Johannes Mosehla, an 81-year-old runner from Sekhukhune, Limpopo made history at the Comrades Marathon in KwaZulu Natal on Sunday. Mosehla, who is a retired bricklayer, was running his 10th Comrades. He started running in 1963 and says he wants to retire at the age of 85.
On Sunday, the old man became the oldest Comrades Marathon finisher at 9:26:10. He broke the record set by Wally Hayward as the oldest person to complete the race. Hayward ran 10:58:03 in 1989 aged 80.
Meanwhile, Tete Dijana won the Comrades Marathon for the second consecutive year, with a record-breaking time of 5:13:58.He stripped more than four minutes off David Gatebe’s best time of 5:18:19, in 2016.
Gerda Steyn won the women’s race in a time of 5:44:56. She also broke the down-run record, which was previously held by Frith van der Merwe in 1989 at a time of 5:54:43.
JOHANNES MOSEHLA TRIUMPH
Over 2354 international runners from 84 countries entered this year’s Comrades Marathon. The lion’s share of athletes came from India with 403 athletes, Zimbabwe with 255, United Kingdom with 224, USA with 173 and Brazil with 142 runners.
This was the 96th Comrades Marathon, a down run which started at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall at 05h30 and ended 12 hours later at the Hollywoodbets Kingsmead Stadium in Durban.
100 YEARS OF FEMALE PARTICIPATION
The 24th of May 2023 marked a centenary of women’s participation in The Ultimate Human Race. Frances Hayward was the first woman to have unofficially completed the Comrades Marathon in 1923, during a time when the race was only open to white men.
At the age of 30, the intrigue of the Comrades Marathon had caught Hayward’s attention and she sent a letter to Vic Clapham and applied to run in the 1923 race. Her entry left Clapham and the Athletics Association in a state of confusion as they had never had a woman applying to enter any male athletics events before.
After considerable debate, they refused to accept her entry. She sent an immediate response to the association and Vic that she was undaunted by their decision and would therefore run unofficially.
So, on only the third running of the race in 1923, she lined up outside the Pietermaritzburg City Hall with the 68 men who were competing that year.
Frances crossed the line in 11:35:00, in what would have been 28th position in a field of 30 finishers that year