14 JUNE 2020

90KM DOWN RUN

History 1986-1989

RACE RESULTS

1986 Down (61st Race)
 Date Saturday, 31 May
 Weather Clear and cool at start. Mild to warm later.

 Temperature – Min/ Max:

 
 PMB 5/30
 DBN 15/25
 Start Venue/Time Pietermaritzburg City Hall / 6:00
 Finish Venue Kingsmead Stadium
 Time Limit 11 Hours
 Official Distance 88.771 km

 Winner’s Average Speed:

 
 Men 16.434 km/hr (3m 39s /km)
 Women 12.834 km/hr (4m 41s /km)
 Entries 11451
 Starters 10552
 Finishers – Total 9653
 Men 9221
 Women 432
 Medals – Gold 11
 1202 1202
 Bronze 8440
 % Finishers / Starters 91.5


THE MENS RACE

In 1985 Bruce Fordyce joined the ranks of the true Comrades Greats… Arthur Newton, Hardy Ballington, Wally Hayward and Jackie Mekler. They had all achieved five victories. Fordyce, however, was already a step ahead of that great quartet. His five victories were successive. Could he add another and venture into an area where no former champion had gone?

Could Fordyce capture number six and set himself apart from the mega champions of the past?

Everyone who considered that they knew anything at all about ultra distance running simply assumed it would be so. Another Fordyce victory, to them, seemed a mere formality. He was in a class of his own, despite the myriad of top performers in the race. Was a Fordyce victory assured with men like Hoseah Tjale, Bob de la Motte and Danny Biggs waiting in the wings for any sign of frailty from the champion? Many, however, considered de la Motte to be the real threat.

From the start, de la Motte and Deon Holtzhausen stayed in close contact with the early pacemakers, but as these fell away, as the race progressed, the fancied pair found themselves leading through Hillcrest, with de la Motte about 200 metres ahead of Holtzhausen. Two minutes later, the trio of Biggs, Tjale and Fordyce stormed past.

Over the gentle downhill section to Kloof, de la Motte picked up the pace. He knew, full well, the danger of Fordyce’s come-from-behind kick and he needed to have a substantial margin in hand when that inevitability arrived. When Fordyce realised what was happening up front, he depressed the accelerator. The others went with him and soon Holtzhausen was reeled in and, on the long drop down Field’s Hill, Biggs was the first casualty.

Going through Pinetown, de la Motte must have felt a touch uneasy with Fordyce and Tjale running side by side a short distance behind. Fordyce looked effortless while Tjale’s laboured style gave no indication of how he was feeling.

On the pull up Cowie’s Hill, de la Motte faltered slightly and, by the crest of the hill, his lead was less than 40 metres. Once over the hill, however, de la Motte upped the pace again, but to no avail. The trailing pair was within striking range.

As Westville hove in sight, Fordyce, once again, demonstrated his formidable ability to strike at the most opportune moment. Tjale could not respond and Fordyce moved ahead onto the shoulder of the leader. For 6 kilometres, television viewers around the country were mesmerised as the two frontrunners played out a gargantuan struggle, at record-breaking speed, as they ran over the rolling hills into Durban.

It was a question of whose resolve would break first. On the climb up to 45th Cutting, it was de la Motte who could not match the pace injection of Fordyce. He was in total control as he crested the final climb of the day; the pull up to Tollgate. Rapturous crowds greeted him as he made his triumphant way down Berea Road to Kingsmead Stadium where he achieved what no other Comrades champion had done before; an unbelievable 6th successive victory and… a new Best Time for the Down Run as a final crowning glory.

On the run-in, de la Motte managed to hold off Tjale, and finished a mere 125 seconds after Fordyce. The performance of de la Motte was such that if it were not for the magnificence of Fordyce, his 5h 26m 12s would have given him the new Best time.

