Tell Us About Your Comrades…

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Months of training, hundreds of kilometres, a few pairs of shoes, litres of sweat and one, tiny medal. Why did you run Comrades 2012?

Tell us (briefly) below and stand a chance to see your name in print.  The shorter, the sharper, the punchier your answer: the better. Answer one of the following questions in the comment section below.

1) What was your most memorable moment of Comrades 2012?

2) Comrades 2012 was _____ (hint: fill in the blank)

3)  Why did you run Comrades 2012?

The most emotive answers will appear in the August issue of Runner’s World. Don’t forget to leave your name, too!

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34 Responses to Tell Us About Your Comrades…

  1. Kwesi June 11, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

    1. My most memorable moment of comrades 2012 ought to be reaching the finish line with the 12hour bus at 11hrs 47minutes. I didn’t think it wd happen especially after suffering a knee injury at 60kms. May i also mention that that moment the chariots of fire played, that was a very scary moment it was like a validation for all the kind of stupidity i cld have involved myself in.

    2. Comrades 2012 was a turning point in my running life. 2 years ago i wd tell people that my running mate Sandra Groening was crazy, i wd train with her each year she went to comrades & it took me another year or so for her to convince me to run a marathon and on her 3rd comrades i attempted my first…MEMORABLE

    3. I ran the Comrades 2012 to prove to Sandra who believed in me that i cld do it. I’m not sure i believed in myself but she did & so i went. As days drew closer more people ridiculed the idea & some wd even tell me that i’m gonna die & that just motivated me & got me more determined to conquer it.

    • vuyisile dlamini August 7, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

      Well done dear….

    • craig wyngaardt March 28, 2014 at 5:24 pm #

      When I first did my comrades in 2008 it whas of one lady Sara Martin and I selute her fore incaridge me and helping me.To the finish

  2. Ian Little June 11, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    Q3. 2012 was the year for soaking up the history of Comrades and savouring the magic of the race. Visiting the Comrades museum for the first time, driving the route slowly, spending time reading the history at the expo, and of course taking in all the landmarks in the race; Polys, Umlaas Road, Harrison Flats, Inchanga, Drummond, Bothas Hill, Fields, Cowies (you know a landmark has made it when you are down to one word!). Comrades 2012 was a special day.

  3. Carien du Plessis June 11, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

    1. Most memorable moment of Comrades 2012 was making it to the start line after some excellent sport doctor told me two months before that my achilles tendon was in a bad state and I should stop running.
    2. Comrades 2012 was – my last one, again.
    3. I ran Comrades 2012 so that I could experiment with tweeting the entire race. I’m a journo and tweeting is a big part of my job. I did it even though I think it was kind of illegal to carry a phone. I entered to do a sub-9, but I compromised on this dream after the incident with the doctor and the achilles.

  4. Craig Nerwich June 11, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

    most memorable moment was realising at 60km that my raceday plan of taking first half slow worked. went through drummond in 5h25m and 2nd half in 5h05m to finish 10h30 and get a PB by 1h20m.

  5. Wesley Bransby June 11, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

    Well, I initially ran the Comrades for my disabled father. But Good Grief… When I had 1 km to go and one minute to reach the cut off in Sherwood, I was pooping my broeks. I was just concentrating on keeping my feet in motion running in a smeagal like fashion. My dear mother and family were standing on the side just before the cut off and in support they were all bolting with me for the line. Knee high BOOTS and all. My poor mother had more injuries the next day than I did. All in all, I did run the comrades for my father. Bless him. And unfortunately i did not make that last cut off. I was one of the first to be cut though. Taken away in the bus is a terrible trip of defeat and to top it all off when i was scrounging through the masses in the stadium I was devastated to find these scaffolding stairs that felt like they ascending to heaven. Climbing them was an exercise on its own- so it seemed then. A big thanks to my dear friends who on route, changed my delightfully scented socks. True friends right? Next year comrades is mine for the taking!

  6. vashti smith June 11, 2012 at 4:41 pm #

    Memorable moment: the people!
    “Comrades 2012 – was like a military camp – you have your food, medical supplies and your aim is get to the other side without “dying”! Why I ran: Because I have the best little running clan – we 3 energetic YOUNG girls (29years old) and created a unique bond and friendship – running is more than just “running”!


  7. Mike June 11, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

    1) What was your most memorable moment of Comrades 2012?

    The starters “gun” which was so loud my heart rate was probably higher than at any other time during the day! It represented the end of the waiting, which, as a novice, was almost unbearable in the week before the race.

