With Comrades fever in the air, it seems to bring out the best comaraderie between athletes as they tackle The Ultimate Human Race. Read how two local runners met when one came to the assistance of another two years ago.
“He’s my hero.”
That’s how Amanzimtoti Athletics Club member Jayne Wright (49) describes Maweza Msane, who came to her rescue after she collapsed a mere 700 metres from the Comrades Marathon finish line in 2016.
With precious seconds ticking away before the 12-hour cut-off gun was about to be fired, the Team Vitality member selflessly stopped to assist Jayne when he saw her collapse in front of him.
“I had a fantastic run,” said Jayne, who was tackling her first Comrades. “I was smiling and laughing all the way, and encouraging people. I had no aches and pains. I didn’t feel terrible at any time. I remember passing Maweza and putting my arm around him.”
But disaster struck opposite the City Hall. “I remember hanging on to the safety fence. The more I tried to stand up, my legs kept buckling.The last thing I remember was four guys stopped and said to me ‘we will help you finish’.”
I remember hanging on to the safety fence. The more I tried to stand up, my legs kept buckling
The four would-be good Samaritians, however continued running, but fortunately Maweza also saw her collapse. “I had to stop to help her,” said Maweza. “I had no concern for my own race.
Fortunately I had my cellphone on me. I only had two numbers on my phone – my wife’s and the ambulance, so I called the ambulance. I waited with Jayne until a Metro policeman said he would wait with her until the paramedics arrived and I should carry on.”
Maweza crossed the line in 11.52 to finish his first ultra marathon. The 54-year-old is now focused on completing back-to-back Comrades.
I had to stop to help her,” said Maweza. “I had no concern for my own race
“I don’t think I will attempt it again. I shouldn’t say no, because with Comrades you never know, but I would like to do more triathlons and trail running, and cycling,” said Jayne, who has completed Sani2C and Joburg2C cycle races.
“I was heartbroken not to finish Comrades. I woke up in the ambulance. I couldn’t answer any of the questions the medics asked me and I was confused why I was dressed in my running clothes. My family didn’t know where I was and they were frantically searching the stadium for me.
When I woke up in the hospital, I felt fine. I could have run another marathon. My legs were not even sore. I was not dehydrated. I did everything right in the build-up to Comrades. My preparation went well and I completed 850km in training from January to the race.”
The spirit of the Comrades Marathon is said to be embodied by the runners’ camaraderie, selflessness, dedication, perseverance and spirit of ubuntu, which Maweza selflessly displayed when he came to Jayne’s aid that afternoon. If she decides not to run the up-run next year, in all likelihood she will be on the side of the road to cheer on her hero as Maweza attempts to complete his back-to-back ultra marathons.
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