Namibians win 45 medals at Comrades

Some of the Namibian athletes who competed at the Comrades Marathon. Photo: contributed

Namibian long distance athletes won at least 45 medals at the 97th Comrades Marathon between Pietermaritzburg and Durban last Sunday. 

Following our original report on 13 June about Namibian athletes at the Comrades, another marathon athlete Peter-Jac de Klerk has come forward and provided more information about Namibians competing at the world-famous event. 

According to De Klerk, Namibia had 45 athletes competing, all of whom completed the marathon within the cut-off time of 12 hours. 

All 45 athletes won medals which were determined by their finishing times. 

Les Trollope was the only Namibian to win the Silver Medal for finishing the marathon in less than seven and a half hours, after finishing 269th overalli n 6 hours 54 minutes 55 seconds. 

Namibia had five athletes who completed the marathon in less than nine hours to win the Bill Rowan Medal. They are Frans Amakali, who came 1 221st in 7:52:42; Harold Akwenye, who came 1 428th in 8:00:50; Peter Ikondja, who came 1 631st in 8:11:01; Harriet Knott, who came 2 607th in 8:42:56; and Eldo Nel, who came 2 857th in 8:47:47. 

A further 11 Namibian athletes won the Robert Mtshali Medal for finishing the marathon in under 10 hours; 14 Namibians won the Bronze Medal for finishing the marathon in under 11 hours; and another 14 Namibians won the Vic Clapham Medal for completing the marathon in under 12 hours. 

A total of 12 Namibian athletes also won back-to-back medals for completing two successive Comrades Marathons. 

The Namibian team was spearheaded by Namibia’s Comrades ambassador, Frans Amakali, and included a number of Comrades veterans who have all received green numbers for completing more than 10 Comrades Marathons. They are Eliza Steyl with 11 medals, Werner Bachmann (14 medals), Achim Herma (18 medals), and Joe Absai with a remarkable 21 medals.

The Namibian team included 15 novice runners and represented a diverse array of running clubs from the central and coastal regions of Namibia. Amakali expressed ambitious plans to expand Namibia’s presence at future Comrades Marathons to at least 100 athletes.

Gratitude was also expressed to the overwhelming support received from families, friends and followers during the event’s build-up, as well as on race day. A special mention was made of the Namibian supporters along the route, whose presence added an extra layer of motivation and encouragement to the team.

“Namibia’s performance at the 97th Comrades Marathon underscores the nation’s growing prominence in the world of long-distance running, promising an exciting future for Namibian athletes on the international stage,” De Klerk added. 

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