Comrades – a historic perspective – Part 5

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part4 United in challenge and confrontation At a deeper level, the message of the Comrades to South Africa was clear; men and women running together, helping one another, honouring one another’s efforts, all united in challenging the race and confronting themselves. The blanket TV coverage of the Comrades experience in theContinue reading “Comrades – a historic perspective – Part 5”

Comrades – a historic perspective – Part 4

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Rise in public interest Interest in the race continued to rise, at least in part because top South African distance athletes now had so few opportunities to compete abroad. The government had tried to compensate for growing isolation by holding events such as the South African Games, but these essentiallyContinue reading “Comrades – a historic perspective – Part 4”

Comrades – a historic perspective – Part 3

Part 1 Part 2 The storm clouds gather In the 1970s storm clouds gathered rapidly after the false calm that seemed to characterise the previous decade. The policy of apartheid had reached its zenith and began to collapse under the weight of its own absurdities. In 1969 Premier John Vorster, mindful of the importance ofContinue reading “Comrades – a historic perspective – Part 3”

Comrades – A historic perspective – Part 2

Part 1 – They who had survived South African attitudes in the 1920’s   The modern Olympic Games were little more than a quarter of a century old in 1920. They too reflected prevailing attitudes founder Baron Pierre de Coubertin’s vision was of young people competing purely for the love of it, unsullied by moneyContinue reading “Comrades – A historic perspective – Part 2”

Comrades Marathon – A historic perspective

By David WilliamsOriginally published in Comrades Highlights and Heroes 1921 to 1999 The trouble with great traditions is that it’s very difficult to think your way back to the time when they began. When we look back at the Second World War, for instance, it somehow seems inevitable that the Allies would win. But itContinue reading “Comrades Marathon – A historic perspective”

The Down Run

– originally published in the Nedbank Runners’ Guide to Road Race in South Africa  The first half of the ‘down’ is deceptive and many runners will be forgiven if they wonder if it is indeed a down run. The elevation from the Pietermaritzburg to Drummond section is slight. Both the start and the halfway pointContinue reading “The Down Run”

The Up Run

– originally published in the Nedbank Runners’ Guide to Road Race in South Africa  A detailed description for the Comrades Marathon route is not easy. Annually, there are many minor modifications as a result of road works, traffic congestion and changes in finish venue. The main features of the Comrades route are the dramatic physicalContinue reading “The Up Run”

Landmarks on the Comrades Marathon route

The land marks are presented in order, as you would find them on the up-run from Durban to Pietermaritzburg. Durban – Archaeological evidence suggests that the Durban area had been inhabited by communities of hunter-gatherers as early as 100,000 BC. Mainly oral history has been passed down from early generations, with no written history ofContinue reading “Landmarks on the Comrades Marathon route”

Tell the generation following

Over its one-hundred years of history, the Comrades Marathon has been suspended for two catastrophes.  Both worldwide events, both posed a grave threat to mankind. During the first interruption, we were consumed by a world at war. The death and suffering endured between 1914 and 1918 was not enough to put an end all wars,Continue reading “Tell the generation following”