First Official Comrades Women’s Winner at Museum Opening

First Official Comrades Women’s Winner at Museum Opening

The Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) was honoured to have 1975 Comrades Women’s Winner, Betty Cavanagh at the opening of the newly revamped Comrades Museum recently.

85 year old Cavanagh, who resides in Pietermaritzburg, is recognised as the first official female winner of The Ultimate Human Race back in 1975. She truly delighted the audience with her presence.

Betty Cavanagh at the Comrades Museum Opening Photo: Jonathan Burton ©

Betty Cavanagh at the Comrades Museum Opening Photo: Jonathan Burton ©

The 1975 edition of the Comrades Marathon was a notable one as it was the first year that both females and people of all races were allowed to officially participate in the race.

The humble former winner grabbed more hearts as she donated her 1975 Comrades Winners Blazer to the Museum. CMA Heritage & Traditions Sub-Committee Head, Jeff Minnaar who received the Winners Blazer from Cavanagh said, “This is a special moment in Comrades history. This Comrades keepsake, having belonged to the very first official Women’s Winner of the Comrades Marathon will now occupy a very special place in our Museum.”

Minnaar added, “We are indebted to Mrs Cavanagh for the courage and determination that she displayed in the 1975 Comrades Marathon; going on to win the Women’s race and continuing to be a role model to female runners everywhere and for being an inspirational ambassador for The Ultimate Human Race.”

The proud Green Number holder has ten Comrades medals under her belt, having run her first unofficial Comrades in 1970. All of her Comrades races prior to 1975 have since been verified and recognised by the CMA retrospectively.

CMA Chairperson, Macdonald Chitja said, “We were deeply honoured to have Mrs Cavanagh with us at the official opening of our Comrades Museum. She is an incredible warm and humble person who has captured many hearts since winning the Comrades Women’s Race four decades ago.”