Moodley family runs 90 Comrades in total

Twins, Kovalan and Komalan Moodley at this year’s Comrades Marathon.

Twins, Kovalan and Komalan Moodley at this year’s Comrades Marathon.

Published Jun 13, 2024


Taking on the ultimate human race, the Moodleys have completed a total of 90 Comrades Marathon runs among four of their family members.

This year, Kovalan Moodley, 64, completed his 40th run, from Durban to Pietermaritzburg. His first Comrades was in 1984.

"And I have never missed running a marathon since then," said Kovalan, whose wife, Laura, completed 10 Comrades.

Kovalan Moodley and his wife, Laura.

His twin brother, Komalan Moodley, completed 37 Comrades Marathons, and his daughter Rudelle Wendy Moodley, finished her third run.

Rudelle Wendy Moodley.

Kovalan, from Lenasia South, in Gauteng, has accumulated an array of silver, bronze and copper medals.

He said doctors advised him not to run the Comrades for two years after he underwent spinal surgery in 2017 but six weeks after the operation he began walking.

"By the end of February 2018, I was running and in April of that year, I qualified for the marathon," said Kavalan.

During the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020 and 2021 he ran the virtual Comrades Marathon.

He said he "pushed my body to its limits again" during this year's race.

“I had the flu and it got worse, leading to pneumonia. The doctor administered an injection a day before the Comrades. I was given medication and advised to rest. But I could not rest. I knew I had to complete my 40th Comrades Marathon. I was determined to run and my brother never left my side. We ran the race together and completed it in 11 hours and 46 minutes,” he said.

Kovalan said the Comrades was not just a marathon to him. It was his lifestyle.

“I believe that what I start, I must finish,” he said.

His wife has been his pillar of strength during his journey and he was her inspiration to run the Comrades. He said she threw him a party before he left for Durban.

Laura, who did not compete this year, said: “He is my inspiration. His mum used to run with her sons and she was always there when they competed and trained. She told me that just as she supported her sons, she hoped their wives would support them too. I supported my husband and always will."

The couple have two children and four grandchildren.

Komalan, from Durban, said their late mother, Kanaganbal, was an accomplished field and track athlete.

He said he was concerned about his brother’s health and ran alongside him.

“I could never have left him and run my own race. We have run together since we were teenagers. We worked together in Nampak and ran to work and back home together every day. I was happy to be by his side during his milestone run. I intend to run many more Comrades as long as God spares me and gives me strength,” he said.

Komalan’s daughter, Rudelle, 35, said she was inspired by her dad and uncle and took on her first Comrades Marathon when she was 21.

She then stopped running and after 12 years, and with the help of her father, who again inspired her to get fit and start running, she was back running the Comrades.

“Life happened. Before I knew it, 12 years went by and I weighed 92kg. My dad encouraged me to exercise and he started training me. I lost 20kg and qualified for the Comrades in 2023. I ran again this year."

Rudelle, a mother of two, enjoys running with her younger son, who she hoped would also compete in the Comrades one day.

“Seeing my dad and uncle running inspired me when I was younger and it continues to inspire our children. They are our heroes. We will continue their legacy,” she said.