Wally Hayward, one of the all-time greats of the Comrades Marathon, will be a notable absentee at the start and finish of this year's race on June 17.
The 93-year-old Hayward, who stunned the running fraternity when as a 21-year-old he won the Comrades from Durban to Pietermaritzburg in 1930, is too frail and is in a care centre in Johannesburg.
Hayward entered 1930 Comrades and did not take part in the race again until the 1950s. But when he returned he snapped up the title each time he entered in 1950, 1951, 1953 and 1954 - thus becoming the unbeaten champion of the biggest ultra-marathon in the world at that time.
He had left an indelible mark of the race and when he ran his final Comrades just before turning 80, it was one of the most emotional runs ever by a long distance athlete. Hayward completed his seventh Comrades in 1988 in 9 hours 44 minutes.
He has ever since that day been noticeable at every Comrades - handing out the prizes and the green numbers to those who had won the race three or more times or those who had run the event 10 times.