BREAKING NEWS

Spirit of Comrades

2018 AWARDS

FIRST RECIPIENT: DANIE DE WET

SECOND RECIPIENT: BOB DE LA MOTTE

THIRD RECIPIENT: BRUCE HARGREAVES

CMA JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR: MATSHELANE MAMABOLO

CMA CHARITY FUNDRAISERS OF THE YEAR: DEAN WIGHT & GRANT CUMMINGS

2018 WINNERS JACKET: BONGMUSA MTHEMBU AND ANN ASHWORTH

2017 Awards

FIRST RECIPIENT: HIDEO TAKANO

SECOND RECIPIENT: STEVEN VIENINGS

THIRD RECIPIENTS: VISHAL KANJEE

2015 AWARDS

FIRST RECIPIENT: KABELO NTSIME

SECOND RECIPIENT: HEIDI JOUBERT

THIRD RECIPIENT: RICHARD MALOSE MONISI

2014 AWARDS

2014 CATHSSETA SPIRIT OF COMRADES AWARD

2016 AWARDS

FIRST RECIPIENT: AMIT SHETH

SECOND RECIPIENT: RUPIN MEHTA

THIRD RECIPIENT: DR SHOYAB WADEE

2013 AWARDS

2012 CATHSSETA SPIRIT OF COMRADES AWARDS

2011 AWARDS

2011 CATHSSETA SPIRIT OF COMRADES AWARDS

2010 AWARDS

2010 GOLD FIELDS SPIRIT OF COMRADES AWARDS

2009 AWARDS

FIRST RECIPIENT: JOSAYA MOIMA

SECOND RECIPIENT: ANN MARGOLIN

THIRD RECIPIENT: LEON VAN WYK

2008 AWARDS

FIRST RECIPIENT: VAL WILKINSON

SECOND RECIPIENT: PAUL SELBY

THIRD RECIPIENT: RICHARD WHITEHEAD

2007 AWARDS

FIRST RECIPIENT: VAL WILKINSON

SECOND RECIPIENT: PAUL SELBY

THIRD RECIPIENT: RICHARD WHITEHEAD

RECIPIENTS AWARDS

HERE IS A LIST OF OUR DESERVED WINNERS.

Annual Awards

List of recipients

“Everybody can be great because, everybody can serve.” – Martin Luther King Jr

Three outstanding individuals who showcased the true spirit of The Ultimate Human Race over the course of their running careers were selected by the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) for this year’s prestigious Old Mutual Spirit of Comrades Award.

The annual awards gala celebrates the goodwill and noble qualities associated with the spirit of the Comrades Marathon. The awards gala was hosted at the Tsogo Sun Elangeni Hotel in Durban on Friday, 12 October 2018, together with major sponsor, Old Mutual.

The Old Mutual Spirit of Comrades awards gala honours three remarkable individuals every year for their very human attributes of selflessness, dedication, perseverance and Ubuntu; combined with their love for The Ultimate Human Race.

The prestigious awards gala has been hosted by the CMA since 1991. The three Old Mutual Spirit of Comrades recipients are awarded a one-ounce, 24 carat gold medallion. More than that, the award is a very notable recognition of someone who embodies the Comrades spirit and inspires others to do good and be a shining example of goodness for humanity.

More than seventy individual nominations were received this year, the majority of which were submitted by Comrades Marathon runners and the general public. The CMA welcomes nominations from the public at large, as well as its members and other stakeholders.

The CMA’s Heritage & Traditions Committee adjudicated the nominations and made recommendations which were then approved by the CMA Board. The awards criteria place special emphasis on Comrades Marathon winners, legends, volunteers and otherwise ordinary heroes and heroines; who through individual acts of service, sacrifice, courage or perseverance, either in a single race or over a period of time, exhibit the noble qualities associated with The Ultimate Human Race.

FIRST RECIPIENT: DANIE DE WET

When Daniel de Wet regained consciousness in Netcare Milpark Hospital after a 1.8-metre metal industrial crowbar penetrated his body at a mine in Carletonville, he never imagined that he would ever again be preparing to take part in his first Comrades Marathon since the accident.

Danie had run the Comrades Marathon six times prior to his accident. As fate would have it, one afternoon in January 2015, Danie, an engineering supervisor, was working on washing out a dam 3.5km underground at a mine in Carletonville, using an extended crowbar to stir up the mud, when he suddenly slipped. Mr De Wet looked down and, to his utter disbelief, saw that the metal bar had penetrated his body entering his groin area and coming out of his back, just below his shoulder blade.

He recalls how the mine’s rescue team had to carry him perched awkwardly in a sitting position on a stretcher, as the metal bar protruding from his body was almost level with Danie’s feet, making it impossible for him lie down.

“I was talking the whole time, trying to keep the other guys calm,” he remembers. Having been brought up to surface level at a pace that would ensure that he did not suffer any adverse decompression effects, commonly known as ‘the bends’, he was airlifted to Netcare Milpark Hospital’s world-class, level-one trauma centre by an experienced team of Netcare 911 paramedics.

When he arrived two surgical teams, led by renowned trauma surgeons, were ready to operate: one team concentrating on his injuries in the abdomen and one on those in the chest area.

Once the extended crowbar was pulled completely free of Danie’s body, the doctors saw that the impalement had caused significant damage, destroying one kidney and damaging his small bowel and numerous blood vessels. Although Danie had lost a kidney and was in a coma for 14 days, he made rapid progress and was discharged from hospital just 19 days later.

