The 1921 Comrades Marathon Tribute Run

The 24th of May 1921 saw just 34 men start from the Pietermaritzburg City Hall to run to Durban for the very first Comrades Marathon and now on the 24th of May 2021, 34 runners will make a tribute run starting from the exact spot outside the Pietermaritzburg City Hall where those runners, 100 years ago, set off for Durban.

There has been a lot of speculation as to who the runners are who have been honoured with being part of the tribute run in this centenary year and who will run from the Pietermaritzburg City Hall to Comrades House just 2.2km away to where the dignitaries await them and where the day’s festivities begin.

Sadly the festivities have had to be limited to 250 people because of covid but nonetheless we will see CMA Elders, former Chairpersons, current CMA Board and Staff members, members of the Race Organising Committee, current sponsors, representatives of the Official Comrades Charities, a number of very important dignitaries and select media in attendance.

CMA Chairperson, Cheryl Winn said, “We will remember Comrades’ origins, owed primarily to the inspiration and tireless efforts of a humble railroad engine driver and soldier, Vic Clapham, who returned from war with the vision of staging a living memorial to the suffering, loss of life, spirit, fortitude and camaraderie of the soldiers with whom he had shared the devastation of World War I.” 

Winn added, “A significant aspect of the day is recalling the brave early pioneers – some of whom completed the distance unofficially when the race was restricted exclusively to white males; our winners, heroes and record-breakers who have consistently inspired us with ever-improving competitive performances; and we will celebrate the so-called ‘ordinary runners’ for whom there is nothing at all that is ‘ordinary’ and who embody the spirit of grit, determination, camaraderie, hope and humanity upon which the Comrades Marathon was founded.”

The 34 runners who will be paying tribute to those early pioneers of the Ultimate Human Race are:

Achievement Men (25)
Winner 1976 – 78 & 80 Alan Robb
Winner 1981 – 88 & 90Bruce Fordyce 
Winner 1991Nick Bester
Winner 1992Jetman Msuthu
Winner 1995Shaun Meiklejohn
Winner 2000/02/04Vladimir Kotov
Winner 2001Andrew Kelehe 
Winner 2003Fusi Nhlapo
Winner 2005Sipho Ngomane 
Winner 2012Ludwick Mamabolo
Winner 2013Claude Moshiywa
Winner 2015Gift Kelehe 
Winner 2016David Gatebe 
Winner 2019Edward Mothibi
47 Medals Barry Holland 
47 Medals Louis Massyn
42 Medals Mike Cowling 
42 Medals Wietsche van der Westhuizen 
42 Medals Zwelitsha Gono
42 Medals Dave Lowe 
41 Medals Tommy Neitski
41 Medals Dave Williams 
40 Medals Johan van Eeden 
40 Medals Boysie van Staden 
40 Medals Shaun Wood 
AchievementWomen (9)
Winner 1979Jan Mallen 
Winner 1985 – 87Helen Lucre 
Winner 1992Francis van Blerk 
Winner 1993Tilda Tearle 
Winner 1998Rae Bisschoff
Winner 2015Caroline Cherry (Wostmann)
Winner 2016Charne Bosman 
31 Medals Pat Fisher 
30 Medals Kim Pain 

The occasion’s activities will be live-streamed, and Comrades runners and supporters in South Africa and around the world are invited to follow the day’s proceedings from 09h00 – 15h00 on the Comrades website, or on Facebook @ComradesMarathon.

20 May 2021


One thought on “The 1921 Comrades Marathon Tribute Run

  1. This is truely a wonderful Tribute to Comrades and all associated with this Ultimate human race to the organisers you have done a Sterling job this is no easy task a very big thank you I am so very proud of my Daughter Kim Pain who had been selected to participate in this prestigious Ttribute Wendy Pain

    Liked by 1 person

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