at a time when some runners were contenders on the comrades “up run” (durban to pietermaritzburg) and others contenders on the “down run” (pietermaritzburg to durban), fordyce broke the record in both directions. fordyce first entered the comrades marathon as a university student in 1977, placing forty-third out of the 1 678 runners in the field that day. in the comrades down run in 1982, fordyce dominated again, taking victory in 05:34:22, well clear of alan robb’s 05:41:26. he also completed the comrades-london to brighton double, winning it for the second year in succession.
fordyce won the london to brighton marathon for the third time in a row in 1983, in the course of which he set a world record for 50 miles (80.45 kilometres), cementing his reputation as the finest ultra-marathon athlete in the world. the year 1991 signalled the end of an era as fordyce was beaten for the first time in over a decade, with nick bester taking the line honours. he has also used the profile he established as a sporting hero to give back to south africans in his role as ceo of the sports trust, an independent body established in 1995 to fund sports development in the country.
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