Danie says, “I am fortunate to have an amazing support base, particularly my wife, and there are so many people encouraging me. I have many friends and guys who run with me, and they have helped me through the difficult times.”

On the Comrades Marathon, Danie says, “I was quite young when I ran my first Comrades race in 2001 and I tried to run every year as I was so motivated with what the Comrades Marathon had instilled in me.”

“I was so blessed to be at the start of Comrades 2018, knowing every day that my training was leading me to not just a great experience but a life changing event that teaches you to train your body and also your mind. This was my 7th Comrades and I dedicated it to Milpark Hospital ICU Staff, every paramedic, my wife, my training group and my late running partner, my Dad, who stood by me every step of the way. Thanks to Comrades for changing lives and motivating people like me to stand up again!”

SECOND RECIPIENT: BOB DE LA MOTTE

The second deserving recipient was Bob de la Motte. Bob was runner up in the Comrades Marathon three times, with a personal best of 5h26m12s. Bob’s book, ‘Runaway Comrade’ highlights the difficulties that runners of colour faced, due to the inequality in opportunities for professional training, support and financing that occurred as a result of apartheid. In order to try and assist these iconic runners from the 80s, Bob has made donations including the proceeds of his book sales to trusts which will benefit them in their retirement.

Bob wrote Runaway Comrade against the backdrop of South Africa in the politically charged ‘80s in honour of the Comrades Marathon and some of his less fortunate fellow South African runners.

“Many of these trail-blazing black distance runners from the apartheid era, have simply disappeared; their triumphs ignored and possibly forgotten by those who should be keeping their memory alive and honouring them,” says Bob.

Bob de la Motte is a world-class ultramarathon runner, cyclist and Ironman contender. His career as a chartered accountant and investment banker has taken him to London, the USA and ultimately to Australia where he has lived since 1987.

After retiring from his commercial career in 2009, De la Motte has continued to pursue his sporting interests all over the world including Ironman, cycling, mountain biking and marathoning, all at a recreational tempo. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia.

De la Motte Bob ran second to Fordyce in the Comrades Marathon in 1984, 86 and 87. He won South Africa’s prestigious 50km JSE (City2City) Marathon in 1985 and the 56km Korkie Marathon in 1986. In Australia he won the Perth Marathon, the national Australian cross country title (M35) and set Australian records for 30 miles and 40 miles in the Mundaring to York ultramarathon.

In mountain biking he has completed the 8-day Cape Epic and Australia’s 9-day Crocodile Trophy. He has won many age group titles including the 100km MTB marathon event in Western Australia and the 249km Gran Fondo Fausto Coppi cycling race in Cuneo, Italy. In Ironman, De la Motte qualified for Kona with his debut 10:30 as a 50 year old. In 2014, de la Motte ran Boston Marathon as a 60 year-old in 3:06 finishing 9th in his age category.

THIRD RECIPIENT: BRUCE HARGREAVES

Bruce Hargreaves, affectionately known as ‘Digger’, has served as the Comrades Marathon International Brand Ambassador for Australia since 2008. He has since joined the ranks of International Brand Ambassador at Large since 2014.

Digger has been actively involved in spreading the word of The Ultimate Human Race and helping attract more international athletes to come to South Africa and experience the Comrades for themselves. His tireless commitment has seen him hosting stands at marathon expos around Australia and assisting many a runner with their training schedules, as well as advising, assisting and motivating other Comrades International Ambassadors to spread the Comrades message throughout the world.

Digger is always happy to assist his Australian ‘team’ with any query they may have and, even though he was not well enough to run in 2018, he committed to accompanying them to this year’s Comrades and made certain that they had the nicest experience possible.

Digger has completed the Comrades Marathon 8 times, with a personal best of 9:39:39 achieved in 2009.

Receiving the award on behalf of Digger was Ethembeni School Principal, Braam Mouton, who said, “I am greatly honoured to receive this award on behalf of Bruce ‘Digger’ Hargreaves. I met Digger 10 years ago and since then have experienced him as a person whose commitment and dedication is rarely equaled. He not only became a personal philanthropist for Ethembeni School but also motivated other foreign runners to do so. Thanks to him, every Australian, and most international Comrades runners know Ethembeni and contribute in kindness and in the true Comrades Spirit to the school. Bruce is an exceptional legend in the running fraternity and deserves to receive this Spirit of Comrades Award.”

CMA JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR: MATSHELANE MAMABOLO

This year’s Comrades Journalist of the Year was the Sports Editor of Independent Media – Gauteng. He has covered The Ultimate Human Race most extensively this year, drumming up support and consistently showcasing the enduring spirit of the Comrades Marathon. He is Matshelane Mamabolo.

Matshelane does not just report on the race; he runs it too. He tells us that the Comrades Marathon is more than just a road running event. In his words: “The Comrades Marathon is the ultimate challenge, not just in running but in life. That 90+km run puts you through a test that helps you discover yourself as a person, your willpower, your patience, your humanity and your empathy.”

He adds, “I grew up watching the Comrades and always rooted for Hosea Tjale and never thought I would run it being the asthmatic I am. But to have done two has just been amazing and I am looking forward to many more.”

CMA CHARITY FUNDRAISERS OF THE YEAR: DEAN WIGHT & GRANT CUMMINGS

The CMA is exceedingly proud and passionate about the Comrades Amabeadibeadi Charity Drive which benefits 6 official charities. To this end, the CMA presents its Comrades Marathon Top Charity Fundraiser Award to the person who has raised the most funds for the Comrades Charities.

This year, two amazing individuals were honoured with the prestigious accolade due to the amazing amounts fundraised by them.

