Cape Town - The Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) is saddened by news of the death
this past weekend of Comrades gold medallist Riana van Niekerk. She was 39.
Of her seven Comrades
finishes, Van Niekerk managed a top 10 finish four times between 2004 and 2011.
best race was in 2008 when she claimed sixth position. She also won three
Comrades silver medals.
Van Niekerk was also the winner of the 2009 SA
Marathon, with her last victory being at the 2015 Old Mutual Om die Dam 50km.
CMA chairperson, Macdonald Chitja said, “We are very sad to hear of the
passing away of Ms Van Niekerk. She was certainly an outstanding runner with a
passion for the Comrades Marathon; and the running community is poorer with her
CMA vice-chairperson, Cheryl Winn said, “From all that I’ve heard about
Riana, she was beloved in the road running community. She ran fast and
far, but sadly her race was over way too soon.”
CMA General Manager, Chris Fisher said, “Riana’s loss is being felt
throughout the running community where she truly was an inspiration to all. Our
thoughts are with her family and friends. We will miss her.”
CMA Race Director, Rowyn James said, “I got to know Riana in 1996 and
little did I know that our respective paths would be closely aligned and remain
parallel right up until her untimely passing. During this time she was an
incredibly quiet, humble and caring person with a tenacity to dig deep in the
races when the going got tough.”
James added, “To be cut down in the prime of her life and athletic career
is truly tragic as she still had unfinished business. I was honoured,
privileged and blessed to have known such an amazing athlete and person. RIP
Nedbank Running Club Manager, Nick Bester said, “We are deeply saddened
by this loss. Riana was such an inspiration to our club members and always had
time and good words for her team members and the road running community at
Bester added, “Our deepest and heartfelt condolences go out to her
husband Allie who was her best friend and constant companion.”
The memorial service for Van Niekerk
will be held on Thursday, February 18, 2016 at 11:00 at the NG Kerk Wierdapark,
275 Piet Hugo Street, Centurion.