Have Your Say
Got something on your mind that you want to share , a burning question you want answered , or a good story to tell ? Then send it to letters @ modernathlete . co . za , and add a pic if you can . Letters should preferably be no more than 300 words long , and pics should be high-resolution . ( Note that letters may be shortened due to space limitations .)
EDITOR ’ S PICK
ELUSIVE SILVER MEDALS
ALL THE SINGLE RUNNERS …
In road running , athletes wear age category tags , but what is missing , one may ask ? I think we should wear relationship status tags , too ! I think we run past too many potential partners on the road , especially during the Comrades Marathon . Are all 27,000 athletes really taken , mara ? – Mo MC Kitimz , Cape Town
Interesting idea , Mo . On the one hand , finding a partner who shares your passion for running is a real bonus , as he / she will understand your desire to run , and spend money on running shoes and kit , and plan holidays around races , but not sure single runners will want to advertise the fact and risk being bombarded with corny pick-up lines about running away with somebody ’ s heart throughout a race ! – Ed .
Images : Courtesy Grant Nicholls & Jonathan Such
Having read about various thoughts on silver medal difficulty in South African races through the years , my opinions are as follows . The most difficult one I won was in the 1977 TV Road Race 25km three-lap course , through the urban canyons of Johannesburg . The organisers only awarded silver to the first 100 and I was awarded No . 97 in 1h29 an average speed of 3 ’ 33 ” per km . Speaking to Bruce Fordyce after the race , he was a wee bit miffed at having missed the 100 cut-off , as we agreed that there were a lot of two-lappers ahead of us .
My second-prized difficult silver was at the Kenneth McArthur Marathon in 1985 . This you were awarded only if you beat his Olympic gold medal time from way back when . My running speed there was 3 ’ 38 ” per km . I consider the third most difficult was breaking the 2-hour mark in either the Springs Striders 32km or the RAC Tough One at altitude . I only managed it once ... again in 1985 , with a running speed of 3 ’ 39 ” per km .
The fourth most difficult , for me , was a sub-90-minute Pirates Half over the mountain race , which I only achieved three times at a best average speed of 3 ’ 53 ” per km . After that it is Two Oceans , where I managed many silvers with a best average speed of 4 ’ 0 ” per km ( again , in 1985 ), and I managed 10 silvers at Comrades , with a best time in my very first in 1977 at an average speed of 4 ’ 36 ” per km . – Jonathan Such , UK
Through the years I have heard many runners discuss whether the Two Oceans or Comrades silver medal is the harder to achieve , and the Two Oceans nearly always wins that debate , but this is a refreshing take on things . – Ed .
CONGRATS , DEAN !…
The MAIN SPAR Group would like to congratulate Dean Wight for his fantastic effort in raising R538,853 for the Hillcrest Aids Centre Trust ( HACT ) in this year ’ s Comrades Charity Drive 2021 . We are extremely proud to support Dean ’ s Beloved Long Runs and this man ’ s passion for the running community and his chosen charity . Well done , Deano ! – Grant Nicholls , Group Managing Director and Owner at The Main Group of Spar and Tops Stores
Dean has been featured in this magazine thanks to his phenomenal fundraising record – you can read more here – and I would also like to congratulate him on yet another fantastic effort ! – Ed .
MISSING TRIBUTE TO FRAN …
I was a bit disappointed last month when I didn ’ t see any tribute / obituary for Fran Pocock , a friend and fellow runner . And , again this month . I think Fran ’ s achievements warrant something , don ’ t you ? Thanks , otherwise as always a great read . – Sue Hook , Cape Town
I also shared the roads with Fran for a number of years and often marvelled at her running prowess , as she finished on the podium in just about every race she ran , often beating top runners in a younger age category , too . I was saddened to hear of her passing . – Ed .
THANKS FOR THE HELP !…
To the guy in the white Opel Corsa who very kindly offered to assist with jumpstarting my car at the Cross Country in Cape Town : I didn ’ t get your name , and there was so much going on – lots of flat batteries in the rain ! – but please know that your help was greatly appreciated . Thank you so much ! – René Lawrence , Cape Town
Since I first began running in the mid-90s , I have always found the running community to be friendly and helpful , and thus I have always wanted to do likewise . For example , it gave me great pleasure to be able to help a group of great-grandmasters to change a flat tire one year after a race in Stellenbosch . I am therefore not in the least surprised to hear you were rescued by a fellow runner , René . – Ed .