DEAN WIGHT: Dean Wight is the brainchild behind Beloved Long Runs, a running group designed to get you to the start, and finish, of the Comrades Marathon. These training sessions are formalized with refreshment stations and are done over areas of the Comrades route.

Dean has been an ambassador for Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust for a year now and works very closely with the team. We thank Dean for his impressive fundraising of 327-thousand rand this year.

GRANT CUMMINGS: The 2018 leg of the race was a special one for Grant Cummings as he ran his 10th Comrades and achieved his Green Number. To celebrate this milestone, he decided to dedicate this race to the memory of his grandmother who had passed away earlier this year at age 96.

Grant has always been a generous runner, raising well over 1 million for various charities though our Race4Charity platform over the past ten years. His tenth saw him raise an impressive amount of 323-thousand rand also for CMA’s new Official Charity, situated right on the Comrades route – Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust

2018 WINNERS JACKET: BONGMUSA MTHEMBU AND ANN ASHWORTH

The glitzy evening also saw the awarding of the Comrades Marathon Winners Jackets to the 2018 Men’s Winner Bongmusa Mthembu and acknowledging Women’s Winner, Ann Ashworth who was unable to attend owing to a prior commitment.

Bongmusa, who runs for Arthur Ford Athletic Club, holds three Comrades Marathon victories, having won the 2014, 2017 and 2018 races. He claimed First Position this year with his winning time of 5:26:34, the 9th fastest Down Run time in history.

Ann took the women’s glory in a winning time of 6:10:04 which was the 10th fastest Down Run time in history. Ann’s Winners Jacket had been presented to her on the previous day in Johannesburg at the Media Launch of the 2019 Comrades Marathon.

CMA GREEN NAMES:

The CMA Green Name is conferred upon members who have rendered outstanding meritorious service to the race and the CMA paid tribute to three individuals for exceptionally long service to the Comrades Marathon.

BRIAN SWART: Brian has dedicated 40 years of his life to assisting in various capacities behind the scenes at Comrades. In recent years he has been a valued convener of the Comrades International Bus Tours and member of the CMA Heritage & Traditions Committee and has worked tirelessly for many months on improving the Comrades history data and statistical record keeping of the race. Brian earned 15 Comrades medals during his active running career between 1978 and 1995.

DAVE DIXON: Dave Dixon has rendered exceptional service and leadership to the Comrades Marathon Association Board serving as Chairman of the Board during three separate terms of office for a total of 9 years. He has also assisted his wife Paula in the Comrades Catering portfolio feeding hundreds of Comrades volunteers on race day for decades. Also over a period of 40 years Dave has served in numerous capacities and currently serves on the CMA’s Marketing and Communications Committee, as well as the HR and Remuneration Committee.

JEREMY BOULTER: Doctor Boulter started volunteering at the Comrades Marathon in 1979 while working as an intern at Edendale Hospital. He has been stationed the Comrades Medical Tent from the start and took over the management of the portfolio from John Godlonton in 1995. Dr Boulter has been the Chief Medic for 24 years. He also served on the CMA Board for about five years.

“Every single runner who takes part in the Comrades Marathon is extraordinary, overcoming their own unique set of challenges on race day. The Old Mutual Spirit of Comrades Awards recognises those individuals whose bravery and perseverance stand out, even in a field of champions,” says Old Mutual’s Chief Marketing Officer, Vuyo Lee. “Huge congratulations to all the 2018 Spirit of Comrades winners. We salute you for doing great things every day and for inspiring so many others with the power of your spirit.”

CMA Chairperson Cheryl Winn says, “We congratulate all of our recipients at tonight’s awards gala. We thank Old Mutual and all other sponsors and partners, for their contribution to the success of this event; and for supporting this platform where we get to recognize the accomplishments of our Comrades heroes and heroines.”

Winn adds, “Without the support of our generous sponsors, many of our seemingly ordinary Comrades legends who do such extraordinary work, will go unnoticed. Each of the awardees have showcased the true spirit of the Comrades Marathon. May we be inspired and motivated to do great things as we celebrate our winners tonight.”

FIRST RECIPIENT: HIDEO TAKANO

With six nominations coming in for the first Spirit of Comrades Awards recipient, and with fellow runners having only adulatory things to say about him, coupled with his commitment and sacrifice at this year’s race, selecting Hideo Takano for this year’s accolade was a fitting one.

Hideo, who hails from the United Kingdom, has completed The Ultimate Human Race 17 times. With a personal best of 9:54:39 in the 2012 Down Run, he would have easily achieved his 18th Comrades finish at this year’s race.

But thanks to his great heart and personal commitment to help a fellow runner, Collin Gill aged 70, on his third attempt at achieving his Green Number, he sacrificed his own medal in order to stick with his struggling compatriot, until they were both forced to retire from the race at the Cato Ridge cut-off, with 30km to go.

Hideo has been described as “a true comrade; a great ambassador for the race and an inspiration to many Brits who come to South Africa each year, just for the Comrades Marathon.”

Through his love for The Ultimate Human Race, he has continued to drum up support for the race; and assist and encourage runners to train and prepare for Comrades. He has been endorsed by many runners as helping to grow the UK tally of runners in the Comrades Marathon. Of nearly 70 countries participating in the Comrades Marathon, the UK has retained its prime position in terms of international entrants over the years.

Being a proud member of the Comrades Marathon Green Number Club, Hideo knows the race incredibly well and has assisted with the annual Comrades International Bus Tour for eight years, volunteering as a tour leader and translator for the Japanese runners and their guests. His goodwill is palpable, with an infectious smile and tons of enthusiasm.