    2) Comrades 2012 was – the toughest thing I have ever undertaken, and because of that also the most rewarding when I finished.

    3) Why did you run Comrades 2012?

    Because I’m a South African. I had no specific reason. I suppose I just wanted to see if I could. To see if I could complete the ultimate human race, an event many consider too tough to even start training for. And I think that attitude is everywhere in South Africa.

  8. Antionette Du Preez June 11, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

    Q1…my most memorable moment of Comades 2012 was coming through to Inchanga and only then realised how many comrades there really were on the road. Snaking up and up and down and up onroute was a sight that took my breath away. Amazing is all I can say.

  9. Dewald Beket June 11, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

    2012 Comrades was my first comrades and completing it under 9 hours sounded almost impossible for a first timer, but I did it, with legendary friends.
    Comrades 2012 was one of the most emotional days in my life and will definitely be remembered.
    I was thinking of doing Comrades as friends and I were watching it last year, as friends of ours took part and we all decided to do it. I was thinking how I just dont want to sit here and just watch it, but I want to br appart of this South African legendary event.

  10. Herbert June 11, 2012 at 8:13 pm #

    1. When I developed blisters into the halfway and the kids alongside the route shouted “uncle keep going, we want to look like you” and I gave them my wrist
    2. Break even point because I learned how to run with the pain for 08hours
    3. To get in touch with my angel “Given” who was brutally murdered with the other four runners training for a Big C qualifier

  11. Candice Kagan June 11, 2012 at 8:47 pm #

    2. Comrades 2012 was life changing. Bring on Comrades 2013:)

  12. Champ June 11, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

    Most memorable moment was when chariots of fire was played at the start !!Comrades 2012 was the greatest expierence ever I am hooked Comrades 2013 here I come ……!I ran Comrades 2012 to prove to myself and a few sceptics that I could do it !!

  13. Craig Pheiffer June 12, 2012 at 8:52 am #

    3) I ran Comrades 2012 because I wanted to lap up as much of the experience as my legs would allow. A 1992 finish was followed by an 11:53 finish in 2010 and a heart-breaking injury-induced failure in 2011 (ITB at Drummond and forced into a bus at dusk with 12km to go). I had unfinished business in 2012 but after finishing the Two Oceans Marathon in some distress I thought Comrades was out of the question. After two months of intense lynotherapy, strengthening exercises, stretches and much prayer I lined up in Pietermartizburg not knowing how far I would get on the day but intent on enjoying every minute of it. I made it all the way to Durban in a very pleasing time of 11:24 and was even more pleased that I hadn’t ever let go of my dream of running the Ultimate Human Race. The trouble I’m having now is getting rid of the smile on my face.

  14. Craig Pheiffer June 12, 2012 at 8:55 am #

    1) Nothing beats running into the stadium, seeing your family there smiling, waiting and shouting for you and then giving your daughter a high five on the final lap.

  15. Natasha June 12, 2012 at 8:59 am #

    On Sunday 3 June at 05:30 thousands of athletes sang in unison our Anthem. Chariots of fire played over the sound system heralding in the start of the 2012 Comrades Marathon. This is why we got up at the crazy hours of the morning while our families were sound asleep to go for our long early morning runs.

    This is why we could not stay out late or party hard. This is why we ran in the rain, through mud, in the blazing sun….many times lonely figures against the harsh backdrop of a concrete wall.

    And because of our commitment we can stand with the likes of Bruce, Zola, Farwa at the starting line – as proud South Africans between many foreign nationals – and to just run. To all my running buddies well done. I’ve bagged number 7! Whoooooohoooo!!

  16. Jonathan Zetisky June 12, 2012 at 11:18 am #

    My most memorable moment during comrades 2012 was the Ethembeni school for handicapped children near Inchanga! Giving “high 5″s ” to the children lining the road made them smile and me cry!!
    Comrades 2012 was an amazing journey!
    I ran Comrades 2012 to prove to my wife that I could still run an”up”(2011) & a “down” (2012) run after an 18 year gap from comrades!! Could be going through a midlife
    crisis I guess!
    Trying to stay warm & healthy now, only about 358 days till Comrades 2013!!!
    Jonathan Zetisky

  17. Meshack June 12, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

    My most awesome Comrades moment was when I ran every hill,walking down hill,it prevented me from getting injuries,I finished at 9h40minutes while the aim was just to finish within the requied time.

