30th Comrades looms large
Pietermaritzburg resident and company director, Shaun Meiklejohn, continues to clock up the miles in an incredible ultra distance running career, set to continue at this year’s Comrades Marathon.
With 20 Two Oceans Marathons under the belt and due to run an incredible 30th Comrades on Sunday, June 10, Meiklejohn – who grew up in Carletonville but studied at UKZN – has covered thousands of miles (and that’s only on race day).
Those who have followed the Comrades Marathon over the years, would remember well the 1990s where Meiklejohn featured regularly in the top 10 and won the event in 1995 (5 hrs, 34 min, 02 sec), the same year the Springboks lifted the Rugby World Cup.
In fact, the PMB runner has been a model of consistency in SA ultra-distance running over the years.
The Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathons website records that the evergreen Meiklejohn has run “silver” – covering 56m in under four hours – on 18 occasions.
Of his 29 Comrades finishes, 19 have been in silver medal time (a sub-seven hour finish) and and he has 10 gold medals to his name.
“I started my running career in 1982 which was also the year I ran my first Two Oceans and Comrades Marathons,” says Meiklejohn. “I never had a running background at all. I was a student at the time and just joined some friends who had been running for a year already and I quite enjoyed it.”
Meiklejohn said at the conclusion of this year’s Two Oceans: “Silver is not an easy run at the OMTOM (Two Oceans); it’s a very fast 28km, and actually quite a fast 42km so it’s a race where people can overcook it in the beginning. My plan was to go out and get another silver, which I just managed.”
Next up for the veteran is that special 30th Comrades, in the race’s 93rd edition.
“I am looking forward to it,” he said. “It’s another great race that I have a great relationship with. But I must be honest, I think after that I will reconsider my running. I want to prolong my running career and to do that I think it will be better to run the shorter events.”
Race Director Rowyn James said, “Regarding the route into Durban, athletes will follow the N3 under the Tollgate Bridge and then take the new fly-over into David Webster Street (Leopold) which becomes Bram Fischer Road (Ordinance Road). From there, our runners will turn left into Samora Machel Road (Aliwal Street) which then becomes Masabalala Yengwa Avenue (NMR Avenue).”
James concludes, “Runners will then run contraflow in Masabalala Yengwa Avenue and cross to the north bound lane at Battery Beach Road. They will then take the pathway to the left between the bollards, pass the Virgin Active Gym and turn left into the tunnel before Nino’s and on to the field to the Finish Line at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.”