14 JUNE 2020

90KM DOWN RUN

History 1956-1959

RACE RESULTS

1956 Up (31st Race)
 Date Thursday, 31 May
 Weather Mild at start with stifling heat around midday.
 Start Venue/Time Durban City Hall / 6:00
 Finish Venue Royal Agricultural Show Ground
 Time Limit 11 Hours
 Approx. Distance 55 M
 Entries 98
 Starters 88
 Finishers – Total 55
 Men 55
 Medals – Gold 6
 Silver 49
 % Finishers / Starters 62.5


THE MENS RACE

The most famous person present at the start of the race was not even running. He was the great, 5-time winner, Arthur Newton. He was invited to South Africa as Guest-of-Honour for the race. He was joined on the road by Vic Clapham, the founder of the race in 1921, who remained the Race Organiser, until his retirement, in 1938.

First to emerge from the bunch as the runners exited Durban was Mercer Davies, followed by defending champion, Gerald Walsh, Carl Pace, Trevor Allen and Len Wootton. There was no change in the order at the Westville Post Office, except Davies had built up a lead of around 250 yards.

Davies piled on the pace over Cowie’s Hill, striding down into Pinetown (1h 22m 37s) more than 600 yards ahead of Walsh and Pace (1h 25m 20s), Allen (1h 26m 15s), Mannie McMaster (1h 26m 17s), Wootton (1h 26m 20s), Bill Savage (1h 30m 14s) and Nick Raubenheimer (1h 32m 32s). Former winner, Allen Boyce went through in a group some way behind.  

There was no change in the order on the long pull up Field’s Hill but on the fairly level section from Kloof to Hillcrest, the gap between the leaders widened. Davies was timed through the village in 2h 16m 45s. Walsh passed by in 2h 21m 15s with Allen and Pace (2h 23m 45s) next.

Davies maintained his pace and, although not striding as freely as he was earlier, reached Drummond in 3h 2m 20s. Walsh (3h 7m 52s) was next through. Then came Allen (3h 15m 56s), McMaster (3h 16m 7s), Pace (3h 29m 3s) and Boyce (3h 31m 17s).

Davies increased his lead up the punishing Inchanga but, with the big hill behind the leaders, the pace slackened noticeably as they went across the relatively easy section to Cato Ridge. Davies reached the village in 4h 32m 10s, but on the run over to Camperdown, he showed signs of tiring and surrendered some of his lead to Walsh who was running effortlessly at that stage.

Davies’ fatigue became more evident after Cato Ridge and Walsh caught, and passed, him on the long downhill after Umlaas Road and, as he approached the Tumble Inn Tea Room, he had already established a lead of 2 minutes. It was evident that Walsh would win, but interest now focused on the battle for second place. After his early fast pace, Davies, at that point, was a spent force, reduced to walking for long spells while Boyce, as he usually did, was making great strides in the closing stages. The race distance was increased by about a mile because the finish was switched to Royal Agricultural Show Ground, the venue of Arthur Newton’s first victory and, as Walsh strode into the famous ground, he was welcomed across the line by the great man. Walsh ran the final few miles so strongly that nearly 38 minutes elapsed before the second runner appeared. Davies fought valiantly to hang onto second position but the fast-finishing Boyce passed him in front of the Pietermaritzburg City Hall.

RESULT

1st Gerald Walsh South Africa

6h 33m 35s

2nd Allen Boyce South Africa 7h 12m 08s
3rd Mercer Davies South Africa 7h 14m 10s
4th Trevor Allen South Africa 7h 38m 00s
5th Nick Raubenheimer South Africa 7h 44m 06s
6th Bill Savage South Africa 7h 51m 50s
7th Allan Gillespie South Africa 7h 57m 53s
8th Gerald Davis South Africa 8h 11m 00s
9th S. Bezuidenhout South Africa 8h 13m 56s
10th Liege Boulle South Africa 8h 18m 25s

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

1st Liege Boulle (47) South Africa 8h 18m 25s
2nd Rue Rachailov (40) South Africa 8h 43m 21s
3rd Herman Delvin (42) South Africa 9h 07m 04s
1957 Down (32nd Race)
1958 Up (33rd Race)
1959 Down (34th Race)

1921 BILL ROWAN

1923 ARTHUR NEWTON

1930 WALLY HAYWARD

1931 PHIL MASTERSTON-SMITH

1933 HARDY BALLINGTON

1933 MAX TRIM-BOURNEN

1952 TREVOR ALLEN

19353 WALLY HAYWARD

19358 JACKIE MECKLER

1975 ELIZABETH CAVANAUGH

1975 VINCENT RAKABAELE

1979 ALAN ROBB

1983 BRUCE FORDYCE

1984 LINDSAY WEIGHT

1989 FRITH VAN DER MERWE

1989 SAMUEL TSHABALALA

2013 ELENA NURGALIVEA

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