Fordyce on Comrades 2011

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Ten days after this year’s Comrades I have begun to take stock of the race and to piece it together in my mind. I don’t know if the Runner’s World readership agree with me but I found this race very hard. I was struggling from the start of Inchanga Hill and it was a long battle from there to the finish.

It might be that I had forgotten how hard the Up run is. After all it has been 3 years since we last ran the Up race. It might also be that I am just getting old but whatever the reason I found it very tough. It seems that many other runners battled as well. My statistics may be wrong but I have been led to believe that there were 20000 entrants, 16000 starters and 11000 finishers. If these numbers are only partially correct that is still a huge drop-out rate.

Throughout the field runners experienced problems; I was saddened to see so many runners limping into Pietermaritzburg oval long after the final gun had been fired. Both the men’s and women’s gold medal winning times were fairly ordinary. And I was told numerous sad tales of woe. My mate Barry Holland ran his slowest time in (over 10 hours) in 39 runs. So too did my Zimbabwe friend Andy Edmonsen. Both runners are normally solid Bill Rowan or even silver medallists.

My own run was a bitter/sweet affair. I missed silver by a few seconds. I was happy to have improved by over two hours on my previous Up run but the effort and cost was alarming for me. Dr. John Godlonton’s brilliant team took care of me in the hospital tent but it took two litres of intravenous fluid and a lot of pampering to get me up on my feet again. I was spared a complete depression about my state by the knowledge that Arnold Geerdts and Alan Robb were on the stretchers adjacent to mine.

One expects to be a bit shattered after a hard Comrades but 10 days later I still don’t feel very perky. I am lethargic, demotivated and frankly quite thick. Running is the last thing I feel like doing at this stage. Watching boring Soap operas on television for hours has a certain appeal. I left something vital out on that road between Durban and Pietermaritzburg .

I don’t know if the other readers agree with me but the 2011 Comrades is going down in my book as one of the tough ones.

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2 Responses to Fordyce on Comrades 2011

  1. Christian Newbold July 26, 2011 at 5:36 am #

    Bruce, I’m impressed you did it… again. I had my 3rd entry and my 3rd no show at the starting line. It’s a long way from Tasmania, but I will get there one day when the stars and planets align. When I do get there, I’d love to bump into you and thank you for your inspiration throughout your career. Congrats on finishing!


  2. Willie du Plessis May 16, 2014 at 4:40 pm #

    2011 Was my first comrades…2014 will be my second.
    I finished in 10h55 and was just happy to make it. Maybe it has been a long time ago, but to me it felt as though as everybody said it was going to be. I actually though the weather was great!
    Now reading this particular blog (in the two weeks before comrades spirit) I really hope that 2011 was a tough run for some reason or the other! I’m very keen to break 9h!
    Thanks Bruce! I know everybody suffers but hearing you say it makes it easier on the rest of the field.

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