MY COMRADES STORY BY PAUL-L RÖRICH

“Comrades Marathon … 1969

I ran the Comrades Marathon … to see the sea … and when I saw the sea, coming over the hills from Pietermaritzburg, I suddenly realised that I could achieve any dream I ever dreamed if I just persisted.

Every year we had to write a composition of our December school holiday. My fellow classmate Peter’s was always the best and was read out to the class. He wrote about their holiday in Margate, building sandcastles on the beach, swimming in the sea and surfing the waves … and I had never seen the sea. Running the Comrades one day was the only way I could think of to ever see the sea.

Then one day I heard my mother said to our pastor that she saw me running up and down the street, wanting to run the ‘Comrades something’ but she knew I could not. That was the moment I decided that I will run and that I will either complete the race or end up in intensive care. But quit… never!

After the race, on our way back home, I looked at the sea and realised that I could graduate if I wanted to. Being given up for adoption in standard six and told to leave school in standard eight because God gave me a very small brain, was no longer a deterrent. For I realised that the only way out of the problems we had was to attend University.

And I was blessed big time, graduated, lectured at Wits Business School, Oxford University, became Fund Manager of eight of the ten largest pension funds in South Africa … and many more. The Comrades helped to give me the courage that I could and I therefore still treasure my Comrades Medal that was minted in London and delivered by registered post.

 The winner of this month’s Arnica Ice hamper is Paul-L Rörich.