultimate Human Race. For his laudable conduct and more, Jeremy Taylor was chosen as the deserving recipient. Now, Jeremy is no stranger to Comrades, having served the CMA for close on three decades. His history with Comrades goes back to Alex Road in 1982, where he helped with entries. He then went on to assist with packing medals and operating the time machines to back-up the Comrades computers. Since days gone by, Jeremy has assisted with route marking and helping in the Finish procedure, doing all sorts of tasks to ensure a success, including joining the A-team in setting up the Finish venue. Being the handy helper that he is, he has also played a Security role on race day and currently serves on the Finish Venue Sub-committee and continues to help with route-marking.

A lover of the great outdoors, Jeremy has paddled the Dusi a number of times but has yet to take on the Comrades challenge! The next praiseworthy title of Honours with Life Membership Award is presented in recognition of an immense contribution to the Comrades and particularly, for 10 years service on any one of the committees or 15 years CMA membership, with service in some capacity. The candidate who thoroughly earned this accolade was Dr Jeremy Boulter. Jeremy has shown selfless dedication and commitment to the CMA for 31 years, having first assisted the Medical Tent in 1979 and being involved with Comrades ever since. He has been described as a truly worthy recipient of Honours Award. Last but by no means least, the CMA is always mindful of the important role played by members of the media, who are especially passionate about the amazing race. One such individual, who has gone through leaps and bounds to help ingrain the Comrades in the South African psyche, is Beeld sports reporter Sarel van der Walt. Based on the number of articles reported by any journalist over the course of the year, and independently verified by Newsclip Media Monitoring, Sarel was by far, the biggest messenger of Comrades Marathon news. For his tireless input, he was presented with the inaugural award of “Top Journalist of the Year” and received a cash prize.

 

 

Spirit of Comrades 2008

2nd screen

 

2008 GOLD FIELDS SPIRIT OF COMRADES AWARDS

 

The Comrades Marathon Association has awarded the 2008 Spirit of Comrades Awards to Kenny Craig, Riel Hugo and Mark Bloomfield.

Craig and Hugo have been honoured, not only because their conduct and attitude to Comrades have embodied the spirit of the race for more than four decades, but because they are the only two men to have completed the race 40 times in succession.

Kenny Craig started his Comrades career back in 1959, and soon became a pivotal figure in the race. His lively spirit, engaging personality and boundless enthusiasm for Comrades drew many other runners to the event. He ran all through the sixties, seventies and eighties, finishing under sub-7:30 on ten occasions, with a personal best of 6:55 in 1975. Kenny’s love of Comrades continued unabated, and he ran the race every year until 1998, when he finally took his bow, having completed 40 consecutive races.

66-year-old Riel Hugo completed his 40th consecutive Comrades Marathon in 2008, becoming only the second runner after Kenny Craig to achieve the feat.

Hugo ran for Germiston Callies in his first Comrades back in 1969. He subsequently moved to the Western Cape and has run for the local Durbanville club for the past seven years. A prodigious racer, with ultramarathon running as a way of life, Hugo has also completed 36 Two Oceans Marathons and numerous standard marathons.

Apart from his 40-year streak, Hugo has done brilliantly time-wise. He has 21 silvers (including a best time of 6:20 set in 1982), and a further 12 runs under 9 hours. Only 7 of his races have been over the current Bill Rowan Medal time of 9 hours.

Mark Bloomfield is the second international recipient of the prestigious Spirit of Comrades award, which is given in recognition of his unstinting support for the race amongst the American road running community.

Mark ran three Comrades Marathons himself – in 2003, 2004 and 2005 – until a heart condition prevented him from further participation in the race. Since then, he has made it his personal mission to promote the race, its spirit, ethos and history, beyond the shores of South Africa.

In 2005 he was appointed the Comrades Marathon’s first International Ambassador in recognition not only of his passion for the event, but also his boundless enthusiasm for spreading the Comrades Marathon message, promoting Comrades awareness abroad and for his efforts to increase international participation in the race.

