Editorials 30.5.2016 05:01 am

Comrades ‘year of the underdog’

A road closure poster outisde the Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg, 29 May 2015. Picture: Refilwe Modise

A road closure poster outisde the Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg, 29 May 2015. Picture: Refilwe Modise

Yesterday South Africa witnessed one of the most exciting Comrades Marathon runs, up or down, the country has ever seen.

The spectacle of thousands of men and women braving nearly 90km of pain in the heat and humidity amply demonstrated why it must still be regarded as the greatest ultramarathon on earth.

For South Africans to have dominated the race as they did was breathtaking. David Gatebe shattered the men’s record by more than two minutes to bring back proud memories of the magnificent era of Bruce Fordyce. Gone are the days when foreign-based runners can disembark off a plane at King Shaka International confident of winning. No one gave Gatebe half a chance to win. This is truly the year of the underdog.

Spare a thought for the women’s runner-up, Caroline Wöstmann, who may be wondering what might have been today. She was bizarrely struck by a motorbike while leading her race, them limped on bravely to finish to loud cheers. If she wasn’t already a South African hero and a huge household favourite, she certainly is now – especially after she was still all smiles and congratulations to the woman who pipped her to the post, Charné Bosman.

We saw competitiveness to the end, but most of all, we saw camaraderie. Well done to them all.

 

The Citizen Trail Run 2018

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