RESULT

1st Bruce Fordyce * South Africa

5h 24m 07s New Best Time Down

2nd Bob de la Motte South Africa 5h 26m 12s
3rd Hoseah Tjale South Africa 5h 29m 02s
4th Boysie van Staden South Africa 5h 37m 00s
5th Deon Holtzhausen South Africa 5h 40m 13s
6th Alan Robb South Africa 5h 41m 09s
7th Ian Emery South Africa 5h 42m 35s
8th Danny Biggs South Africa 5h 45m 57s
9th Steve Hollier South Africa 5h 46m 48s
10th Leon Swanepoel South Africa 5h 51m 11s

* First Sub-5:25 Down Run

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

1st Des Rowntree (40) South Africa 6h 00m 36s
2nd Trevor Metcalfe (42) South Africa 6h 02m 42s
3rd Koos Sutherland (45) South Africa 6h 03m 19s


MASTERS (AGE 50 - 59)

1st Japie Strydom (52) South Africa

6h 48m 54s

2nd Ernie Verrall (51) South Africa 6h 59m 29s
3rd Eliyethe Jali (51) South Africa 7h 07m 01s

GRANDMASTERS (AGE 60 +)

1st Uys Fick (62) South Africa

8h 18m 32s

2nd Allan Ferguson (64) South Africa 8h 21m 30s
3rd Hendrik Barnard (63) South Africa 8h 42m 59s
 

THE WOMENS RACE

The big disappointment was that former double-winner, Lindsay Weight, decided to give Comrades as miss this year. Her decision surely robbed the spectators of another thrilling duel between herself and Helen Lucre, the country’s two outstanding women ultra runners. It also installed Lucre as the sure favourite to add to her victory in 1985. There were, however, other reliable performers in the line-up.

Serial top three contender, Ralie Smit, always made things uncomfortable for the recognised big names, and Lettie Greeff often threatened early on in the race but could not produce the finishing power needed to make her meaningful danger. Both were, however, not expected to trouble Lucre when the racing end of the event materialised.

From the start, once the early juggling for positions had resolved itself, Lucre, Greeff and Smit had positioned themselves at the front of the field. Never more than a hundred metres separated them during the early stages. Lucre led through halfway at Drummond, but Smit and Greeff were never beyond striking distance.

On the climb out of the Valley of a Thousand Hills, Greeff and Smit changed positions frequently but, with Lucre picking up the pace gradually, their chance of pulling off a surprise victory evaporated.

The pace was not exceptional, probably due to the absence of Weight, but there was no stopping Lucre as she slowly drew further away from her chasers. Greeff, ultimately, could not maintain her challenge for minor honours and Smit was left to fill 2nd place.

Maintaining a steady, but unspectacular pace, Lucre entered Kingsmead Stadium, for a second win, more than 12 minutes ahead of Smit, with a tiring Greeff a further 8 minutes behind.    

RESULT

1st Helen Lucre South Africa

6h 55m 01s

2nd Ralie Smit South Africa 7h 07m 40s
3rd Lettie Greeff South Africa 7h 14m 49s
4th Lorraine van der Poel South Africa 7h 20m 51s
5th Hazel Hairs South Africa 7h 22m 46s
6th Hester Kotze South Africa 7h 23m 52s
7th Angie Longman South Africa 7h 26m 24s
8th Lynne Spence South Africa 7h 27m 50s
9th

Suzanne de Villiers *

South Africa 7h 29m 29s
9th Tilda Tearle * South Africa 7h 29m 29s

* Finished together

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

1st Ralie Smit (41) South Africa

7h 07m 40s New Best Time Down

2nd Suzanne De Villiers (41) South Africa 7h 29m 29s
3rd Paddy Williams (45) South Africa 7h 39m 30s

MASTERS (AGE 50 - 59)

1st Thelma Fouche (52) South Africa

8h 49m 05s New Best Time Down

2nd Anna Villet (59) South Africa 8h 49m 57s
3rd Twinkle Toes Goodwin (50) South Africa 8h 56m 38s

GRANDMASTERS (AGE 60 +)

1st Nell du Plessis (62) South Africa

10h 39m 36

1987 Up (62nd Race)
1988 Up (63rd Race)
1989 Down (64th 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

© 2019 Comrades. All Rights Reserved. Powered by Hostitworld