Mark still travels to South Africa each June, entirely at his own expense, to work as a volunteer to assist, support and encourage international runners participating in the event. Back home, Mark, during the course of his work as a Washington lobbyist, always seeks out opportunities to spread the Comrades message, encouraging Americans to take up the challenge. He has written numerous articles for American running magazines about Comrades, mans the Comrades stand at the New York Marathon Expo and acts as a one-on-one advisor to aspirant Comrades Marathon participants.

Mark does all of this at his own expense, is a true Comrades Ambassador and a worthy recipient of the Spirit of Comrades Award.

As always, given the amazing array of committed and loyal people that are involved in the race, it has been difficult to select the most deserving recipients of these Spirit of Comrades Awards. However, the CMA felt that the achievements of Kenny, Riel and Mark deserve special mention this year. We are delighted to honour them in this fashion”, said Bobby Maharajh, Chairman of Comrades Marathon board of Trustees.

Spirit of Comrades 2009

2nd screen

 

2009 CATHSSETA SPIRIT OF COMRADES AWARDS

 

The Comrades Marathon Association held its annual Gold Fields Spirit of Comrades Awards Ceremony in Ballito on Friday 23 October 2009, at which three deserving recipients were awarded. The Gold Fields Spirit of Comrades Awards are presented annually to a maximum of three individuals who are “esteemed to embody the Spirit of the Comrades Marathon”.

The Awards have been presented annually since 1995 at the discretion of the CMA Board, on the basis of nominations received from CMA members, Comrades Marathon runners and the general public. The criteria for the awards is deliberately wide enough to accommodate Comrades Marathon Winners, Legends, Volunteers and otherwise ordinary heroes who through individual acts of sacrifice, service, courage or perseverance, either in a single race, or over a period of time, demonstrate the noble qualities associated with the race.

The first Gold Fields Spirit of Comrades Award was presented to Josaya Moima.

Josaya hails from Elandsdoorn, Limpopo, where he had a humble upbringing. Josaya`s love and passion for running started as a young boy growing up in impoverished conditions and through his ambition and self motivation he would not accept things the way they were, and he was determined to be someone who people could look up to as a role model. Josaya works as a fitness trainer at a local gym, teaching and mentoring the youth on the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. Josaya was inspired by his running accomplishments, (he has completed 8 Comrades) and wanted to impart his running successes and passion to others. Josaya is a confident and enthusiastic person, and he took his love for running and founded “Ndlovu Road Runners Athletics Club,” in 2006. He knew that this would be extremely difficult, but he was so dedicated and committed to this, that he never gave up, as failure was not an option. His ambition with the Club was two fold, one being to have his own club with runners competing in the Comrades Marathon and secondly to identify young talented boys and girls from his community, and give them the opportunity to realize their abilities, as well as educate his community on the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. In order for Josaya and his club to be successful and offer a complete support structure for these athletes, he approached local business in order for them to support his vision and dreams. To this Forever Resorts, Spar, LIMA, Asics and the Royal Dutch Embassy, got involved and assist where they could. Ndlovu Road Runners has grown to over 200 members and in 2009 six runners from Ndlovu Road Runners completed the Comrades Marathon. Josaya remains committed to his Club and the runners. He is confident that the entry numbers for Comrades from Ndlovu Road Runners will increase each year and he is certain that he is making a difference within his community. For his unwavering support and commitment to his community, in true Comrades spirit, Josaya was awarded the Gold Fields Spirit of Comrades Award.

The second Gold Fields Spirit of Comrades Award was presented to Ann Margolin.

