Quintin van Jaarsveld
South Coast Striders athletes rose to the challenge in Sunday’s Comrades Marathon up-run.
The 94th edition of the Ultimate Human Race was a typical emotional rolllercoaster for runners and spectators alike.
The 86.83-kilometre ultra-marathon, which started at City Hall in Durban and finished at Scottsville Racecourse in Pietermaritzburg, saw elite athletes leave spectators in awe with their seemingly superhuman showings.
For most, the Comrades, at its core, is about the ‘everyday’ athlete and their spirited and inspirational quests to conquer the world-renowned race.
The Striders were in the thick of this action, displaying their determination on the long and winding road to athletic ecstasy that awaits those who manage to muster enough intestinal fortitude to go the distance.
It was a day to savour for the Striders, as 31 of the 34 runners who participated in this year’s race managed to finish within the 12-hour cut-off period.
Chief among them were novices Sigrid Engelbrecht, Wendy Makhaluza and Ryan Mather-Pike, who added their names to the list of Comrades conquerors.
It was also a particularly special day for Pastor Daan van Niekerk as he finished his 10th Comrades to earn his much sought-after Green Number.
Mavela Nyemebezi was once again the Uvongo-based club’s top runner and narrowly missed out on a silver medal with a time of 7:55:47.
Meanwhile, the trail-blazing Zwelitsha “Tiger” Gono – the first black athlete to win 40 Comrades medals – continued his legacy with yet another finish.
Isaac Madlala made for the most drama among the South Coast contingent. He was locked in a nail-biting race against time and ultimately crossed the finish line with just 44 seconds left on the clock.
“I am extremely proud of all of our runners,” Striders running captain Mark Smith told eHowzit.
“The conditions seemed to be great, hence the record-breaking run of Gerda Steyn. Having said that, the up-run always takes a lot out of a runner’s legs.
“The Comrades is all about hills and it is tough regardless of who you are. Some of our runners were facing injuries and had to overcome that to get to Pietermaritzburg. Kudos to them!”
South Coast Striders Comrades results:
- Mavela Nyembezi 7:55:47
- Brother Moyo 8:42:22
- Goodman Nqayi 8:46:24
- Hector Macleod 9:12:09
- Bongani Mbhele 9:28:57
- Heinrich Lotz 9:30:42
- Pieter De Bruin 9:42:04
- Arthur Flascas 9:42:35
- Chris Bheki Mqadi 9:45:37
- Deborah Berridge 9:57:27
- Sigrid Engelbrecht 10:16:51
- Lenard Du Toit 10:27:15
- Christopher Mortimer 10:27:35
- George Cele 10:36:51
- Graeme Milligan 10:41:42
- Ryan Mather-Pike 10:53:27
- Cathy Mather-Pike 10:53:27
- Fikile Finiza 10:54:15
- Dawid Snyman 10:54:28
- Vusi Vezi 11:17:27
- Hennie Kanfer 11:25:13
- Gary Lennon 11:36:51
- Donnovan Mulder 11:41:18
- Isak Ludick 11:44:06
- Nkosinathi Shonga 11:50:33
- Zandile Mornica Dunywa 11:52:02
- Raymond Gaze 11:54:36
- Zwelitsha Gono 11:54:51
- Daan Van Niekerk 11:56:39
- Wendy Makhaluza 11:56:40
- Isaac Madlala 11:59:16