South African Athletics

Ex-Comrades winner dies

2014-06-18 12:41
Comrades Logo (File)
Cape Town - George Claassen, a former Comrades winner, has passed away at the age of 97.

Claassen, who was the father of ex-Springbok rugby captain Wynand, won the 1961 Comrades Marathon and was a notable member of the Comrades Green Number Club.

During his Comrades running years - 1960 to 1977 - Claassen had earned two gold, four silver and four bronze medals to his name, claiming third position in 1960 and his winning title in 1961.

Former Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) Chairperson and Green Number Club convener, Barry Varty, reflected on news reports of Claassen's win at the 1961 Comrades.

“George Claassen was greeted by Vic Clapham, founder of the Comrades Marathon, as he crossed the finish line. It was a great moment!”

Varty said the Claassen family has over the years made a significant contribution to the Comrades Marathon Association.

"George is the father of Wynand Claassen, the Springbok Rugby captain from 1981 to 1984. Wynand was also involved in the restoration of Comrades House for the official opening in 1988. There is a plaque at Comrades House to this effect."

On Claassen's death, Varty said: "Another great Comrades veteran fades in the light of the setting sun. Sadly his race is now over, and we on the road, don't say goodbye. We say 'Carry on George, we'll catch you later’".

Claassen's memorial service will be held at 11:00 on Monday, June 23 at NG Kerk, Bloubergstrand.

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