SECOND & THIRD RECIPIENTS: STEVEN VIENINGS & VISHAL KANJEE

The second and third recipients of the coveted Old Mutual Spirit of Comrades Award have both contributed to displaying the very noble, selfless and compassionate attributes of The Ultimate Human Race through a combined act of goodwill, kindness and sacrifice. Steven Vienings, a member of Magnolia Road Runners and Vishal Kanjee from JoziX Training were deemed the kindness champions of the 2017 Old Mutual Spirit of Comrades Awards gala after sacrificing their 2017 Comrades medals to assist another athlete.

Steven has completed the Comrades Marathon three times whilst Vishal was attempting his very first, with great hopes of completing his novice Comrades journey.

This dynamic duo, who came together along the 87km Comrades Up Run route per chance, have been credited with potentially saving an anonymous female runner’s life at this years’ Comrades Marathon.

Onlookers have testified to Steven and Vishal’s selflessness, comradeship and deep resolve to helping a female runner in need, despite them knowing full well that they would miss the impending cut-off by stopping to help the just-collapsed athlete.

Whilst other athletes continued running seemingly unperturbed, Steven and Vishal, both with limited first aid experience, began helping the runner by turning her onto her side. They also administered compression as she was losing consciousness. It was clear that she was struggling to breathe as well as being visibly dehydrated, hyperventilating and on the cusp of going into anaphylactic shock.

Steven and Vishal’s quick thinking and ready assistance helped to stabilize her and keep her conscious until paramedics arrived about 15 minutes later. They unfortunately never got to meet her or find out her name but their good deed was certainly noticed whilst so many other passing runners focused on making the looming cut-off.

Steven says, “Comrades is my reason to wake up and run and stay healthy. I love the journey to the race. My favourite points on the route are Arthur’s Seat, Halfway, Ethembeni School and best of all the spectators, they are absolutely amazing!”

Vishal says the race means a lot to him as it is such a definitive South African event and so much a part of growing up as a proud South African. He says, “I used to watch it on television and think that someday I will be the one to cross that finish line. That was until I decided to make it a reality and actually enter and run it. Just getting to the Comrades Start line was epic. I look forward to going the whole mile. Comrades is the ultimate!”

2015 SPIRIT OF COMRADES AWARD

It was a night of honouring the truly deserving amongst us, as the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) hosted its annual awards gala in Pietermaritzburg on Friday, 23 October 2015.The Old Mutual Spirit of Comrades awards gala celebrates three awesome individuals annually for their very human attributes of selflessness, dedication, perseverance and Ubuntu; combined with their love for The Ultimate Human Race.

The prestigious awards gala has been a defining feature of the CMA since 1991. The three Spirit of Comrades recipients are presented with a one-ounce, 24 carat gold medallion, courtesy of major co-sponsor, Old Mutual, as well as due recognition of their remarkable qualities.

The awardees are nominated by CMA members, Comrades Marathon runners and the general public; and are subject to the discretion of the CMA Board. The awards criteria place special emphasis on Comrades Marathon winners, legends, volunteers and otherwise ordinary heroes and heroines; who through individual acts of service, sacrifice, courage or perseverance, either in a single race or over a period of time, exhibit the noble qualities associated with The Ultimate Human Race.

FIRST RECIPIENT: KABELO NTSIME

The first awardee was 38 year old Kabelo Ntsime. Kabelo is living proof that no matter how tough a start in life one has, with discipline and perseverance anything can be overcome. He survived five brutal years living on the streets of Johannesburg as a street child until he got help from a missionary school and a kind family who helped him to complete his schooling. He says, “I believe that all children deserve that opportunity in life to go to school and be a great citizen in the community.”

Kabelo is now married with three children and lives in Midrand. Kabelo believes that it is now his time to give back to the community and the future generations by doing what he can to empower the little ones. For four years, he taught Latin and ballroom dancing to physically challenged children. He says this was a deeply fulfilling activity that meant as much to him as it did to the kids. Josiah Thugwana was the inspiration behind Kabelo taking up running. He has since done 4 consecutive Comrades Marathons, with his best time achieved at this year’s race. He also went a step further by signing up for Race for Charity and raised 13-thousand rand for the Starfish Greathearts Foundation. His vision is for underprivileged people to dream big and achieve their goals. Kabelo tells us that his dream is to start a running club for children. He sees that our young South Africans have immense athletic talent. In his words, we need to forget about ourselves and focus on our younger generation.

SECOND RECIPIENT: HEIDI JOUBERT

The second recipient of the coveted Spirit of Comrades Award was Heidi Joubert. Heidi was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at 6 weeks old with a life expectancy of 10 years. She is now 32 years old, mostly thanks to running. As a child, she spent months in hospital but with running, she only needs intravenous antibiotic treatment four times a year. She takes 17 medications daily.

The love for Comrades has been a very real part of Heidi’s family. Her mom, Susan came second in the 1978 Comrades Women’s Race. Both her mom and dad have run the race and are her biggest supporters. Heidi received her Comrades back-to-back medal this year. She says Comrades has been one of her life’s most amazing experiences, especially when her family was there to support her during her first race and to celebrate her finish with her. Heidi loves horses and works in the equestrian field in Kyalami, exercising horses and enjoying the time spent with these gentle creatures. The trend for lung function in cystic fibrosis patients is to decrease by 3% annually. However, fortunately for Heidi, her lung function has improved with running and she managed to maintain it at 70% for five years.Heidi says she has her good and bad days. When all is good, she runs every day and loves it. On bad days, her lungs hurt and it feels like she is breathing through a straw. She is grateful to her husband, Kenneth for his never-ending care and love. Her doctor, who has treated her for the past twelve years never stops motivating her and keeping her mentally strong.

