On this day in 1989, Samuel Tshabalala made history when he became the first black athlete to win the Comrades Marathon.
After scooping the coveted medal, Tshabalala was unfortunately injured in a car accident in 1991. He was able to recover and returned to the race in later years, achieving four silver medals. In 1998, he was awarded the prestigious Platinum Medal by the Comrades Marathon Association in recognition of his contribution to the event.
Athletes flock to South Africa from all over the world every year to take part in the race. They run the 90 kilometres between the cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban. The Comrades was run for the first time on 24 May, 1921 and with the exception of a break during World War II, has been run every year since.
The first Comrades had only 34 entrants. To date, over 300,000 runners have completed the race.
Initially, black athletes were barred from participating in the race, but the ban was lifted in 1975.
Runners over the age of 20 qualify when they are able to complete an officially-recognised marathon (42.2 km) in under five hours. During the event, an athlete must also reach five cut-off points in specified times to complete the race.
The spirit of the Comrades Marathon is said to be embodied by attributes of camaraderie, selflessness, dedication, perseverance and Ubuntu.
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