Pietermaritzburg - Veteran athlete Barry Holland will bid to complete his 46th Comrades Marathon this Sunday and extend the record for most finishes in the race.
“I’m very proud about the record; it has been a very long journey. I’ve been running since I was 20 years old and I’ve run every race since then,” he said from his home in Durban yesterday.
Holland jointly holds the record for the most completed Comrades finishes with Louis Massyn and Dave Rogers, who has stopped running.
“I’m hoping to run about 10 hours and 50 minutes on Sunday. I’m running with my daughter and it’s her first run, so I’m expecting it to be a very special and emotional day with her,” he said.
The 66-year old said the most interesting thing over the years was the difficulty to achieve certain goals. He said it took a great deal of hard work and dedication to get certain goals and milestones that were normally time-based, like the Comrades.
“I originally wanted to get less than seven hours and I battled to do that for a very long time. Overcoming that obstacle by thinking, strategising and unpacking my training has been the most interesting thing over the years,” he said.
When speaking about the difficulties faced during the race, Holland said a runner needed great discipline and a “good head” to get through certain questions, such as “why am I doing this?”, halfway through the marathon. “Your mental side is bigger than the physical side. I’d say it’s 70% mental and 30% physical [running the race]. If you haven’t got it, then you’ll never be a good Comrades runner. A runner should be disciplined,” he stressed.
Holland will be part of 811 runners who are over 60 years old.