'Comrade' Gerda still dares to dream of the Ultimate Human Race
JOHANNESBURG – Gerda Steyn still gets goosebumps when she talks about her incredible Comrades Marathon victory from earlier this year, while Edward Mothibi refers to it as “a day I will never forget” and dreams of adding another title.
At the launch of the 2020 edition of the Ultimate Human Race, the two champions received their winners’ blazers and shared just what it means to be living the dream of any an aspiring ultra marathon runner.
“Receiving this jacket brings back all the memories of that day.
“It’s been a few months now, but every time someone congratulates me it feels just like it did that day,” Steyn, who ran the best Up Run time ever - 5hr 58min 53sec said. “It will always be in my heart and just standing here is an amazing feeling.”
Steyn believes that the Comrades is a great vehicle to market South Africa.
“The most amazing thing is that since that win, I have not heard anyone say a negative thing, everyone has been so supportive. And when I stand here, I stand not just as Gerda Steyn but as a proud South African and every time I hear bad news about South Africa, I say you know nothing about our country. The Comrades Marathon is an incredible platform for us to inspire. And to be a part of the winners’ circle is so amazing,” Steyn said.
Mothibi, on the other hand, is simply amazed that he got to run the Comrades in the first place.
“I grew up watching Comrades, but I never thought I could run it because it looked too long. But my coach said I could win it. So I will never, ever forget that day,” Mothibi said. “Even if I were to win it again, which I plan to, this one will always be the one I cherish.”
With Steyn and Mothibi having attained some of road running’s wildest dreams, the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) would like to encourage the 27 500 runners who will line up for next year’s 95th edition of the race on 14 June to dream big. And so the slogan for the 2020 race is “Iphupho Lami” which means Dare to Dream.
CMA Board chairperson Cherryl Winn alluded to the inspiring stories of the likes of the late great Martin Luther King Jr as well as football legend Pele who dared to dream as the reason for them going with the slogan.
Entries for the race open on 28 October and will close on 30 November, or when the 27 500 cap has been reached.
The entries cost R600 plus a 15% administration fee and can be done on the Comrades Marathon website.
Of those entries, 7 000 are reserved for novices and 2 500 for international runners.
The prize money for the winners has been upped to R525 000 for both males and females with anyone breaking the Down Run record set to double their loot.
Next year’s race will see all finishers receiving a special commemorative 95th edition medal.