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Louis ‘Machine’ Massyn


In
1972, a young Louis Massyn, then 22, was sitting in the Anglican Church in
Odendaalsrus when the Bishop of Bloemfontein compared his bible text to the
Comrades Marathon. “As the bishop was preaching, it slowly dawned on me that I
had to run the Comrades Marathon. Not later in life, but now.” So early in 1973,
he bought a pair of adidas running shoes for R4.99 in Pietermaritzburg and completed
his first race ever run, the Comrades Marathon.

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He
has gone on to finish 39 consecutive Comrades, earning 10 silver medals along
the way and recording a best time of 6:25, as well as running 37 consecutive
Two Oceans Marathons. And this year he will going for his 40th
Comrades, alongside another runner with 39 consecutive medals, Barry Holland.
Only Dave Rogers (44), Clive Crawley (42), Kenny Craig (40) and Riel Hugo (40)
have reached the 40 mark before, and only Kenny and Riel were able to do so in
consecutive years. “My current goal is to finish my 40th Comrades,
and then I want to reach Dave’s record of 44 medals.” Louis also has Noel
Stamper’s Two Oceans record of 41 consecutive medals in his sights – he is
currently tied with Riel in second place on the overall list of Oceans medals.

 

Louis
says it’s not just about records, though; he believes strongly that you need to
enjoy yourself, otherwise what is the point? “I made the decision after my 10th
Comrades silver that it would be my last and now it was time to just have fun
on the road. So I hope to cross the finish line at Comrades this year in 10
hours, and I might just be meeting up with the Barry Holland 10:30 Bus.”

 

Louis’s
house is filled with Comrades memorabilia and one can spend hours perusing the
veritable museum display. He has kept every pair of running shoes in which he
ran the Comrades, and has framed numbers and beautifully arranged medals all
over the house. And with Comrades such an important part of his lifestyle, his
overall goal for the race comes as no surprise: “My Comrades goal will always
remain to run the race until my body will no longer carry me.”


David Londt ready for his first!

Back in the day, David
used to be able to run a 10km in 40 minutes effortlessly, but things changed
somewhat after school. His health went on a downward spiral due to unhealthy
lifestyle habits, and soon he weighed a hefty 98kg. “As a result of this, I
began to suffer from depression and was even put on medication, but the running
spark was reignited when I went on holiday to KwaZulu-Natal. It was Comrades
day when I drove down to the coast from Pietermaritzburg, and as I watched all
the runners, I sensed I was missing something big.”

 

So, after seven years
away from running, David joined Bedfordview Country Club and decided 2012 would
be his year to complete the Ultimate Human Race. “I have lost 18 kilos since
then, eat properly and am a lot healthier and happier.” He qualified at the Township
Marathon and set his sights on doing a 10:30 Comrades, provided his left
Achilles didn’t object: “It always seems to say ‘hello’ over the longer
distances, so hopefully it won’t give too much trouble on the day.”

 

After Comrades, David’s
goal is to reach the times he ran over shorter distances while still at school,
but for now, he has his sights firmly set on a Comrades medal. “I couldn’t be
doing Comrades if it wasn’t for my powerful support group that keep me strong
and motivated, my family, friends and my awesome colleagues at First National
Bank Infrastructure and Vendor Management. They have all been by my side
through thick and thin, and have always been there to support me in all aspects
of my running. Comrades 2012, here I come!”

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