Ann Margoiln resides in Cape Town, with her husband Izzy and four children (three sons and one daughter). Ann owns, managers and runs a convenience store in Parden Island, Cape Town. Her husband Izzy describes Ann as, “a caring, loving person who is dedicated, committed, respectful and determined to succeed in everything she does in life. A person that has a never give up attitude, and lives life to the fullest”. Ann ran Comrades for the first time in 1983 and has since completed 27 consecutive races, which is the highest number of Comrades Marathons finishes for a female athlete. This is a remarkable feat as she is one of only 174 people to have completed 25 or more Comrades Marathons. Ann has proved that the average person can achieve anything they wish for, through a little effort and determination, anyone can complete the Comrades Marathon. In November 2008 Ann was diagnosed with cancer and underwent surgery in January 2009, which was unsuccessful. Ann and her family decided to delay the second surgery until eight days after the 2009 Comrades Marathon, as she did not want to miss the race. Ann was not able to train from January 2009 to Comrades race day. In true Comrades spirit through determination, physical and mental strength Ann ran purely on experience and completed the 2009 race. This is indicative of the person she is and that nothing is too hard to conquer. Eight days after Comrades 2009 Ann underwent the second surgery, which to date has been successful. Ann’s running accomplishments include double permanent numbers for the Foot of Africa Marathon, Knysna Marathon, Daisy Marathon, Winelands Marathon, Peninsula Marathon and the Karoo Ultra Marathon. She also holds the woman’s record for the most consecutive Old Mutual Two Oceans finishers (28). Ann has also won the Karoo Ultra Marathon four times. Presently Ann is categorized as a cancer survivor and has been given the go ahead to start running gradually and get back to her normal routine. Ann aspires to run the 2010 Comrades Marathon. For embodying the Spirit of Comrades Ann was awarded the Gold Fields Spirit of Comrades Award.

The third and last Gold Fields Spirit of Comrades Award was presented to Leon Van Wyk.

Leon grew up in Bergville, KwaZulu-Natal. As a young man he moved to Pietermaritzburg, where he gained employment in the insurance industry. A dedicated and determined man Leon would not accept failure or anything less than the absolute best. His personality of being an “overachiever” came to the fore where he also dedicated many of his free hours to the Fire Department where he assisted as a reservist. Whilst working and devoting precious time to the Fire Department, Leon also managed to fit in road running, which he is extremely passionate about. Leon is a family man, and currently resides in Gauteng, Bryanston. Andy McKissock, describes Leon as, ‘A humble, caring man who comes across as “hard” but has a heart of gold, this is evident through his success in business, as well as his nature of caring for stray animals.” Many a runner that has completed ten or more Comrades Marathons, have received a surprise gift from Leon in the post, which would be a clock. These clocks are hand made by Leon at his own expense. The clock is mounted on a wooden plaque, with the runners Comrades History and achievements as well as a small cartoon at the bottom, which is carefully thought out by Leon. Leon began doing this out of his own will for runners, and then later expanded this to include individuals that have been involved with race organization, (volunteers and CMA officials) who he felt has made a difference and contributed in a selfless manner to the success of the Comrades Marathon. These clocks have become so popular with runners that many individuals now nominate fellow runners who they feel should receive a clock from Leon. Leon is one of the original Collegians runners and administrators, and has completed 35 Comrades Marathons. A man that is truly committed to the Comrades Marathon, when the race ran into financial difficulties and the organizers could not afford to purchase and award medals to all finishers. Leon took it upon himself and manufactured all finishers medals at his own expense and donated them to the Comrades Marathon. His only condition was that he didn’t want this information to be publicized, as he did not assist the organizers for any personal gain whatsoever. Leon was a founder member of Debulamanzi Canoe Club (1979), Randburg Harriers (1982), and Chairman of Transvaal Masters (1992 – 1995) Leon has inspired countless Comrades runners and is a man that will continue to do excellent work behind the scenes. For his tireless commitment and dedication towards the Comrades Marathon, Leon was awarded the Gold Fields Spirit of Comrades Award.

 

 

Spirit of Comrades 2011

2nd screen

 

2011 CATHSSETA SPIRIT OF COMRADES AWARDS

 

The most glitzy and glamorous event on the Comrades Marathon’s social calendar kicked off at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Friday, 21 October 2011.  The ‘Cathsseta Spirit of Comrades Awards’ is an annual event, whereby a maximum of three individuals are rewarded for embodying the true ‘Spirit of the Comrades Marathon’ and being an inspiration to humanity.

The exciting occasion saw outstanding Comrades runners being honoured for their humaneness, athletic achievements or other positive nation-building attributes as well as being presented with a distinguished one-ounce, 24 carat gold medallion, courtesy of Cathsseta. The awards banquet has been an ongoing feature of the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) since 1995.

Recipients of the prestigious award are based on nominations received from CMA members, Comrades Marathon runners and the general public and are subject to the discretion of the CMA Board. The criteria for the awards are far-reaching with special emphasis placed on Comrades Marathon winners, legends, volunteers and otherwise ordinary heroes and heroines, who through individual acts of sacrifice, service, courage or perseverance, either in a single race, or over a period of time, demonstrate the noble qualities associated with ‘The Ultimate Human Race’.

