Running Stories – From the Legends…

This is the sixth story in my series of Running Stories, some of the others can be found here, here and here

I’d like to introduce you to Bruce Fordyce.  Bruce won the Comrades Marathon 9 times in the 80’s.  Now I have to confess, Bruce was part of some of my earliest childhood memories – waking up at 5am to watch the start of the Comrades and then being glued to the TV for the rest of the day until I saw him running over the finish line, arms in the air… Of course back then I didn’t even contenplate running, I was more concerned with getting back at my brothers and ballet!

What made you decide to start running?

I started running on June 17th 1976 (major date!) as a result of sadness following the 1976 Soweto uprisings in which we Wits students had been involved. My girlfriend had also recently broken up with me so I suppose suppressed libido is a good reason, and I had also met a couple of Witsies who had run and their enthusiasm was infectious.

Why the Comrades Marathon?

Comrades was and is part of the South African culture.  If I was going to start running it could only be to run Comrades. (Please direct any negative comments to Bruce!!)

When you are out front in a race, what goes through your mind?

At the front of the race my emotions were  fear, panic and then great joy and sadness.

What is the impact racing like this has had on your body?

Intense racing at stupid distances has left me very stiff and unsupple but otherwise all the other side effects are beneficial.

In my experience I’ve learned some valuable life lessons from endurance racing (like Vaseline has many many uses), what have yours been?

The most valuable lesson that I have learnt from endurance racing is that the worthwhile things in life are always those for which you have to strive for and work for. Winning the lottery might be nice but winning the lottery of life is more satisfying.

Obviously winning a race like the Comrades 9 times gives you “celeb” status, what are the best things you’ve gotten out of being famous??

Fame, if only limited fame, gets you upgrades on plane flights and tables in full restaurants

If you could give 3 points of advice to a newbie what would they be?

Don’t hurry the process. It takes years to achieve your true potential.
Start slowly in races.
Injuries always win

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