MEMOIRS OF A CAREER.
392pp incl index and bibliography. Pages lightly tanned. Illustrated with graphs and tables. 8 page photographic insert colour and b+w. Clean and well bound with no inscriptions, markings or annotations. Front cover scuffed to lower edge.
ON RUNNING THE COMRADES …
Then I see the finish line. On the left, a haggard group of runners, on the right the elegant figure of Mick Winn, the race organizer. In his had is the finishing pistol, the discharge of which will signal a silver death.
I am still ten metres short of the line when he turns his back, and the pistol arches agonisingly skywards. My last coherent thought is whether our happy friendship is about to end.
As Chris Chataway noted, it is in moments like these when a person forces himself to the limit and, in emerging from the challenge intact, will know more about himself, his character, his limitations, his emotions and his strengths, than any man who has never in some direction forced himself to his very limit.
The only requirement, and the common bond that links all Comrades runners, is the need … to take the paths least travelled, to go against the common stream, to search for the unattainable, and finally, as Menander said, to accept that we have no option: A man’s nature and way of life are his fate, and that which he calls his fate is but his disposition.
So for several years, because I had no choice but to follow my fate, on 31 May, between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. you would have found me in mind, if not in body, somewhere on the Old Main Road between Pietermaritzburg and Durban, secure in the knowledge each time that this was my year, that this year I would finally defeat the coward within, and so commence the hero’s life.
I did not know it then, but by 1978, after I’d run my third Comrades Marathon, I had discovered my life’s calling.