THIRD RECIPIENT: RICHARD MALOSE MONISI

Last but not least of the recipients was Richard Malose Monisi. This amazing individual has shown each one of us, that you need not let a disability come between you and your dreams. Richard was born blind with cataracts. At the age of ten, he underwent an eye operation which resulted in 5% sight in his left eye. Richard went on to school at the Philadelphia School for the Blind and then got a job as a switchboard operator at Success College.Richard first came into contact with the running fraternity through a Rocky Road Runners Club member named Gerald Fox who was training other blind runners at the time and offered to train him as well. Through his active participation and enjoyment of running, Richard has gone on to meet new people and travel which has boosted his morale.

Richard displayed true tenacity at the 2014 Ultimate Human Race when his pilot, Florence, bailed 16km out of Durban. He then hauled out his white stick and ran the remainder of the route on his own, completing the Comrades in under 10 hours.This proud Green Number Club member has gone on to complete his 11th Comrades Marathon this year. Although he was once again abandoned by his pilot at Drummond, he completed the race on his own in a time of 8hours and 50 minutes, earning him a well-deserved Bill Rowan medal.Richard has been described as an extremely positive person who takes running without a pilot in his stride. He lives a simple life on his disability grant. The Comrades Marathon forms a huge part of Richard’s life. Together with his concern for others, comes the pride and joy of being part of the running community and a much loved and popular figure in the greater running fraternity.

Richard’s passion is to teach young disabled people that it is possible to exercise and join in mainstream events.

JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR: WESLEY BOTTON

This year’s Comrades Journalist of the Year was a reporter at The Citizen Newspaper, has completed the Comrades Marathon four times; and has written the most articles on The Ultimate Human Race this year. He is Wesley Botton. This popular sports reporter tells us that Comrades Marathon is more than a race. In his words: “It’s an overwhelming adventure, and no matter how tough it may be to complete the gruelling event, something about it keeps drawing me back.”

TOP CHARITY DONOR OF THE YEAR: CAREL NOLTE

The CMA is exceedingly proud and passionate about the Comrades Charity Drive which benefits 6 officially recognised charities. To this end, the CMA presents its Comrades Marathon Top Donor Award to the person who has raised the most funds for the Comrades Charities. The winner of the prized accolade was Carel Nolte who raised R 153,000 for the Comrades Charities this year. Carel tells us that he loves everything about the Comrades. “My first Comrades was perfect. The camaraderie of runners; the people along the road who sing and cheer and give you support and sustenance; helping others after you have been helped; getting through the pain – because you can; and arriving at the stadium upon completing the race – it is all beyond exhilarating.”

2015 WINNERS BLAZER: GIFT KELEHE AND CAROLINE WOSTMANN

The glitzy evening also saw the awarding of the Comrades Marathon Winners Blazers to the proudly South African 2015 winners Gift Kelehe and Caroline Wostmann. It was a proud moment for Gift, who has been dubbed ‘the gift of the nation’. Unfortunately, Caroline was out of the country and not able to attend the event.

CMA CERTIFICATE OF APPRECIATION: FORMSCAFF, BIDDULPHS AND ADCOCK-INGRAM

The CMA is always mindful of the effort given off by individuals and organizations who have contributed in a significant way to the Comrades Marathon Association over the years. Due recognition and appreciation is accorded to these do-gooders for their outstanding service or for going beyond the call of duty in adding value to the Comrades Marathon via the CMA’s Certificate of Appreciation. These were presented to Formscaff and Biddulphs for 30 years of service to the CMA while Adcock-Ingram received due recognition for their 20 years of service to the CMA.

CMA LIFE MEMBERSHIP AWARD: ALEN HATTINGH AND SIFISO NZUZA

The CMA Life Membership Award is conferred upon members who have rendered outstanding meritorious service to the race. Alen Hattingh has served the CMA in various capacities for 28 years, starting out by volunteering at the Expo and Finish. Alen had served on the CMA Board for 4 years (2005-2006 and 2014-2015); and also headed up the Refreshment Station portfolio from 2007-2010.

Sifiso Nzuza has been in service of the race for over 10 years, being an active member of the CMA Board of Trustees and later the CMA Board since 2007. He has also been passionately involved in the Underprivileged Runners’ Project for many years.

2014 CATHSSETA SPIRIT OF COMRADES AWARD

The Comrades Marathon Association rewarded some amazing individuals for showcasing the spirit of Comrades at its annual awards gala in Durban recently.

The CATHSSETA Spirit of Comrades awards gala honours select individuals for their very human attributes of selflessness, dedication, perseverance and Ubuntu; combined with their love for The Ultimate Human Race.

The prestigious awards gala has been a defining feature of the CMA since 1996. The Spirit of Comrades recipients were presented with a one-ounce, 24 carat gold medallion, courtesy of CATHSSETA (Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality & Sports Sector Education & Training Authority) as well as a very deserving accolade.

The first Spirit of Comrades awardee was Fiona Scholtz. Fiona is a proud Comrades Green Number runner who has run The Ultimate Human Race 18 times. Three years ago, Fiona was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease which necessitated numerous operations, culminating in major surgery in November last year to remove all affected parts of her intestines. Undeterred, Fiona started her training within weeks of the surgery and completed her 18th Comrades run in 10:42:44. Fiona is lauded for her cheerfulness and encouragement of other runners.

