Pretoria - It was his second Comrades Marathon, but no one expected it to be his last. Louis du Preez, 39, a father of two from Moreleta Park, died in a Durban hospital after collapsing during last weekend’s Comrades Marathon.
Du Preez, a member of the Magnolia Road Runners in New Muckleneuk, collapsed during the last stretch of the marathon and was taken to St Augustine’s Hospital in Durban. He was in ICU but died at 2am on Sunday.
Magnolia Road Runners chairman Tinus Marais said doctors suspected Du Preez suffered from an undetected viral infection which led to organ failure. Du Preez slipped in and out of consciousness last week. “Everyone thought he would get better,” Marais said.
Du Preez finished the race in under 11 hours. The club received messages of condolence from people who ran the marathon. Thamar Jacobs wrote: “We only got to know Louis for 5km along the way. This was my first Comrades and because of Louis it’s one I will never forget.”
Shirwa Rohm also remembered his good spirit during the race. “We met Louis at the start and again 5km into the race. We were full of nerves and giggles and he said this must be your first Comrades.”
Du Preez was one of more than 100 runners who ran to raise funds for the people of Sudan. He was part of a group called Sudan for Jesus (S4J). “Sorrow, disbelief, speechlessness, shock come to mind,” said chairman of the group Norman Johnson.
Du Preez was one of the top five fundraisers for the group.
“He participated with runners from more than 40 clubs as part of the S4J group,” said Johnson.
Members of the S4J group captured chilling images of Du Preez’s last run and subsequent collapse.
Du Preez leaves his wife, Annelie, and their two young sons.