Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 162 October 2023 | Page 34


The Running

Rory Petzer on his way to a second Comrades medal in the 2023 race


As one of the funniest guys of running in South Africa , Rory Petzer is almost always laughing ( in between eating )… except in the 2022 Comrades . He reckons he had nothing to smile about that day ! Happily , the 2023 race went much , much better , and now he ’ s ready to take on the running world . As long as it doesn ’ t keep him away from his dogs too long , and he can be left in peace to think of his next jokes . Let ’ s just say there ’ s a lot going on in this comedian ’ s head ! – BY SEAN FALCONER

In the famous Beatles song , Yesterday , the one line says “ I ’ m not half the man I used to be .” Well , that definitely didn ’ t apply to radio personality and funnyman Rory Petzer in the 2023 Comrades Marathon , because when he finished the race , he was double the man he used to be . He had doubled his tally of Comrades medals , and he felt like he had doubled his weight , too . You see , it would be fair to say that Rory ate his way to Durban !

“ I was eating oranges , chocolate , biscuits , gels , Bovril sandwiches … I was just eating all the way . And for the first time at Comrades , I didn ’ t once feel like I wasn ’ t going to finish ,” says Rory . “ I had energy all the way through . I was confident . I was taking selfies with people , chatting to people on the side of the road , laughing , joking . I never thought , this is going to be close , or that my legs are feeling a bit weak . In Hillcrest , with 32km to go , I saw a colleague from East Coast Radio on the side cheering , and I said , don ’ t worry , it ’ s in the bag , I ’ ve got it this time .”
“ After failing twice , this time I asked as many people as I could how they do it , and everyone said , just make sure you ’ re eating all the time , every hour . In previous years , I ’ ve never taken food from people on the side of the road , but this year I was taking whatever I could grab ! One of them also told me , the best bit of advice he got is don ’ t chase the time , just run to finish . I was like , OK , then I ’ m just going to run to finish , and eat a lot , asnd it was a perfect day . I enjoyed every minute of it , although I ’ m not sure it ’ s supposed to be that much fun to run 90 kilometres … but for someone who was doubting I ’ d ever do it again , I just want to do the next one right now !”
Things Go Awry …
The reason Rory started this year ’ s Comrades feeling a bit uncertain was due to the two DNFs next to his name in the 2019 and 2022 Comrades . He had run his first in 2018 , finishing in 11:19:58 , but the wheels came off in his next two races , and he says he knows why . “ In 2019 , I think I drank way too much . I
panicked and hydrated , and I was a mess , throwing up water . I felt like a hot air balloon , or like one of those puffer fish . And then last year , I think I was too childish , I got caught up in the idea of running a sub-10 , so I basically sprinted the first 40-odd kays , and by 50 kays I was in trouble . When 60 kays came , I couldn ’ t see straight , and the world was spinning .”
That was the point of the race , at Everton Bridge , where Rory met up with his partner of six years , Yoshen , as their home in Gillitts is nearby , just 8km off the race route . “ He took one look at me and said I looked terrible . Actually , he said I looked like death , so I sat down , and he was like , listen , if you ’ re feeling shit , don ’ t push yourself . I tried to stand , but couldn ’ t do it properly , and I wanted to throw up , but there was nothing left to throw up , and then he said , OK , you ’ re done , because there ’ s still 30 kays to go , including Cowies Hill , and there ’ s no way you can do it like this . I was like , okay , just take me home .”
Images : Marathon Photos , Yoshen Nair and courtesy Rory Petzer
34 ISSUE 162 | www . modernathlete . co . za