Two men will be realising a new achievement when they smash the record for the most Comrades completed; and the third will be looking to bag another silver to add to his special collection pieced together over three decades.
Keep an eye out for 67-year-old Welkom resident Louis Massyn, and 66-year-old Ballito man Barry Holland, when the two undertake their 46th consecutive Comrades runs.
Massyn and Holland both reached Dave Rogers’s 2013 record of 45 runs when they completed the run last year, and on Sunday are aiming to break that.
Massyn said he was “overwhelmed” by the support he had received from people around the world who will follow his run.
“I’m getting emotional speaking about it. If you had told me 20 years ago that I’d be running my 46th race, I’d have laughed.
“But here I am now, and I am really blessed to be able to do so, and inspire young runners, even the ones going for their green are looking up to me; that’s when it really hits you,” he said.
Massyn admitted that there was also a lot of pressure on him for this race.
“My first race was in 1973. To me, it’s the biggest sporting event of the year. I am just going to go out there and I aim to finish in just under 11 hours. I will look out for Barry in the field, too,” he said.
Holland will be running his 46th Comrades alongside his daughter Kathryn, who will attempt her first. They both ran the Two Oceans Marathon in Cape Town at Easter.
“Apart from the new record, which is not the main thing on my mind, I am so excited to be running with my daughter. We never encouraged her to get into running and do something crazy, but I am proud of her, and we aim to finish in just under 11 hours,” said Holland.
Another well-known face on the Comrades circuit is Hilton resident Shaun Meiklejohn, who will run his 30th race on Sunday.
“I am as excited for my 30th as I was for my first. I just kept running and running, I did the down run first and then I said I had to try the up run, and it just continued from there,” said Meiklejohn, who won the race in 1995 and nine more gold medals beside that.
He has won silver (crossing the finish line under seven-and-a-half hours) 19 times.
“It’s going to be special because I do want to add another silver to the list, to make it 20 silvers,” said the 56-year-old.
In fact, Meiklejohn said he had never planned on running so many Comrades, and a wooden plaque made years ago could only fit 21 medals.
“I need to make another plaque now, but I am not sure how much bigger it needs to be,” he laughed.