  18. Janine June 13, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    My most memorable moment of Comrades 2012 was crossing the finish line in a time of 09h32 min and getting a PB by 1h23. When i came into the stadium i was too tired to even waive to the crowd or smile, but when i crossed that finish line all i could say was THANK YOU LORD. I was sick with flu a week before Comrades and when i was still not feeling 100% the Wednesday before the race i called my doctor. He advised me to come in for a check up and also told me that i most probably won’t be able to run Comrades. I just decided nott o go and see my doctor. I’ve trained very hard and come hell or high water, i will run Comrades.

    The morning of the race i felt 100%. My aim was to run a sub 10hrs, even if i came in @ 09h59, i would have been extremely happy. I ran with a sub 10hr pacing chart and i broke the race down into 10kms. So after every 10kms i saw that i had 15 – 20 min in the bag, but i still felt strong. I had a very good race this year, compared to last year. Must have been my worst Comrades ever. I had a ITB injury and i was in a lot of pain after half way, so much that i wanted to bail but i managed to complete last year’s race in a time of 10h45min. So even though i was hoping for a sub 10 this year, i was also a bit nervous because i am still suffering from ITB and i was scared i might suffer again. But this year i had my knee strapped with Spider Tech and i had absolutely no pain. I had a great race, didnt think i had it in me to run 09h32. Looking forward to doing No 7 next year and i’m hoping to complete 10 in a row. After that i might go for 20, 30, 40 or who knows even 50…. ;-)

  19. Teneale June 15, 2012 at 8:18 am #

    1. Most memorable moment of Comrades – 2012 was my first comrades and just before half way I thought – “wow, I am not even half way – how am I going to do this?”. As I started to stress a little, a group of 3 runners started singing “Shosholoza”! It was amazing! Just the pick up I needed!

  20. Mark June 15, 2012 at 8:56 am #

    1) My most memorable moment for Comrades 2012… Being a Comrades novice, I had spent a lot of time preparing for the race in every possible way. The obvious preparation was for the physical and mental apects of the race. As Comrades is steeped in history and tradition, I spent many hours reading up on, and discussing the history with Comrades veterans. So to be able to lay my bunch of flowers at Arthur’s Seat and slowly wind my way past the Wall of Honour, was an experience of complete spiritual bliss. With a tip of the hat and a shuffle down the road, I had a gentle tear. This lifted me immensely for the rest of the run.

    2) Comrades 2012 was… the realisation of a lifelong dream, not without incident. I qualified in 2000 for Comrades, but was badly injured due to overtraining. I then suffered the Coxsackie virus for 2 years and as a result very low energy levels, I was unable to run at all. In 2007, my patella was fractured playing hockey. My surgeon believed that walking normally would be difficult after the operations. Thanks to my physio, I have completed 2 Ironman events since and now achieved one of my lifelong dreams.

    3) I ran Comrades 2012 firstly as it was on top of my sporting bucket list. I also wanted to prove that through tough times that dedication, desire and determination can overcome any obstacle. I have taken tremendous personal strength and growth from completing this race, and i will be back.

  21. Antje Hockly June 15, 2012 at 9:02 am #

    My goal was always Two Oceans as it was an initiative I was planning with 60 other people to raise money for my charity!
    I had only started distance running in July last year with my first full marathon being the Sani Stagger at the end of November 2011. Having completed the Two Oceans both my husband and my brother in law asked why I don’t just ‘keep going’! You have done all the base training, they said, and another month of hard work will take you to Comrades, no problem! Well it did and I missed my bronze by 5min! Problem is, now I have to do another one next year to do the ‘up’ part!

  22. Charmiane June 15, 2012 at 9:55 am #

    I ran the Comrades, because as a child when I first saw Bruce Fordyce run it, I wanted to run it at least once. So now in my 40′s I did it for the first time in 2012. What an awesome feeling to have eventually accomplished a dream.

  23. Lollos Rodseth June 15, 2012 at 10:04 am #

    2012 was my third and last Comrades…..I had to do a down, and finish in my ‘hometown’ Durban. The two ups I did in 1998 and 2000, and after doing only very short distances and both trail and Cross Country, I decided last year to do a down and make it the final, as I really dislike antyhing longer than a halfmarathon and feel that I am getting too old (53 this year)!!
    I followed my programme, did 1300km from Jan till Comrades, and really tried to make the most of the day. I ate more than I did the previous races, and never felt dehydrated. The last thirty km’s is always hard and my Achlles took strain. I walked the better part of that last bit, but managed to finish in 10:55:55. Now I have my 3 medals, and next year I shall be a spectator!!!
    It is a race that sets you apart. What more can I say? I am happy and humbled by my experience. Congratulations to all. One will always look back at the day and know that the human spirit can conquer any hardship!! Viva!