Debbie Schoeman was the second recipient. She has been described as the most selfless person; having sacrificed her 2014 Comrades medal to help another runner who had collapsed 300m before the finish line due to a heart attack. Debbie helped to resuscitate him. By the time he had regained consciousness, Debbie realized that she had missed the cut-off time by 9 minutes. She didn’t mind though thanks to her belief that saving someone’s life is more important than finishing a race.

The final recipients was a husband-wife pair, Joy and Bernard Murphy, who have been attending and supporting the Comrades Marathon for 46 years. For nearly half a century, this amazing couple has only missed the Comrades Marathon once, when Joy had to be hospitalized in 2012. They have not run the race but passionately support it with all they’ve got. Coming from Springs, they are known to support every runner from the Springs Striders and Midrand Striders running clubs as well as just about every other Comrades runner. They can usually be seen at the 26km-to-go marker board where they stock a host of refreshments for the runners. Joy and Bernard will turn 77 and 81 years old respectively this year and their love for Comrades has been described as totally phenomenal.

Another facet of the glitzy evening is the CMA’s Journalist of the Year Award. This is a sincere acknowledgement and appreciation of the important and enduring work of the media and rewards the journalist who has shown a year –long interest in the Comrades Marathon; and in that spirit has generated the most articles on the 2014 Ultimate Human Race. Jacobus Venter was honoured as the top reporter for this year’s race and received a cash reward and due recognition for the great coverage.

The CMA is also mindful of the efforts given off by individuals and organizations who have contributed in a significant way to the Comrades Marathon Association over the years. Due recognition and appreciation was accorded to these do-gooders for their outstanding service or for going beyond the call of duty in adding value to the Comrades Marathon via the CMA’s Certificate of Appreciation. Outgoing major sponsor CATHSSETA was a recipient of this token of appreciation as well as Craig Eldridge for his many years of IT support and backup.

Over the years, the CMA has also recognized key role-players in the Comrades Marathon family. Six deeply deserving individuals were presented in this regard with a CMA Life Membership Award. A member who has rendered outstanding meritorious service to the race shall be eligible for Life Membership of the CMA. This is an acknowledgement and recognition of services rendered to the CMA over a period of time.

CMA Life Membership awards were presented to:

Celi Makhoba who has served on the Executive Committee and the CMA Board for 6 years. He has also served as Convener of the Technical Portfolio for 15 years.

Arnie Glasspoole who has driven the Comrades sweep vehicle for 12 years. He has also assisted with Finish Procedure for 12 years as well as assisting with the Green Number Club for 12 years. He has run the Comrades Marathon 17 times.

Eileen Hall who has been a member of the CMA’s CSI initiative, the Greater Edendale Race for 7 years. She is also the Green Number Club Convener and has been running this portfolio for 5 years. She has also served on the CMA’s Board for two years and has run 10 Comrades Marathons.

Isaac Ngwenya who has served on the Executive Committee for 4 years. He was the CMA Vice Chairman for 2 years and Convener for the Community Marshals for 10 years. He has been the Convener for the Risk & Safety portfolio for 6 years and has run 15 Comrades.

Paula Dixon has served as the convener for the CMA’s Catering portfolio for 15 years all by herself. Her total involvement in this portfolio spans at least 25 years. She has also assisted with other duties and responsibilities. She has supported her husband Dave Dixon who chaired the CMA Board for about six years.

Dudley St John Ward who has served as Finish Procedure Convener for 15 years.

The CMA Honours with Life Membership Award was presented to CMA Chairman, Macdonald Chitja for particularly outstanding meritorious service to the race and for contributing outstanding leadership to CMA. He has served on the Race Organising Committee since 1999, having started volunteering with the Pietermaritzburg Registration portfolio.

He was then co-opted onto the CMA Executive Committee in 2000. Since then, he has been a member of the CMA Board and also held the Vice-Chairman position on several occasions. Over the years, Chitja has held various other portfolios, including being the convener & Chairman of the CMA Transformation Committee. He was also responsible for drafting the current CMA Transformation Policy. Further to that, he also chaired the CMA’s CSI committee for several years as well as well as serving on the Legal & Constitution Committee.

Having a passion for the CMA’s corporate social investment initiatives, Chitja has been the Co-convener of the Edendale Race since its inception in 2007 and will oversee the eight running of this community initiative. Add to that, the fact that he is a proud member of the Green Number Club and has finished the Comrades Marathon 16 times.

016 OLD MUTUAL SPIRIT OF COMRADES AWARD

The annual awards gala of the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) kicked off in spectacular fashion in Durban tonight (Saturday, 15 October 2016) as the CMA honoured some amazing individuals together with major sponsor, Old Mutual.

The Old Mutual Spirit of Comrades awards gala celebrates three remarkable individuals every year for their very human attributes of selflessness, dedication, perseverance and ubuntu; combined with their love for The Ultimate Human Race.

The awardees are nominated by CMA members, Comrades Marathon runners and the general public; and are subject to the discretion of the CMA Board. The awards criteria place special emphasis on Comrades Marathon winners, legends, volunteers and otherwise ordinary heroes and heroines; who through individual acts of service, sacrifice, courage or perseverance, either in a single race or over a period of time, exhibit the noble qualities associated with The Ultimate Human Race.

Old Mutual Head of Brand Karen Thomas warmly congratulated all the winners: “Just doing this great race makes you a hero in our eyes, but the Old Mutual Spirit of Comrades Awards winners have gone even further, each of them enriching the event through their selfless conduct”.

