Comrades: 4 ride from Cape Town

2011-05-28 00:00

FOUR determined athletes left Cape Town last week, embarking on a 1 700 km trip to the Comrades start line.

Today, John McInroy, Paul Blake, WP van Zyl and Lourens van Zyl will arrive after re-enacting the feat by the Comrades youngest winner, Phil Masterton-Smith.

In 1933, having won only two years earlier, Masterton-Smith was unable to afford the train fair to Pietermaritzburg to compete in the race, so he cycled for nine days and then ran the almost 90 km race. Masterton-Smith ran for the Natal Carbineers when he won the race — at only 19 years old. He was killed in 1942 while fighting in the Western Sahara.

When McInroy and his fellow cyclists heard of Masterton-Smith’s achievement, they decided to attempt the feat this year, the 90th anniversary of the marathon. They hope to raise funds in support of breast cancer. As members of “redsockfriday”, the team has had global support. Redsockfriday has its origins in the same war that took Masterton-Smith’s life, when three friends made a pact. Two of the friends did not return from the war, but in their memory, the third friend wore red socks every Friday.

WP van Zyl said, “Once I heard what Phil Masterton-Smith had done, the seed of his feat kept growing in my mind. Sharing that dream with other red sockers exponentially grew the passion and the reality of doing it.”

The team will be running the Comrades in the colours of the Natal Carbineers, and in their red socks.

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