Wally Hayward: going the distance

first_imgIn the course of an athletics career spanning 60 years, Wally Hayward excelled at distances ranging from 100 metres to 100 miles.He competed on the track in his early twenties, represented South Africa at the Olympic Games in the standard marathon, and set world long distance records.His defining achievements, however, were reserved for one of the greatest ultra-marathons of them all: the Comrades.One of the world’s greatest ultra-marathons, the 90-kilometre Comrades Marathon is internationally recognised both for the body-sapping challenge it poses and the camaraderie it fosters among its thousands of participants.Run between Pietermaritzburg, capital of Kwazulu-Natal province, and the coastal city of Durban, the race alternates each year between an “up run” from Durban and a “down run” from Pietermaritzburg.First Comrades victoryWally Hayward won his first Comrades Marathon in 1930, at the age of 21, in a time of 7 hours 27 minutes – then returned to racing shorter distances.Earlier in the same year, he had won the national 10-mile championship, and over the course of the next 20 years he became national champion in distances from three miles to the marathon. He was also decorated for his actions during World War Two, being made a Member of the British Empire.When Hayward returned to the Comrades in 1950 he was discounted as a serious contender because of his age – he was 41 years old. That didn’t stop him from taking the lead at halfway and going on to win in a record time of 6 hours 46 minutes – 41 minutes faster than his winning time two decades before.6-hour barrier, 24-hour recordThe following year, in his first attempt at the Comrades down run, he powered his way to a 6 hours 14 minutes victory, slashing 7 minutes and 57 seconds off Johannes Coleman’s 1939 record.Hayward missed the Comrades in 1952 when he competed for South Africa at the Helsinki Olympic Games, but returned in 1953 to become the first athlete to break the six-hour barrier, in a time of 5 hours 52 minutes.In the same year he travelled to England, where he established new records in the London to Brighton Marathon, the Bath to London 100-miler – and a 24-hour track race staged by England’s Road Runners Club at Motspur Park.Hayward’s distance for “the day race” was 256.4 kilometres, a new world best – and a mark not bettered until two decades later, when Englishman Ron Bentley managed 259.6 kilometres.Hayward followed that up in 1954 by breaking his own record for the Comrades up run with a win in 6 hours 12 minutes.Barred from racingHowever, a second visit to England that year cost him dearly when the South African Athletic and Cycling Association declared him a professional for allegedly accepting donations for expenses.The rules of the race at the time meant that Hayward – having established new records for both the up and down runs and equalled the five wins of Arthur Newton and Hardy Ballington – could no longer run the Comrades.His amateur status was only reinstated 20 years later, in 1974, by which time he professed little appetite for racing, though he attended the finish of the Comrades every year to help inspire other runners.Saving the best till lastThen, in 1988, Hayward was persuaded by friends to take part in the race once more. The country was stunned when the 79-year-old crossed the finish line in 9 hours 44 minutes, beating more than half the field.Hayward’s most dramatic moment, however, came the following year, in 1989, when he completed the down run at the age of 80. There was hardly a dry eye in the stadium as he staggered across the line in an obviously distressed state, making the 11 hours cut-off time by a mere 1 minute and 57 seconds.To this day, he remains the oldest finisher in the history of the Comrades Marathon.The Wally Hayward medalWally Hayward died in May 2006 at the age of 97. In November, the Comrades Marathon Association announced that a new medal, the Wally Hayward medal, would be presented to runners for the first time in 2007.The medals are awarded to those runners who fail to earn Comrades gold medals – awarded to the first 10 men and women finishers – but still come in under the six-hour barrier first broken by Hayward in 1953.“The late Wally Hayward was one of the greatest ever Comrades runners, with seven finishes, including five wins,” association chairman Dave Dixon said in announcing the new medal.“He had a remarkable Comrades career that spanned 60 years, and is still the oldest person ever to finish the race.“In creating this medal, the Comrades Marathon Association salutes a man who epitomized the spirit of the race and inspired thousands of men and women to run it.”Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

As Final Four nears, La Salle sets sight on No. 2, twice-to-beat

first_imgSports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next MOST READ Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netMANILA, Philippines—De La Salle has found itself in a lopsided race in chasing league-leader Ateneo for the No.1 seed of the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament, but that doesn’t mean the defending champion will just bow down.The Lady Spikers, who are seeking a fourth straight title, are just pacing themselves for the tougher fight ahead—the Final Four.ADVERTISEMENT NY police arrest fan who attacked wrestler at WWE event Panelo: Duterte ‘angry’ with SEA Games hosting hassles LATEST STORIES View comments PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Duterte wants probe of SEA Games messcenter_img Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess Setter Michelle Cobb said they’re not thinking of the standings that much and the more important thing for them, apart form the championship, is getting that No. 2 seed that will still give them a twice-to-beat advantage come the semifinals.“We don’t really think f the standings that much because our goal is to get one game at a time and as long as we’re in the top two we can get that twice-to-beat advantage,” sad Cobb after the Lady Spikers swept Adamson University 25-15, 25-18, 25-16, Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logistics“I think getting that No. 2 spot is a big thing for us.”La Salle head coach Ramil De Jesus, the owner of all of the Lady Spikers’ 11 titles, shared the same sentiment as Cobb and that he’d rather look at who they will face in the semis if they finish No. 2. SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Hontiveros presses for security audit of national power grid La Salle improved to 8-3 after beating the Lady Falcons to tighten its grip of the second spot while the Lady Eagles pushed their winning streak to 10 games and their 10-1 card puts them two games above the Lady Spikers.Ateneo also clinched a Final Four spot and moved a win away from gaining twice-to-beat.“What’s important for us is to get that no.2 spot in the standings because getting that no.1 seed is near impossible,” said De Jesus in Filipino. “I just want to know who we’re facing and who we’ll have to go through.”ADVERTISEMENT DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Philippine Arena Interchange inauguratedlast_img read more