Comrades Marathon – looking back over a century 1921 to 1949

The running of the 95th edition of this great race is still a great uncertainty. The race has only been put on hold twice in its history, once in the face of a world war and once for a pandemic. Whatever happens this year, one thing is for sure, the race will turn 100 inContinue reading “Comrades Marathon – looking back over a century 1921 to 1949”

1940 – The war clouds close in and stop the race – echoes from the past once peace reigns

From the very beginning it was going to be difficult to stage the 1940 race. Yes, life seemed pretty much normal in South Africa at the time. Men were attending camps and the country was preparing itself for a war, but the harsh reality of a war with Hitler’s forces in Europe seemed another worldContinue reading “1940 – The war clouds close in and stop the race – echoes from the past once peace reigns”

1930’s : Desperate dashes, close finishes – The Ballington Era. (Part 2)

Even though the field was small for the 1935 “Down” race, the day was glorious, the sun was shining, a big difference from the previous two years. Interest was high. Ballington and Cochrine had established themselves as great rivals. There too was a dark horse on the start line. That was Johannes Coleman. Some yearsContinue reading “1930’s : Desperate dashes, close finishes – The Ballington Era. (Part 2)”

1930’s : Desperate dashes, close finishes – The Ballington Era (Part 1)

The first race of the 30’s saw a wiry, muscular runner line up in Durban as a novice. An athlete who had won the national 10-mile championships earlier that year. He was the 21 year old Wally Hayward, of Johannesburg. No one suspected him of any ambitions as a long distance runner. Nor could anyoneContinue reading “1930’s : Desperate dashes, close finishes – The Ballington Era (Part 1)”

1920’s : Heat and dust – The era of Arthur ‘Greatheart’ Newton (Part 2)

By 1923 the race had taken on a far more serious look, even though race entries were down from the previous year. The practical jokers had been eliminated somewhere on the testing hills and the field looked a lot more serious. Phillips and Newton were the objects of much of the press attention. From theContinue reading “1920’s : Heat and dust – The era of Arthur ‘Greatheart’ Newton (Part 2)”

1920’s : Heat and dust – The era of Arthur ‘Greatheart’ Newton (Part 1)

When the smoke cleared from a war weary world at the end of 1918, the dead numbered almost ten million. In four years far more people had died than in all the wars 100 years previously. Little wonder therefore that associations such as the League of Comrades of the Great War were started. Mainly toContinue reading “1920’s : Heat and dust – The era of Arthur ‘Greatheart’ Newton (Part 1)”