Among this year’s ‘Cathsseta Spirit of Comrades’ recipients was Dr Wayne Korras, who was instrumental in growing the Bedfordview Country Club’s (BCC) Athletics Team and served as club captain for several years. Not only that, up until 2006 Wayne had amassed 15 Comrades medals under his belt, which included 6 silvers and a Personal Best of 6h50. Unfortunately, in March of that year, Wayne was involved in a tragic accident whilst training. This resulted in a traumatic brain injury, medically termed as diffuse axonal injury (DAI), which left him in a coma for 28 days.

Medical professionals will tell you that 90% of patients with severe DAI never regain consciousness and those who do awake, often remain significantly impaired. Being a general practitioner at the time of the accident, Wayne had to learn how to walk, talk, swallow, chew and perform every basic function from scratch and underwent physiotherapy and occupational therapy on a daily basis for months. His extensive injuries also meant that his medical practitioner’s license was revoked.

Wayne’s recovery has been nothing short of phenomenal. He returned to Comrades in 2009 and completed the race in a time of 7h51. That however was not good enough. He trained harder for the following year and regained his silver medal status in 2010 with a time of 7h26. That magical year saw his medical license being reinstated and Wayne returned to his profession as a doctor.

Wayne has always been known for his enthusiasm for running and his absolute passion for the Comrades Marathon, so it was only fitting that he reclaimed his top position and was the BCC’s top Comrades runner in 2011 with a finishing time of 7h05. The good doctor has been described as a dedicated, passionate and determined person, who is a true example of the Spirit of Comrades.

Next in line for the golden handshake was popular Kwaito star Kabelo Mabalane. This charming young man had a long battle against drugs and substance abuse before deciding to clean up his act and become the inspiration that he is today. 

Also known by his stage name Kabelo or Bouga Luv, he is also a songwriter and actor. He was a member of the well-known kwaito trio TKZee. Kabelo co-owns Faith Records, an independent South African music company. On a solo level, he has launched at least six albums and more than 8 albums together with TKZee.

Since his ‘dark days’, Kabelo has gone on to win the 2004 Kora Award for Best Southern Africa Male Artist. Most notably, he has taken on the Comrades Marathon challenge on six occasions consecutively since 2006, finishing in just under nine hours in this years race. Kabelo has also featured on the August 2008 cover of Runner's World magazine for making his mark in long distance running.

In addition to his Comrades medals and many other accomplishments, he was also the Ambassador for the National Youth Run, serving as a motivator to the youth to stay away from drugs and alcohol abuse and to take up the adrenaline-pumping sport of running. Kabelo has inspired many individuals to look on the brighter side of life and work hard towards making their dreams come true.  

The CMA salutes the achievements of this inspirational celebrity and in keeping with the indomitable Comrades spirit, awarded him with the ‘Cathsseta Spirit of Comrades’ gold medallion.

The famous deaf-blind author and political activist Helen Keller once said: ‘There is no better way to thank God for your sight than by giving a helping hand to someone in the dark.’ These wise words can not be more apt to the noble deeds of the CMA’s final recipient of the gold medallion, the kind-hearted Michael Wilkinson.

A Green Number Holder with 11 Comrades Marathon medals to his name, 36 year old Michael is a teacher at a private school in Polokwane in the beautiful land of the baobab tree. Being a member of the Polokwane Athletic Club, he ran his first Comrades in 1999 and for the past six years, has taken on a much respected and praiseworthy role of training partner and guide to blind runner Stefan Steyn. Stefan is also a member of the Polokwane Athletic Club.

Together, this unusual but admirable pair of Comrades runners has conquered the grueling 89km road-running race six times, including a Bill Rowan medal. They also do most of their road races together. Fellow runners of their local running club have credited Michael’s hugely unselfish ways and his dedication in always lending a helping hand to Stefan. For his humility, helpfulness and living out the genuine Comrades spirit, Michael took home the gold!

