The Comrades Marathon – a marathon in name only

Two years ago Barry Maitland-Stuart was fighting for his life with throat and neck cancer. This year he ran his first Comrades and returned home with a Bill Rowan medal. Here is his inspiring story…


Most of us have heard the proverb that it takes a village to raise a child. In running terms, it takes several of them to get to the end of Comrades. This is a run that, as the payoff line suggests, takes all of you. Everything within and everyone without. Whilst training for the 90km run might require months of selfishness, the race becomes a day of beautiful human selflessness.

As a relative novice, having run nothing more than a handful of half-marathons, the Comrades felt like an insurmountable distance when I decided to enter the race. I’d not only need to get up the mileage to complete a marathon but I’d need to finish it in under five hours if I wanted to qualify. The thing is, I’d only ever wanted to run Comrades if I felt I could achieve a Bill Rowan medal for finishing under the original 1923 winning time of nine hours (probably to console myself that there existed a time in history when a middle-of-the-pack runner like me could have won a race). So any marathon time over three and a half hours wasn’t really going to cut it.

Read more about this inspiring story here.