Comrades double winners

2015-05-28 06:00

WHILE the Comrades Marathon boasts its own “big five” runners who have won the race in three consecutive years — Arthur Newton, Dave Bagshaw, Alan Robb, Bruce Fordyce and Stephen Muzhingi — there are a handful of runners who have done the double through the years.

Other than those already mentioned, there were some remarkable achievements in the early years of the race.

One was Bill Savage, who won the 1932 up run only to return to the winner’s enclosure 16 years later to win the 1948 up run. Even more remarkable was Wally Hayward’s feat. A five-time winner of the race and the first man to beat six hours on the 1953 down run, he won his first race in 1930 as a 21-year-old.

Regarded by many as the finest Comrades runner of them all, Hayward returned to the race 20 years later in 1950, winning then and in 1951. He was denied a hat-trick in 1952 as he represented South Africa in the Olympic Marathon at the 1952 Helsinki games. He returned to do the double again in 1953 and 1954.

Five time winners Hardy Ballington and Jackie Mekler also notched up consecutive wins, Ballington in 1933/34 and Mekler in 1963/64.

Bill Cochrane’s double wins were in 1935 and 1946, the latter year setting a record never to be equalled when a mere eight finishers were recorded.

Other notable double winners have been Johnny Coleman (1937/39), Trevor Allen (1952/59), Gerald Walsh (1955/56) and Derek Preiss (1974/75).

Then the international runners arrived on the scene and Russian Dmitri Grishine won in 1996/98 and the small but powerful Vladimir Kotov from Belarus took three titles in 2000, 2002 and 2004, earning a hat-trick of up run wins. -Supplied

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