Sizonqoba – Together We Triumph'
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The Comrades Marathon owes its beginnings to the vision of one man, World War I veteran Vic Clapham. After the outbreak of the Great War 1914-1918, Clapham signed up with the 8th South African Infantry which marched 1700 miles through East Africa.
After witnessing the hardship, and death of his comrades which he wanted to create a memorial to the suffering they had gone through and the lives lost. And more importantly to that which left a most last impression on him: the camaraderie that he experienced despite such deprivations.
Clapham approached the League of Comrades of the Great War for support of his dream, to stage a race between the cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban, a fitting setting for a memorial of physical and endurance and stamina. After his application was refused in 1919 and 1920, finally in 1921 the League relented and the Comrades Marathon was born on a loan of 1 pound for expenses that Mr Clapham had to repay.
The first Comrades Marathon took place on 24th May 1921, Empire Day, starting outside the City Hall in Pietermaritzburg with 34 runners. It has continued since then every year with the exception of the war years 1941-1945, with the direction alternating each year between Pietermaritzburg and Durban, the so called up & down runs. Today the race boasts a field capped at 18 000 runners.
The race has gone through changes throughout the years; the cut off time changing from 12hrs to 11hrs and back again more recently. Women and non-white runners were first officially allowed to participate in 1975, and the race has become more inclusive every year. Runners completing 10 runs receive a Green Number, and keep their race numbers for perpetuity, the first to ever be awarded one, being Liege Boulle. The race abounds in tradition with Shosholoza and Max Trimborn’s recorded cock-crow being played at every race start.
Over the years a number of runners have left their stamp on the race: 9 time winner Bruce Fordyce; 8 time winner Elena Nurgalieva; 5 time winners Arthur Newton, Hardy Ballington, Wally Hayward, and Jackie Mekler; 4 time winner and first to break 5hrs 30 Alan Robb, and 3 time winner Frith Van Der Merwe who after over 20 years still holds the fastest ever time in the women’s race.
With 88 years under its belt the Comrades Marathon is the oldest Ultra Marathon in the world, it remains one of the toughest road races on the planet and each year reminds us that through adversity there is hope. Year after year the goodness in humanity comes to the fore – making Comrades the Ultimate Human Race.
Just outside Drummond on the Durban side is the Comrades Wall of Honour. This is a long wall covered with green and yellow Comrades plaques containing the names and race numbers of numerous Comrades runners. The first section of the wall contains the plaques of former Comrades winners. For the rest, the plaques are those of runners who have paid for the privilege of having their name on this wall to commemorate their race achievements.
Runners who have earned their permanent number have a green plaque while those who have run less than 10, have a yellow plaque.
When driving the route, this is always a good place to stop and stretch your legs and take some time out to look at the various plaques on the wall. This is something that I have done every year that I have run Comrades. I did have the opportunity to purchase a plaque after my first run.
The coords will take you to the comrades wall, the hard part is finding #25353
Should you want to claim this cache you will have to do the following
1) A photo of you or personal item ( like GPS ) at the location of number #25353.
Vgf ba gur jnyy :)