All things running‚ including champ Fusi Nhlapo‚ found at Comrades expo

09 June 2018 - 15:44 By Daniel Mothowagae‚ In Durban
The Comrades Marathon Expo was the biggest attraction before the race on Sunday. 2003 Comrades champion Fusi Nhlapo.
The Comrades Marathon Expo was the biggest attraction before the race on Sunday. 2003 Comrades champion Fusi Nhlapo.
Image: Daniel Mothowagae

A tour at the Comrades Marathon Expo at Durban’s Exhibition Centre gets one into the anatomy of a Comrades runner.

Runners‚ easily identified by their race packs they had just collected‚ showed up in all sizes – tall‚ short‚ thin‚ chubby‚ young and old.

After all‚ the Expo itself is all things running with some of the paraphernalia on display also taking people down the memory lane of the tradition-steeped ultra-marathon.

Exhibition stalls offer anything from knowing the correct type and size of shoe to run in to souvenir materials on sale such as Comrades branded apparel.

The history of the world famous ultra-marathon is also well captured in life size wallpapers where runners and ordinary people had a good time taking selfies against the full colour background complete with the route map.

The Expo was also the last stop for runners to collect their race packs and have their data captured ahead of the race on Sunday.

It also proved to be just the right place to meet‚ especially those who had seemingly gone into obscurity like 2003 Comrades champion Fusi Nhlapo.

He was roaming around with a few elite runners who had come to fulfil the sponsors’ obligations by appearing at meet-and-greet points where fans could snap selfies and autographs.

Now 46‚ Nhlapo still looked almost the same as he did 15 years ago with his trademark rugged ginger hair.

“Winning the Comrades was a life-changing experience for me in many ways but it also taught me to remain humble‚” said the Orange Farm-based runner who will line up in his 14th Comrades run.

Clad in KPMG tracksuit and running shoes‚ Nhlapo is best remembered for following in the footsteps of Andrew Kelehe‚ who led the way for an influx of South African victories after a foreign stronghold on the down run.

“I am glad that our guys have been consistent‚ winning most of the recent editions of the Comrades – both the down and the up runs‚” continued Nhlapo‚ who in addition to his single title‚ boasts 10 gold medals.

The Comrades Expo opened on Thursday and closes on Saturday.