Egoli actor's nightmare Comrades

2010-06-02 11:40

Pretoria - Pretty much every Comrades athlete can tell stories about nightmarish experiences before the race.

But Egoli actor David Vlok's 20th Comrades on Sunday was truly one enormous nightmare.

It started at 04:45 on Sunday morning when his friend, Candice Cullinan, called to wish him luck for the
Comrades, and to ask what the weather was like in Pietermaritzburg.

"I thought it was a nightmare, but it was true."

"I wasn't at the starting line, I was in my hotel bed in Durban," said Vlok, 47, in Midrand on Tuesday.

No one woke him up

He hadn't set an alarm and hoped one of his club mates in the Nedbank team would call to wake him up.

When Vlok eventually arrived in Pietermaritzburg and ran 3km to the starting line, he saw the electronic mat - which all participants have to cross – was being rolled up.

"The people there must have thought I was crazy. I had just come from the direction the athletes were running toward."

"One of the officials there refused to let me start because I was late, but people who were still hanging around there begged and pleaded with him to let me run."

"He wouldn't relent, and I started crying out of pure frustration, and eventually I ran past him. I was going to run to Durban, and no-one was going to stop me from completing my 20th Comrades."

Ran at full speed

It was 06:20 (the other athletes were already 50 minutes gone) and he ran into the darkness in the direction of Durban (89.28km away), with the angry official at his heels.

Like a real-life Forest Gump, Vlok ran, at full speed, and kept on running.

"At one stage a policeman - his name was John - saw me and asked me where I was going."

"I said I'd started late. He switched on his sirens and blue lights, and soon there were three police vehicles and an ambulance escorting me."

"At the water points people were already cleaning up. A few people recognised me and cheered me on."

Had cramps and vomited

About 15km outside Pietermaritzburg, he caught up with the stragglers in "Vlam's bus" (led by Vlam Pieterse from Hartbeespoort).

"When Vlam heard my story, he said: 'David, calm down, I'll take you home (to Durban)'. From all the stress and running so fast, I had started cramping and vomiting."

"But I calmed down in 'Vlam's bus'. After the halfway mark I felt much better and started running better and feeling stronger. When I was approaching the finishing line at about 16:45, Dave Dixon and Peter Proctor (chair and deputy chair of the Comrades) were standing there, waiting."

"I thought they were going to say I'd been disqualified."

"I told them what happened and Dave (Dixon) said he believed me and I would be able to get my double green number. Then we cried together."

  • Nick - 2010-06-02 11:58

    This is why SA is in so much K@K, certain people believe they are above the rules and regulations laid down for mere mortals. If this guy was fust Joe Soap the police would have arrested him on the officials advice. When will people get it. Rules are rules, how does anyone know if this guy got a lift in a car or on a bike, he ran for 15KM all on his own!!!!!!!CHEAT

  • Tommy - 2010-06-02 12:07

    Nice story, but do you always cry so easily David? You sound like a real baby....Jeez.

  • jeremy - 2010-06-02 12:07

    About to compete in his 20th Comrades and he hadn't set an alarm clock and "hoped one of his clubmates...would wake him up." He deserved to have a nightmare race....

  • @jeremy,tommy.nick - 2010-06-02 12:26

    You wankers have obviously never run a Comrades before, let alone stood the change of achieving 20!

  • andries - 2010-06-02 12:30

    Well he did NOT get a lift on a bike or a car as I was one of the backmarkers and he passed me running very well. Well done David.

  • Jason - 2010-06-02 12:43

    Nick, you cold hearted bastard, lighten up and be happy that the guy got to finish the race. I am pretty sure he wasn't up for any prize money.

    Although I do agree, not setting an alarm clock wasn't the brightest idea.

  • Elize - 2010-06-02 12:44

    Well done David, mense so Nick, Tommy,Jeremy weet nie hoe dit voel nie, wonder of hulle hardloop. Ek het my 10de gedoen hierdie jaar en sou ook enige iets gedoen het om die klaar te maak. Ons weet waaroor dit gaan!!!!!!

  • JD - 2010-06-02 12:45

    This guy did his 20th comrades. You bunch of lazy fat idiots can't even walk the 3km's he had to run to the starting line. Why not just keep your idiotic comments to yourself.

