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Synopsis

It is the world's largest and oldest ultramarathon race. It is a festival celebrating the triumph of human spirit over adversity. It has a camaraderie that enables ordinary mortals to overcome human fragility and perform beyond their wildest expectations. In the words of Comrades marvel Bruce Fordyce, this race 'can inspire ordinary people to do extraordinary things, and it brings out the best in all of us. This race has a power to transform, to inspire and to motivate unlike any other'. The official Comrades Marathon: The Ultimate Human Race begins in 1921 and chronologically describes every race in detail, up to 2010's commemorative 85th event. All the legends are here, in their full Comrades glory and human frailty: Arthur Newton, Hardy Ballington, Wally Hayward, Jackie Mekler, Alan Robb, Frith van der Merwe, Bruce Fordyce, and others. But there is also deeply affectionate and admiring coverage of the backmarkers, the ones often called 'the real Comrades runners' - those 'ordinary people' behind the front-runners. This meticulously researched account will certainly inspire all types of athletes, but more than that, it will evoke a sense of wonder at what body and mind can achieve in pursuit of extreme challenge. The heartbreaking and heart-stopping moments are documented alongside the countless successes and triumphs, as well as a rich collection of humourous and quirky anecdotes from Comrades lore. An updated history of the Comrades Marathon is long overdue, and author John Cameron-Dow is uniquely qualified to write about this remarkable athletic event: he holds a prized green number - mark of a ten-time Comrades medallist.

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