Another exciting facet of the dazzling evening was the ‘Recognition of Valued Support’ to three individuals who wholeheartedly embody the ethos of giving off their best. This noteworthy Comrades acknowledgement is presented to those people who have made a commendable and discernible contribution to the CMA and ‘The Ultimate Human Race’ in their own special way.

First in line for the honour was CMA Board and Race Organising Committee (ROC) member, Jeff Minnaar for his amazing 40 years of outstanding service to the CMA and the iconic race. Jeff has gone a long way in raising the standards of service over the many decades that he has been with the CMA. All things considered, four decades of voluntary service is no walk in the park!

Over the years, Jeff has taken on various roles, including being Chairman of the Comrades Executive Committee, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, serving as Convener of the Refreshment Tables, then starting out as member of the Finish Venue Portfolio and thereafter taking over as Convener.

His service has been nothing short of commendable and praiseworthy. Add to all of the above, the fact that this dedicated individual has also conquered ‘The Ultimate Human Race’ back in 1979, when he ran for Collegians Harriers Running Club.

The CMA has also paid due recognition to two pivotal individuals at the Comrades Marathon’s host broadcast partners, SABC. They have gone to great lengths over the years to deliver a quality broadcast of ‘The Ultimate Human Race’ to millions across the Rainbow Nation.

Jack Downie shares an incredible 41 years in helping broadcast South Africa’s biggest road running race over the years. At the start of his involvement with Comrades, the SABC was only equipped to do broadcasts via its radio stations so the bulk of the work was done in its radio studios, where Jack did maintenance and special broadcasts.

Due to no special equipment being available in those days, the team had to use walkie talkies, on which many hours were spent tuning them to get the best signal possible. Three years during the 1970’s saw Jack heading off to the City of Gold to be trained in television and this was the only time that he was not involved in the iconic marathon.

Since the Comrades Marathon’s first television broadcast, Jack was deeply involved in the network arrangement for communications and TV signals as well as all other local requirements. He also served as one of the coordinators or unit supervisors on Race Day. From 1995 until Jack’s retirement in 2010, he was the overall technical coordinator for the Comrades Marathon broadcast.

The SABC’s Pim Lubbe was the CMA’s third noteworthy recipient of the Certificate of ‘Valued Support Recognition’. He has over a period of 34 years, been of immense service to the Comrades Marathon via the SABC, which he joined in 1977 as a Main Control operator.

His initial Comrades experience began on 31 May of that year in the form of broadcasting for Radio Port Natal. At that stage, he concedes that he did not have any major input into the broadcast other than learning the systems.

The following year saw him actively involved in Main Control to ensure that the correct signals got to the correct places. The year 1980 was witness to him moving across to the radio workshop as a technician where he had hands-on experience with the radio equipment, which was still only for radio broadcasts of the Comrades.

Television broadcasts of ‘The Ultimate Human Race’ only started in 1983, and this afforded Pim the opportunity to get involved in the TV Outside Broadcast (OB) side of the SABC as a technician. This was also the start of Pim and Jack working together on TV OB’s and taking the Comrades Marathon to greater heights.  

Finally, in a bid to reward those members of the media who go through leaps and bounds in making Comrades Marathon news accessible and available to the general public, the CMA presents the ‘Top Journalist of the Year’ with a cash prize. This year saw Modern Athlete reporter Michelle Pieters receiving the honour.

Based on the number of articles reported by any journalist over the course of the year, and independently verified by Newsclip Media Monitoring, Michelle came out tops as the biggest messenger of Comrades Marathon news. The ‘Print Media Analysis Report’ produced by Newsclip confirmed that Michelle had written a total of 51 articles over the course of the year.

 

Spirit of Comrades 2007

2nd screen

 

2007 COMRADES HARMONY SPIRIT OF COMRADES AWARDS

 

The Comrades Marathon Association held its annual awards ceremony in Durban on Friday 5 October, at which it presented the Harmony Spirit of Comrades Awards to three deserving recipients.

Harmony Spirit of Comrades Awards are presented annually to a maximum of three individuals who are “esteemed to embody the Spirit of the Comrades Marathon”. Previously known as Platinum Medal Awards, they have been presented annually since 1995 at the discretion of the CMA Board of Trustees on the basis of nominations received from CMA members, Comrades Marathon runners and the general public.