  • Bluebelle - 2010-06-02 13:12

    He should have been disqualified. End of story.

  • Leighshe - 2010-06-02 13:15

    I was one of those in Vlam's bus and seeing what David looked like when he reached us was proof enough that he had run. We were going slowly - run/walk. David is a sub 8hr comrades runner, he could easily have caught us in that time, besides there were many people who saw him at the start.
    None of you know what an event such as comrades is about from an emotional perspective. I have seen men harder than nails cry at the start and finish of comrades. Yes i agree he shld have set his own alarm but the obvious is not so obvious the day before Comrades.
    It's not about being an ordinary Joe Soap, I believe Dave Dixon would have given it to any athlete in the same position going for their 20th run. David had already accepted that he was running unofficially and we were all behind him getting his official finish. Don't always believe everything you read in the news, the above article is slightly distorted as well.

  • Sam - 2010-06-02 13:37

    Well Done David for not giving up, when people make mistakes it is so easey to give up, but you kept going. Congratulations 20 is an awesome number!

  • JustinF - 2010-06-02 13:46

    I dont Like this Vlok guy, i have completed 7 Comrades and 3 of those I ran a little of the way with him (and Bruce Fordyce once)...I found Vlok to be very arrogant and just full of himself! But in this case i agree With Mr vlok! No rules were broken (go check the rules as published on the comrades site), as long as he Made the relevant cut off times...then no Prob...Literally at ever race that is held there are athletes that start late...
    And yes its worth a cry or two...even completing just one is more than enough to make a the "toughest" of men shed a few tears!!

    Well done Mr Vlok on 20 it is an achievement which very few People will ever understand

  • Shaun - 2010-06-02 14:16

    Ag come one people. Give the guy a break. It's not like he commited a crime. I rather think it's quite cool him running away from the officials. :) Go David. Well done dude. I would have also took a chance and ran for it. If I was that fit. hahaha

  • Sparky - 2010-06-02 15:30

    how tragic! I hope David gets over his ordeal. So the rules are different for everyone? Good to know.

  • Alarm Time - 2010-06-02 16:01

    This could form part of the script for a soapie....

  • Paul - 2010-06-02 16:13

    Well done David. Not many people will persist like you did. Congrats on your 20th.

  • Mick - 2010-06-02 18:26

    Must agree with the above statements. If this was SO important, SURELY you would have ensured that you would be up with time to spare. The ONLY reason you got away with it, was because of your 'status'. Pffffffffft

  • Sipho - 2010-06-02 19:16

    The New BLoody South Africa, you get away with murder, its ridiculous, he should have been disqaulified, disgruntled Comrades Runner!!!

  • Gerhard - 2010-06-02 19:51

    I'll tell you why SA is in so much KAK, Nick and Jeremy. It's because of oke's like you guys. The aggro of SA men is just becoming like a circus. It's a race, not life or death. Yes it has rules, but it's called "Comrades" for a reason. Look it up, get educated.

  • Karin - 2010-06-02 22:58

    Why are comments by readers on this website always so flippen nasty?
    Congrats David, you did what very little of us have the guts for - and you did it 20 times over.

  • Abby - 2010-06-02 23:25

    Humorous story, but it's all about the spirit right?

  • George - 2010-06-03 04:33

    If it was an unknown person, he would have been arrested & disqualified. It is unfair towards others - take away his double green numbers and remove him from the 2010 list. Another shame on the organizers of the Comrades

  • Herman - 2010-06-03 07:37

    Nick, you sound like a wobbling gramophone record! Ag please man, cheer up and do not comment on things you obviously don't have any clue about.

  • Blitsie - 2010-06-03 08:07

    Whenever I have to run a race I set two alarm clock. I can't believe that a seasoned athlete can be so naive to hope that someone would wake him up.

  • Jo - 2010-06-03 08:31

    Well done on finishing the race David. But heavens alive, to be so cavalier about setting your alarm on such an important occasion - let it be a lesson to never assume anything, in this case that your mates would wake you up!

  • salmon - 2010-06-03 08:36

    what a idiot! they should D/Q him. baby!

  • kez - 2010-06-03 08:49

    he finished in good time when he was 50 minutes behind the runners. so i wonder

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