“These are people whose selflessness, compassion and humanity have given rise to extraordinary acts,” she added. “Old Mutual is very proud to be associated with an event that salutes these people and honours the very best of human nature.”

The prestigious awards gala has been a defining feature of the CMA since 1991. The three Spirit of Comrades recipients are presented with a one-ounce, 24 carat gold medallion, courtesy of major sponsor, Old Mutual, as well as due recognition of their remarkable qualities.

FIRST RECIPIENT: AMIT SHETH

The first awardee was Amit Sheth. Being passionate about the Comrades Marathon, he has successfully completed The Ultimate Human Race five times. He is the first Indian national to have run the Comrades Marathon in 2009, and in that same year, was appointed the Comrades International Brand Ambassador for the Indian subcontinent, a role which he has fulfilled with enthusiasm and pride.

Over the years, Amit has inspired, mentored and encouraged hundreds of people to spread the word of the world’s greatest footrace. His book, Dare to Run, which was published in 2010 became a bestseller in India and has helped to motivate people from all walks of life to get into running, and more specifically to come and take up the Comrades challenge. To this end, nearly 100 runners from India had entered the 2016 Comrades Marathon, up from 1 runner in 2009.

Despite his everyday job as the CEO of a successful engineering company in India, Amit makes the time to blog about his running experiences and share his running hints, tips and general motivation to runners all over the Indian subcontinent and across the world. He is a motivational speaker of note and also an amazingly great-heart when it comes to charitable fundraising.

To date, Amit has donated over two and a half million rand for the cancer treatment of underprivileged children at the Tata Memorial Hospital – the largest cancer hospital in Asia. With his quiet, unassuming nature and huge heart, Amit most certainly epitomizes the true spirit of the Comrades Marathon like few others can.

SECOND RECIPIENT: RUPIN MEHTA

The second recipient of the coveted Old Mutual Spirit of Comrades Award was Rupin Mehta. Sacrificing his own Comrades medal to ensure that other runners achieved theirs was more important to this athlete than securing a 5th consecutive Comrades finish.

With a staggering number of Spirit of Comrades Award nominations coming in for Rupin, this amazing soul went on to demonstrate that a good deed seldom goes unnoticed. Television viewers and social media enthusiasts latched onto the images of an exhausted Rupin getting down on his knees to assist a fatigued runner.

Rupin first came to the assistance of Johan Kotze, who was struggling to continue with his race at 45th Cutting in Sherwood. With Rupin’s help and a bit of massage and motivation, Johan managed to complete his race and earn his medal within the 12-hour cut-off time.

At the finish, Rupin came across another athlete, Samantha Douglas who was battling with major cramps. He tried in vain to help her but just did not have the strength to get Samantha up and to the finish line in time. Spectators watched by helplessly, wearing their hearts on their sleeves.

And so it was to be that both Rupin and Samantha ended up failing to finish the 2016 Comrades Marathon by a meagre 21 seconds. Rupin’s actions on Comrades race day truly exemplified the indomitable Spirit of the Comrades Marathon and he was hence chosen as the second worthy Old Mutual Spirit of Comrades recipient.

THIRD RECIPIENT: DR SHOYAB WADEE

Comrades race day proved to be a beautiful day to save a life for our third Old Mutual Spirit of Comrades awardee, Dr Shoyab Wadee. This amazing individual has shown each one of us that it is indeed more precious to save a life than to achieve a medal.

Dr Wadee was well on his way to enjoying his third Comrades Marathon finish when he came across a struggling runner, Willem Stolp at Botha’s Hill. Willem who was clearly unwell, had collapsed and was lying on his side, vomiting profusely. It was obvious that his condition was fast deteriorating when the good doctor rushed to his aid.

Willem’s state of health was deemed to be very serious with his blood pressure and heart rate dropping rapidly. All this time, the kind-hearted doctor was fully aware that his own finishing time was being compromised in a major way. Thankfully this did not deter him from lending a helping hand and potentially saving the life of the Tzaneen Athletics Club member.

Dr Wadee rendered emergency medical intervention and remained at the side of the semi-conscious Willem for well over an hour. By the time the paramedics had arrived on the scene, Willem was stabilized, thanks to the doctor’s efforts.

However, Dr Wadee soon realized that with the amount of time that had elapsed whilst he was assisting Willem, he would be unable to complete his third Comrades Marathon in the remaining time and decided to call it a day.

Tzaneen Athletic Club Chairperson, Paul Zaayman said, “Dr Wadee displayed a sense of selflessness that is admirable. To think that he sacrificed his own medal to help a total stranger – that is truly what the Comrades is all about!”

Such are the true heroes of the Comrades Marathon.

2013 CATHSSETA SPIRIT OF COMRADES AWARD

It was a night of honouring the truly deserving amongst us as the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) hosted its annual awards gala in Durban on Friday, 18 October 2013.

The CATHSSETA Spirit of Comrades awards gala celebrates three awesome individuals annually for their very human attributes of selflessness, dedication, perseverance and Ubuntu; combined with their love for The Ultimate Human Race.

The prestigious awards gala has been a defining feature of the CMA since 1996. The three Spirit of Comrades recipients are presented with a one-ounce, 24 carat gold medallion, courtesy of CATHSSETA (Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality & Sports Sector Education & Training Authority) as well an acknowledgement of note.

The awardees are nominated by CMA members, Comrades Marathon runners and the general public; and are subject to the discretion of the CMA Board. The awards criteria place special emphasis on Comrades Marathon winners, legends, volunteers and otherwise ordinary heroes and heroines, who through individual acts of service, sacrifice, courage or perseverance, either in a single race or over a period of time, exhibit the noble qualities associated with The Ultimate Human Race.

