The Running Comic

As one of the funniest guys of running in South Africa, Rory Petzer is almost always laughing (in between eating)… except in the 2022 Comrades. He reckons he had nothing to smile about that day! Happily, the 2023 race went much, much better, and now he’s ready to take on the running world. As long as it doesn’t keep him away from his dogs too long, and he can be left in peace to think of his next jokes. Let’s just say there’s a lot going on in this comedian’s head! – By Sean Falconer 

Dreams Do Come True

It’s been a fantastic year for Thabang Mosiako, with scintillating performances over the 10km and half marathon distances that have thrust him into the top three or four on the all-time South African performance lists. He recently led Team South Africa to a bronze medal at the World Road Running Champs, and there appears to be more to come from this prodigiously talented athlete, but it wasn’t so very long ago that he was in despair and thinking of hanging up his running shoes for good. – BY Manfred  Seidler

Tshwane Confirms SPAR Grand Prix Expectations

With her fourth consecutive win in the 2023 SPAR Grand Prix Series in Tshwane, two-time defending series champion Tadu Nare of Ethiopia wrapped up her third series win in a row. Meanwhile, the Tshwane leg of SPAR Women’s Challenge made a welcome return after its COVID-enforced hiatus, and thousands of women took to the roads for either a 10km or 5km outing.

Tourist in My Own Town

When they talk about a scenic race with a stunning view, they normally don’t mean running straight up a skyscraper, but if it’s a view you’re after, then the Ponte Challenge is well worth the climb. It may not be specifically running-related, but it is an interesting fitness challenge, and in a quite iconic location in Joburg, for good measure. – By Juliana Ambrosi with Sean Falconer 

Long Wait Finally Over

They say that if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again until you do. Well, Eugene Lekay must have that advice imprinted on his psyche, because the man who has started the Comrades Marathon 21 times in the last 25 years finally earned his 10th medal in 2023 and claimed his Comrades race number 17696 in perpetuity. This is his story of a quarter of a century journey to a Green Number, with numerous challenges along the way, but also a testament to one runner’s determination to achieve his goal. – By Sean Falconer 

What a World Champs! (Just not for South Africa…)

The 2023 World Athletics Championships took place in Budapest, Hungary in the last week of August, and what an incredible meet it turned out to be! We saw nine days of World Records, Championship Records, Area Records, National Records, season bests and personal bests, watched enthralling competitions and incredible moments of sporting camaraderie, and basked in what was one of the best World Champs meets of all time. (OK, it wasn’t so good from a South African perspective, but that aside, it was a great meet.) Modern Athlete had two reporters at the event, courtesy of PUMA South Africa, doing daily coverage and interviews, and now it’s time for a look back at some of the highlights of wonderful week of athletics action. – By Sean Falconer & World Athletics