Hall of Honour officially opens

2017-08-09 06:03
At the official opening of the Mick Winn Hall of Honour last Wednesday (from left) Jeff Minnaar, Sifiso Nzuza and Mick Winn. PHOTO: Supplied

At the official opening of the Mick Winn Hall of Honour last Wednesday (from left) Jeff Minnaar, Sifiso Nzuza and Mick Winn. PHOTO: Supplied

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THE Comrades Marathon Association honoured its founding chairperson by naming the hall at Comrades Marathon House in Scottsville, Pietermaritzburg, after him.

The Mick Winn Hall of Honour was officially opened by CMA chairperson, Sifiso Nzuza on Wednesday, August 2.

Thomas Michael Winn (87), a retired pharmacist, has been associated with the Comrades Marathon for more than 50 years. He completed 12 Comrades Marathons between 1964 and 1975 with a best time of 6:34 and a worst time of 10:52. He is a life member of Collegians Harriers and was the founding chairperson of the Comrades Marathon Association in 1981.

Winn served on the CMA organising, executive committee for 15 years commencing in 1971, and for 12 years as chairperson from 1974 to 1986, during which time the race grew from just under 1000 to just over 10 000 participants.

Under his leadership, Comrades became the first major sporting event in South Africa open to men and women of all races.

He was associated with or personally responsible for many of the innovations which characterise the race, including the abolition of personal seconding and introduction of refreshment stations, the theme song Chariots of Fire, commercial sponsorship, live television coverage, the introduction of the Expo concept, and the decision to buy Comrades Marathon House and initiate the Comrades Marathon Museum, both ideas he brought back after a trip to the New York Marathon.

After retiring as CMA Executive Chairperson in 1986, he continued his association with the event by serving on the CMA Board of Trustees consecutively for the next 20 years, during which time his chief area of responsibility was for the CMA charity portfolio from 1995 to 2006, initially associated with Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund 1995 to 1997, before introducing Amabeadibeadi, which became universally recognised as CMA’s official multi-charity initiative.

Winn has long been regarded as an “elder statesman” at Comrades, and has on many an occasion been called upon to impart his leadership, wisdom and vision, particularly with regard to disputes and/or issues relating to transformation.

In 2014 he was elected chairperson of the newly formed CMA Elders committee, a fellowship and advisory body comprising past leaders of CMA which was formulated to preserve and retain access to the collective wisdom and institutional knowledge relating to the history, traditions and ethics of CMA.

Winn was one of the main initiators and played an instrumental role in the transformation process in athletics, having joined other major sporting administrators in travelling to Harare, during the apartheid years, to engage in breakthrough unity talks with alternative sporting structures

Nzuza said: “We are deeply honoured to officially open the Mick Winn Hall of Honour at Comrades House today. Mr Winn has contributed immensely to the Comrades Marathon Association and it is in this vein that we thank him for his input with this meaningful acknowledgement.”

CMA Heritage & Traditions Chairperson, Jeff Minnaar said: “I am honoured to be part of this meaningful exercise for someone who has been a mentor to me for nearly half a century. His knowledge and experience of the sport of road-running and the Comrades Marathon in general is phenomenal.” - Supplied.

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