Durban - Some highly notable Comrades Marathon former winners and Green Number achievers will present Green Numbers to those athletes who will be inducted onto the Green Number Roll of Honour at this year’s Comrades finish.
The Green Number Facility at the Comrades Finish Venue attracts the Comrades Marathon’s most passionate runners; and hosts a remarkable array of Comrades legends and champs who engage and motivate up-and-coming Comrades Green Number runners who are still climbing the rungs of Comrades greatness. It is an impressive space at the finish where some of the Comrades’ most awe-inspiring stories are shared.
This year’s notable Green Number presenters:
Jackie Mekler - 2018 marks the 60th anniversary of Jackie Mekler’s first win in 1958. Jackie went on to win the Comrades a total of 5 times, making him one of the Comrades Greats! At 86, Mekler is also the Comrades Marathon’s oldest surviving winner. 1958 was an Up Run and Mekler completed the course in 6hr26min. He crossed the finish line a full 45 minutes ahead of the second placed runner. Over the next decade, he would go on to win the race a further 4 times and would be the first runner to break the 6 hour mark on the Up Run in 1960; in a time of 5hr56min. Mekler also has a race dedicated to him and 2018 will see its 37th running.
Clive Crawley - Clive Crawley is the worthy owner of permanent race number 1. He has run 42 Comrades Marathons; his first being in 1957 and was the first runner to ever reach 40 finishes. Crawley has also finished in 7th and 5th place in 1961 and 1965 respectively; and at 67 years old, still managed to complete his Comrades race in 8h36m22s.
Grace De Olivera - Starting her Comrades career with a second place positioning is something that really does cement what a talented runner Grace De Olivera was during her running career. Very few runners can boast a 7 gold medal tally and De Olivera proved her dedication to The Ultimate Human Race by continuing to assist as a volunteer after retiring from professional running.
Bruce Fordyce - The most iconic runner in the history of the Comrades Marathon, Bruce Fordyce is the holder of 9 wins (5 of those being record setting runs at the time) and 30 medals in total. He holds the record as the runner with the most wins in the race and is known for turning road racing into an artform. Fordyce has written many books on running and is a highly successful motivational speaker.
Helen Lucre - Helen Lucre performed a hat trick between 1985 and 1987, becoming one of only 3 women to win the Comrades Marathon three years in a row.
Tommy Malone - Tommy Malone is the winner of the 1966 Comrades Marathon in a time of 6hr14min; and came second in 1967, in the most nail biting finish the Comrades has ever seen. Riddled with cramp, Tommy collapsed and got to his feet just before the line as Manie Khun sped past and beat him by just one second. Tommy took a short break from running, but returned and went on to achieve his Green Number in 1980.
Louis Massyn - Louis is currently tied for the position of person with the most Comrades Marathon finishes successfully achieved. He has tallied a phenomenal 45 medals and will be competing for his 46th this year. The Comrades Marathon cannot thank him enough for his tireless dedication to our novice runners, as well as promoting the Green Number Club. Massyn personifies the camaraderie and commitment that the Comrades stands for.
Shaun Meiklejohn - Shaun Meiklejohn won the Comrades in 1995 and has an impressive 10 gold medals and 19 silver medals to his name. Last year he ran his 29th Comrades in an unbelievable time of 7h04m55s. This year will mark his 30th run dedicated to 1979 winner, Piet Vorster who succumbed to motor neuron disease earlier this year. Even though it is such an auspicious occasion for him, Meiklejohn is donating his time to making the day for other Green Number runners a memorable one by volunteering after his race. True camaraderie and selflessness.
Willie Mtolo - William Bhekizizwe “Willie” Mtolo had achieved his permanent Green Number 1119 by attaining eight gold medals. He was runner-up in the 1989 Comrades and 2002 Comrades. Mtolo also boasts a win at the New York Marathon in 1992. Aside from generously assisting the Comrades Marathon Green Number Club, Mtolo also assists young underprivileged runners through his township-based running academy.
Poobie Naidoo - Poobie Naidoo has 24 Comrades Marathon medals to his name and of those, 11 are silver, with a best time of 6hr07min19sec. Naidoo has been a massive contributor to development running and athletics; and has assisted many runners and schools through donations of kits and shoes. He believes that, “just because you are poor, doesn’t mean you cannot succeed”; and still remains a humble and loyal volunteer to the Comrades Marathon and sport as a whole.
Alan Robb - Alan Robb is an absolute Comrades Marathon legend. Not only has he succeeded in winning the race four times, he also holds an unbelievable 12 gold medals and has managed to complete the great race 42 times. 1978 was the year that Alan became the first person to break the five-and-a-half-hour barrier, with a time of 5hr29min14sec. This win was to give Robb his 3 consecutive wins and his Permanent Green Number 1704.
Lolly Thomson - Lolly began her Comrades journey in 1980 and has 22 medals to her name. She ran her first Comrades Marathon at the age of 33 and ran her best time of 8h05m19s in 1980.
Paddy Williams - With 21 consecutive runs under her belt, Paddy has shown a solid commitment to the Comrades Marathon and is an important member of the Green Number Club. Williams ran her first Comrades Marathon at the age of 39.