A wise man dressed as Lulu once wrote...
On Tuesday, 24th May 1921 the first Comrades Marathon was staged. It was a down run from Pietermaritzburg to Durban. 47 entries, 34 starters, 16 finishers.
No one knew what would happen to those pioneering souls during the course of that day as they proceeded down the hill and out of sight. The first leader crossing the bridge over the Umsinduzi River was Butcher Purcell followed by Harry Phillips and Bill Rowan.
Leaving the city a dusty sand road meandered over the hills and through the valleys all the way to Durban. Purcell, Phillips and Rowan were still together at Cato Ridge, but, by the foot of Inchanga, Purcell had fallen two minutes behind. As the two leaders left Drummond, Rowan went into the lead.
Through Gillitts and Pinetown followed by a convoy of bicycles, motorcycles and cars Rowan increased the distance between himself and Phillips who was plagued by a persistent knee injury.
Covered in brown suffocating dust, but undeterred, Rowan finally strode down West Street at the head of the convoy to the finish line outside the City Hall. His time was 8h 59m.
On Sunday, 13th June 2021, the centenary year, the 95th Comrades Marathon will be a down run.
Time to get your running shoes on folks!