The criteria for the awards is deliberately wide enough to accommodate Comrades Marathon winners, legends, volunteers and otherwise ordinary heroes who through individual acts of sacrifice, service, courage or perseverance, either in a single race, or over a period of time, demonstrate the noble qualities associated with the race.

The first Spirit of Comrades Award for 2007 was presented to Val Wilkinson, one of the invaluable people behind the scenes who enable others to participate.

Val has been associated with road running since the formation of Rocky Road Runners in 1976 and her contribution has been in the form of the unselfish support of runners, initially at club level, then provincial and eventually at a national level. As a club administrator and supporter, Val has “seconded” literally hundreds of runners in their Comrades training over the years, especially along the legendary Rockies “long runs” which were particularly popular during the 80’s and 90’s.

Val has also been associated with the Rockies Comrades panel meetings since their inception in 1979, indirectly benefiting thousands of aspiring Comrades runners. Although not in the limelight as a presenter, Val works behind the scenes to co-ordinate the arrangements that enable invaluable and informative presentations by Don Oliver, Denis Tabakin and other expert guests. Together with husband Richard, Val initiated the Rockies 5km Time Trial in 1984, which is conveniently situated at Zoo Lake. Val happily greets them at the finish thereof to this day.

For the past 20 years Val has been actively involved as a national road running referee, and in an often a thankless position has earned the respect of runners and administrators alike, as well as a reputation for fairness, knowledge of the rules and the impartial application thereof. It is in this capacity that she has made a particular contribution to Comrades, having refereed for at least the past 12 races, thus ensuring a fair competition.

The second Spirit of Comrades Award for 2007 was presented to Paul Selby. A veteran of 23 Comrades Marathons, Paul is renowned in South African ultra distance running circles for his establishment 17 years ago of the 1000km Challenge, a programme and competition which encourages athletes to complete a minimum of 1000km in races during a 12 month period culminating with the Comrades Marathon each year. (Paul has personally completed 43,000km in races since the establishment of the 1000km Challenge.)

An unofficial but true Comrades ambassador, Paul has extensively promoted the Comrades Marathon both nationally and internationally. Over the years he has personally inspired, motivated and encouraged hundreds of local athletes to take up the challenge, while his passionate word-of-mouth marketing at the numerous overseas races he attends annually has promoted international awareness and participation in Comrades.

Paul is also well known for his charitable challenges, the most memorable being his back-to-back Comrades in 1999, in which he started in Durban at 7pm on the eve of the race, running through the night to arrive in Pietermaritzburg in time for the start of the race, which he then completed, in the course of which raising over R200,000 for Cancer Association. He has also completed several back-to-back London Marathons to raise funds for charity, as well as personally sponsoring prizes and medals for several township and underprivileged races.

His forte however is a penchant for picking up “no-hopers” along the route and coaxing them through to the finish of a race. To this extent the only Comrades Marathon he has failed to finish in 24 years was in 1996 in which he failed to meet the Drummond cut-off while endeavouring to assist a fellow club member.

That a man should sacrifice his own race in order to assist a fellow Comrades runner is a tribute to his character and sense of giving, which exemplifies the spirit of camaraderie and selflessness within Paul Selby.

The final Spirit of Comrades Award was presented to Richard Whitehead, a double amputee who completed the 2007 Comrades Marathon.

Richard whose legs end just above the knee completed the 89,3km race on steel prosthetic legs in a time just under 10hours, thus earning a bronze medal and beating over 60% of the field.

Having only taken up running 3 years ago, Richard had already completed two New York Marathons, the London Marathon and Two Oceans, as well as having represented Great Britain at cricket, swimming and the paralympic equivalent of ice hockey (called sledge hockey), but the Comrades Marathon was his biggest challenge to date.

Richard subscribes to the motto “life without limitations” and bears a tattoo on his right arm which reads – “Cometh the Hour, Cometh the Man.

As the first double amputee to even attempt the Comrades Marathon Richard’s finish ranks as one of the most incredible feats in the history of the race, an act of true courage and inspiration. He became the first foreign recipient of a Spirit of Comrades Award.

Comrades marathon media release 2007/19 Statement Released on Friday, 5 October 2007.