14 JUNE 2020

90KM DOWN RUN

History 1960-1965

RACE RESULTS

1960 Up (35th Race)
 Date Tuesday, 31 May
 Weather Fine and mild.

 Temperature – Min/ Max:

 
 PMB 7/20
 DBN 11/21
 Start Venue/Time Durban City Hall / 6:00
 Finish Venue Collegians’ Club Oval
 Time Limit 11 Hours
 Approx. Distance 54 M
 Entries 106
 Starters 104
 Finishers – Total 80
 Men 80
 Medals – Gold 6
 Silver 74
 % Finishers / Starters 76.9


THE MENS RACE

Seven years earlier, Wally Hayward ran down to Durban in less than 6 hours.

Was it possible that someone could emulate that feat running up to Pietermaritzburg?

The Best Time of 6h 12m 55s, for the Up Run, was set by the great Hayward, himself, when he was victorious in 1954. Was anyone capable of removing 13 minutes from that mark?

When the record field of 104 runners set off along the dark streets of Durban, the next 6 hours would provide the answer.

Unsure of his fitness, Gerald Walsh adopted his standard tactic. He went to the front and led the procession over Tollgate with Jackie Mekler, Lucas Nel and Nick Raubenheimer on his heels.

Brilliant sunshine welcomed the runners in Westville, by which time Mekler had overtaken Walsh. Mekler took Cowie’s Hill without any trouble and led the race through Pinetown in 1h 25m 17s. (At this stage, he was 3m 25s ahead of Hayward’s time in 1954.) Walsh lay 300 yards adrift of the leader, in 1h 27m 6s, with Nel 3rd through in 1h 29m 10s.

Walsh never let Mekler get away up Field’s Hill; hanging on grimly. Behind them, George Claassen passed the fading Nel to move into 3rd position. Never allowing the pace to drop, Mekler reached Hillcrest in 2h 20m 45s (4m 55s faster than Hayward in 1954). He surely had his eye on reducing the Best Time and, possibly, going under 6 hours. Following him through Hillcrest was Walsh (2h 25m 35s), Claassen (2h 26m 39s) and Allen and Bill Rufus together (2h 28m 2s).  

When the flying Mekler passed through Drummond in 3h 4m 1s, he was he was 7m 40s faster than when Hayward established the fastest Up Run time in 1954. Ten minutes passed before Walsh arrived in 3h 13m 24s. Then came Claassen (3h 14m 15s), Allen and Rufus (3h 17m 1s) and Raubenheimer (3h 17m 3s).

There were changes in the position as the lead runners approached Cato Ridge. Rufus, suffering repeated attacks of cramp, fell back and out of contention, while Claassen went ahead of Walsh. Mekler was away on his apparent record-breaking run, clocking in at Camperdown in 4h 25m 30s, but his advantage over Hayward’s record run had dropped to 6m 34s. Walsh had regained 2nd place and went through Camperdown in 4h 42m 59s wth Claassen next in 4h 44m 21s.

While Mekler continually increased the distance between himself and the rest of the field, Classen was tiring rapidly, enabling Walsh to open a considerable gap over him.

Mekler took Polly Shortt’s without faltering and, as he set off down the hill into Pietermaritzburg, it was evident that what was once thought impossible – a sub 6-hour Up Run – was about to become a reality. He entered the Collegians’ Club grounds to a thunderous ovation.

His time… an unbelievable… 5h 56m 32s.

RESULT

1st Jackie Mekler * South Africa

5h 56m 32s

New Best Time Up

2nd Gerald Walsh South Africa 6h 31m 07s
3rd George Claassen South Africa 6h 37m 07s
4th

Trevor Allen **

South Africa 6h 42m 30s
4th Nick Raubenheimer ** South Africa 6h 42m 30s
6th J A Wallis South Africa 6h 50m 12s
7th Charlie Chase South Africa 7h 01m 42s
8th Andy Greening South Africa 7h 07m 44s
9th L Praansma South Africa 7h 09m 55s
10th Mike Otto South Africa 7h 13m 05s

* First Sub-6:00 Up Run

** Finished together

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

1st Gerald Walsh (43) South Africa 6h 31m 07s
2nd George Claassen (43) South Africa 6h 37m 07s
3rd Trig Wang (42) South Africa 8m 10m 47s

MASTERS (AGE 50 - 59)

1st Liege Boulle (51) South Africa

8h 05m 35s

New Best Time Up

1961 Down (36th Race)
1962 Up (37th Race)
1963 Down (38th Race)
1964 Up (39th Race)
1965 Down (40th 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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