Budd completes first Comrades

Durban - Comrades history was made on Sunday when two legendary South African athletes Zola Budd and Bruce Fordyce crossed the finish line of the 2012 Comrades ultra marathon together. 

For Budd, it was the longest distance she had ever run, while Fordyce finished his 30th Comrades race.

The pair ran the last 25km side by side to finish in 8 hours 6 minutes and 9 seconds. 

Fourty-six-year-old Budd was running in the colours of The Unlimited Running Club and had been mentored by Fordyce in preparation for her race. She had her sights on an 8-hours race and was delighted with her performance.

“This was the hardest race I’ve ever run in my life. The furthest I’ve ever run before was the 56 km in the Two Oceans - so after that it was completely new territory for me. I was doing well, but because of my hypoglycaemia my sugar levels started playing up at the 60km mark. My sugar levels were dipping and rising and I felt really awful and started walking. I was really worried about the 25 kilometres that were still lying ahead of me. I started eating some energy bars and at that stage Bruce came up from behind me and said that we should run together and that he’d talk me through the last stretch,” mentioned Budd after the finish.

“It was an amazing experience and there was this deafening roar when we entered the stadium. People were cheering me on along the way and the Brenda Fassie song was played en route. The most beautiful thing about the race is not the winners or people like myself and Bruce, but the thousands of people, who take time off from work and get up in the dark for at least eight months before the race to prepare. They are the true heroes of this race. Today, I experienced the true Comrades spirit - there is nothing like it in the world!”

Asked about her next planned marathon in Belgium in October, Budd said wryly “at the moment I’m not running anywhere ever again, but ask me again in two days’ time.”
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