  24. David de Kock June 15, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    After 17 years of indulging in an obvious unhealthy and ill-advised lifestyle, my better half finally got through to me… In my mid-thirties, I was not exactly the poster child of health. In fact, the “boep” was growing at a rate of knots and the lungs were struggling to function after years of heavy smoking. When finally waking up one morning, again feeling like a 60 year old and having the wife moan about unearthly snoring and coughing sounds, I knew D-day had arrived. I hesitantly exchanged my cigarettes for running shoes and struggled through several weeks of lung-burning and energy tapping short runs. The 3 – 5km runs gradually made way for longer and more regular runs and I finally attempted my first half marathon with a friend and work colleague who also “saw the light”. The feeling of accomplishment and euphoria was huge!!! 8 Months later, after qualifying at the Cango Caves marathon in Oudtshoorn and also doing my first Oceans, I was ready for my biggest challenge yet. No amount of training, advice or cautioning from fellow runners could prepare me for the physical and mental challenge the Comrades posed. My 11H40 journey during the human race allowed for plenty introspection and I can honestly say that I arrived in P`Maritzburg (2011) a better human being. I managed to get my back-to-back this year and am hooked for life. See you next year Comrades!

  25. Hilton Schipholt June 15, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

    1. The 5 months of getting fit running with mates, receiving that small medal, hugs from the family at the end – that feeling of achievement
    2. ..a TEST – a constant mental battle to never give up and keep going!
    3. To get medal no.5 and half way to my goal of green.

  26. Frank Hunt June 15, 2012 at 3:33 pm #

    My most memorable moment of the 2012 Comrades was seeing the tears of joy on my two son’s faces after I had crossed the finish line at the age of 61 to earn my green number. One of the most special and humble moments of my life!

  27. Debbie Ivins June 18, 2012 at 7:31 am #


    I am battling the heartache of infertility. Training for my first Comrades became the ultimate distraction! And it worked!

  28. Alanem June 18, 2012 at 10:26 am #

    There were so many memorable moments: receiving the race number, singing Shosholoza at the start, the couple singing traditional Afrikaans love songs to each other, the schoolchild who exchanged high five + low five + baby five, getting to the bottom of fields hill, entering the finish stadium, rounding the last corner to see the clock at 11H55, knowing that finally I had completed the “ultimate human race”, putting on my Comrades shirt the next day knowing that I had earned it.
    Comrades 2012 was the most amazing running experience of my life. It was the culmination of 9 months training, a day during which I pushed past the limit of physical endurance, and tested my mental resolve. It was an enjoyable day, a glorious day, a heroic day.
    I ran Comrades 2012 because for 25 years I have been dreaming about it. It was time to make the dream a reality.

  29. Val Sing June 18, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    Most memorable experience:
    A small, slight figure, standing alone on the side of the road, poverty stricken with a smile on his face, offering encouragement: “You can do it ma’am”, as I dragged myself up a hill.

  30. Chantel Smith June 21, 2012 at 4:01 pm #

    My most memorable Comrades moment was listening to a fellow runner trying to keep me going at 19km’s to go, tell her story of why and for who she was running Comrades and both of us crying like babies!

  31. Keri du Raan June 26, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

    Most memorable: The assistance of a total stranger – the spectators at Comrades are as much a part of the race as the runners. My Comrades angel was Adri from Mall @Carnival Runners – Brakpan, JHB who kindly let me use her cellphone to call my husband shortly after halfway – the bailer busses were looking afwully tempting after feeling unwell since 15km and I thought 46km was the end for me, but both my husband and Adri’s encouragement kept me going to claim my medal in the end.

  32. Wilandi van der Westhuizen May 2, 2015 at 12:59 pm #

    I know this is really old… but I want to fill it out anyway.

    1) What was your most memorable moment of Comrades 2014?

    as I entered the stadium at Durban, and I saw the green grass under my feet, I realized that I have just finished my first Comrades Marathon, and as i realized it, all aches and pains ive had for the whole day just seeped out of my body. euphoria. crossing the line with my dad (37 Consecutive Comrades Marathons), my sister and my boyfriend was the cherry on top.

    2) Comrades 2014 was life changing. the hardest thing ive ever done. the best day of my life.

    3) Why did you run Comrades 2014?
    I ran Comrades 2014 because i wanted to make the year in which i turn 21 a big year with huge goals. Comrades was my goal. and i also did it because i wanted to prove to people that 21 is not too young to do the Comrades. to prove to everyone, and myself that i am stronger than i look.

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