The first Spirit of Comrades awardee was Brad Brown. Brad has worked tirelessly over the past four years to raise money for the Amabeadibeadi charity campaign. Not only did he overcome major physical obstacles to complete the Comrades Marathon several times, but Brad very selflessly gave of his time and effort to set up the Race 4 Charity website and inspired the special ‘CC – Charity seeding batch’ to motivate runners to raise funds for charity.

The Race 4 Charity initiative has since raised R2.4-million rand for the Amabeadibeadi charities and Brad continues to inspire Comrades Marathon runners to race for charity and support the greater good. For his sterling efforts, Brad was awarded with the coveted Spirit of Comrades medallion.

The second notable awardee was Australian runner, Joseph Ta. When fellow Aussie runner Joanne Tremonti had collapsed from hypoglycemia on Race Day, Joseph selflessly put his race on hold to carry her to the Comrades Marathon Medical Tent. Not only that, Joseph patiently waited 45 minutes for the ambulance to arrive. He remained there until Joanne had regained consciousness and was safely in the ambulance. After an hour and a half of waiting and caring, Joseph then went on to complete the race alone. He has been described as a kind and caring person and his noble deed went on to earn him the second prestigious accolade.

The third Spirit of Comrades recipient was Vincent O’Neill, a British runner who ran the grueling 89km distance to drum up support for the endangered rhino. Vincent’s passion for saving the beleaguered rhino drove him to finish the epic race in a 12kg rhino costume, bearing in mind that the 2013 Comrades Marathon was also one of the hottest and most difficult races in nearly 40 years. Vinny was amazed at the camaraderie and support along the route, with many runners guiding him to the refreshment stations and even helping to feed him. Many runners were left deeply impressed by Vincent’s honourable deed in creating awareness of the incessant rhino poaching in our country; and creating a real spectacle of himself along the Comrades Marathon route whilst advocating a truly worthy cause.

Another facet of the glitzy evening is the CMA’s Journalist of the Year Award. This is a sincere acknowledgement and appreciation of the important and enduring work of the media and rewards the journalist who has shown a year –long interest in the Comrades Marathon; and in that spirit has generated the most media coverage for The Ultimate Human Race. Sarel Van Der Walt once again claimed the prestigious title by being the most prolific messenger of the Comrades Marathon good news and received a cash reward and due recognition of his sterling efforts.

The presentation of the CMA Greenest Refreshment Station Award to SASOL was next. This is a significant acknowledgement of the efforts made by the hosts of the refreshment stations on Comrades Marathon Race Day to keep their areas clean and green. Some of the defining features of the cleanest and greenest refreshment station is the drive to recycle waste generated on the day and to ensure that their stations are spick-and-span and that the route is cleaned up after the runners have passed.

Over the years, the CMA has also recognized key role-players in the Comrades Marathon family. Four deeply deserving individuals were presented in this regard with a CMA Life Membership Award. These were CMA Board Member, Neville Thomas and Start Venue Portfolio Conveners, George Roberts and Ian Kerford. The CMA is also mindful of the efforts given off by individuals and organizations who have contributed in a significant way to the Comrades Marathon Association over the years. Due recognition and appreciation was accorded to these do-gooders for their outstanding service or for going beyond the call of duty in adding value to the Comrades Marathon via the CMA’s Certificate of Appreciation.

These notable tokens of gratitude were presented to Ian Laxton, in recognition of his amazing years of service to the Comrades Marathon in the media sector. Mr Price Group was also recognised in this category for its many years of IT sponsorship and support; and overall involvement with the CMA.

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.

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.

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.

2008 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 endeavoring 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.

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.

2021
No Race
No Recipients
Due to Covid-19
2019 2018 2017 2016 2015
No Recipients Danie De Wet
Bob De La Motte
Bruce Hargreaves
Hideo Takano
Steven Vienings
Vishal Kanjee
Amit Sheth
Rupin Mehta
Dr. Shoyab Wadee
Kabelo Ntsime
Richard Monisi*
Heidi Joubert
2014 2013 2012 2011 2010
Debbie Schoeman
Fiona Scholtz
Joy & Bernard Murphy
Brad Brown
Joseph Ta
Vincent O’Neill
Frankie Cawdry
Mandla Zwane
Jeff Minnaar
Wayne Korras
Kabelo Mabalane
Michael Wilkinson
Anne Kouvarellis
Jaco Zevenster
Vlam Pieterse
2009 2008 2007 2006 2005
Josaya Molma
Ann Margolin
Leon Van Wyk
Kenny Craig
Riel Hugo
Mark Bloomfield
Val Wilkinson*
Paul Selby
Richard Whitehead
Brian Goddard
Henk Meyer
Paul Dolman*
Frith van der Merwe
Lucas Nonyana
Zwelitsha Gono
2004 2003 2002 2001 2000
Zeb Luhabe*
Jetman Msutu
Carl Peatfield
Pat Boyall
Anthony Farr
Johnny Demas*
Manie Kuhn*
Tommy Malone*
Anonymous Aids Runner
Vreni Welch
Donovan Wright
Jackie Mekler*
Alan Robb

PLATINUM MEDAL AWARDS

1999 1998 1997
Bruce Fordyce
Don Oliver*
Sam Tshabalala
Percy Dunn
Wally Hayward*
Liege Boulle*
Denis Tabakin
Gavin Elliott
John Wright (Dr)