Kenny Craig, Clive Crawley, Louis Massyn, Alan Robb Picture: Supplied
Kenny Craig, Clive Crawley, Louis Massyn, Alan Robb Picture: Supplied

Comrades Marathon Association mourns the loss of race veteran, Clive Crawley

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Jun 9, 2020

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Durban - The Comrades Marathon Association is mourning the loss of 89-year-old veteran runner, Clive Crawley. 

Crawly was the holder of the Comrades Race Number 1 since he took part in his first Comrades Marathon in 1957. He was also a member of the Savages Athletic Club where he spent his entire running career. 

Crawley was the first runner to have earned Quadruple Green Number status in the 1998 Comrades Marathon in a time of 8:36:22, followed shortly thereafter by his friend and fellow teammate, Kenny Craig, in a time of 10:15:46. 

He went on to successfully complete an epic 42 Comrades Marathons, with two Gold, 21 Silver and 19 Bronze medals, with his Gold  medals having been achieved in the 1961 and 1965 Comrades Marathons.

Crawley achieved his best time of 6:11:19 in 1971 when he finished in 10th position, during which time Gold medals were awarded to only the first seven positions.

For nearly one and a half decades after retiring from the race in 2000, Clive was a regular at the Green Number facility, handing out Green Numbers to new inductees onto the Green Number Roll of Honour, inspiring runners to even greater heights and continually motivating people to give of their best.

Kenny Craig, a very close friend of Crawley, said he was saddened to hear the news. 

“Fellow Comrades Green Number runner, Lolly Thomson, who remains a good friend of Clive’s wife Trish, was the first to hear the sad news. I was the second. From what I hear, it was a very sudden death and it has come as a huge shock to us," he said. 

Craig said in his 20s, he never really knew Crawley. 

"He was a bank manager when we first started running together. Then it so happened that in 1963, I needed a bank loan of R200 to buy a house, which was a lot of money back then. He approved it without thinking about it. I was baffled and he then turned to me and said, ‘You are a runner, I can trust you.’ We got to know each other over the ensuing 6 decades and ran together every Tuesday and Saturday," he said. 

"Of all the hundreds of athletes I have run with, he was the oldest survivor. I’m glad I spoke to him on his 89th birthday on the 30th of April. I feel richer for the time spent with Clive, when he lived in Himeville and then in Stellenbosch. It was fun to run with a thorough gentleman and a true legend. When he turned 60 years of age, we ran 60km. On his 70th birthday, we ran 70km. And then when our running days were over, we cycled that many kilometres. Clive lived a life worth living," he added. 

"We are deeply saddened by the news of Clive’s passing. His Quadruple Green Number achievement of 42 Comrades finishes, especially being the first to achieve such a milestone, best time of 6:11:19, and distinct honour of being the holder of Green Number 1 for perpetuity, is nothing short of phenomenal. Clive’s impact on the race and the inspiration he held for so many Comrades runners has left a void that few could ever fill," CMA Chairperson, Cheryl Winn said. 

She said the association's thoughts and well wishes were with the Crawley family. 

"We wish you strength during this difficult time and thank both Clive and Trish for their huge contribution to the Comrades Marathon and running in general. For many years Clive served on the old Natal Marathon Runners Association, a forerunner of today’s KZNA and numerously represented KZN over various distances and age categories," Winn said. 

Fred McKenzie of Westville Athletics Club described Crawley as a legend. 

"He inspired many of us to aim high and achieve more. I was definitely in the company of legends back then. Our sincere condolences to Trish and his family. May he RIP," he said. 


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