The Vanishing Comrades Marathon Runner

TranquilpenStarred Page By Tranquilpen, 23rd May 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Short Stories

On 24th May, 1921 the first Comrades Marathon was run by Vic Clapham, ex World War One veteran and 34 other runners, who initiated it as a reunion. Clapham wanted to remember those who had fallen in the war by ultimate testing of body and mind, and of triumphing for his country.

Tough Enough To Win The Durban Down Run

Silas M Cuthbert was a jeweler who lived in Pietermaritzburg South Africa where
he owned a little shop in one of the side streets leading off the main road to the
coastal city of Durban. In his little sphere, he was revered for his reputation as an honest and charitable man, although, like many of his peers in small, country
towns,he was somewhat of a heavy drinker. When inebriated though, he was
inclined to make foolish wagers.

On one such a nocturnal and inebriated occasion, he was boasting of his prowess as a marathon runner and the outcome was a match against the organizer and runner of the first ever Comrades marathon Mr. Vic Clapham, an ex World War One veteran and 34 other runners,who had initiated it as a reunion. Clapham wanted to remember thosewho had fallen in the war by ultimate testing of body and mind, and triumphing in a 55 mile race from Pietermaritzburg to Durban. For a stake of 10 pounds from his friends, he undertook to not only run the entire distance to Durban, but to also win the race.


Silas Dashes Off

Ultimately, a further 48 entries had been received, however, of these additional 48 entries, Only Cuthbert had turned up at the starting line at the Pietermaritzburg town hall, on the morning of the inaugural Comrades marathon which was held on Empire day the 24thMay 1921, to join Vic Clapham and his group of 34 others. At the sharp crack of the starter's gun, Silas set out immediately. (pic of Vic Claphams old home in Pmb.)

The man with whom the bet was made and whose name I cannot remember, was accompanied by Malcolm Stroud, a photographer, and Trevor Dunnitt, a tailor, who all followed in a green 1918 Model T Roadster. For several miles Cuthbert ran exceptionally well and at a steady gait, without visible signs of fatigue, It would seem
that he really did possess great powers of endurance and was free from any
enfeebling intoxication.
* NOTE: "Pic is of Comrades founder Vic Clapham's house in Pietermaritzburg"

Three Men In A-T- Roadster

The three men in the automobile kept a short distance to the rear, giving him occasional friendly encouragement, as the spirit moved them. Suddenly, on the Durban side of Camperdown, while in the very middle of the roadway, not 20 yards in front of them, and with their eyes fully upon him, Cuthbert seemed to stumble, and pitch headlong forward, while at the same time uttering a bloodcurdling scream he vanished before his body had actually touched the earth. No trace of him was ever discovered. After remaining at and searching round about the spot for some time, with aimless irresolution, the three men returned to Pietermaritzburg, Where they told the police their astonishing story and were subsequently, also arrested.

A Unique Crime, Most Foul

However, being of good standing, each one, having always been considered truthful, were sober at the time of the disappearance, and nothing, having ever transpired to discredit their sworn affidavits, their extraordinary experience, concerning the truth of which, nonetheless, public opinion was divided, throughout South Africa and indeed the world at large. If they had something to conceal, their choice of means is certainly one of the most amazing ever made by sane human beings.

* "Story was written to commemorate the Upcoming 88th run."
Write your own story here on

Foot Note

"My vanishing runner Silas M Cuthbert as well as the circumstances concerning him and his three friends is a work of fiction. Apart from Vic Clapham and his 34 comrades, a further 84 entries were received but none of them were present at the starter's gun in 1921 "


Ghost Stories, Ghost Story, Ghostly Apparitions, Ghosts Story, Spiritual, Spiritual Forces, Spiritual Realm, Superstitions

Meet the author

author avatar Tranquilpen
As Andre' Hartslief, I strongly believe, that In life, there are no justified resentments.”We the old legends will become relics and fade away, while new giants emerge in our world of sobering truths.

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author avatar johnbee
23rd May 2013 (#)

Good write but I think you will definitely have more comrade runners in the future, not less!

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
23rd May 2013 (#)

wow this is quite a story Andre...strange things happen for sure more than mortal man can encompass!!! thanks so much...

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author avatar Mariah
23rd May 2013 (#)

This is the man for the spine chillers CR, read them all if you haven't already my petal
Spooky stuff, great reads.
Well Andre I am delighted that you are back to writings of strange happenings, all my hints paid of lol.
This is a strange story..first noticeable thing being none of the other 48 entries turned up, not one, very odd. I'm looking at the supernatural side in that perhaps the spirits of the veterans did not want outsiders to participate, and like the fictional Mariah Tucker, Cuthbert just mysteriously 'disappeared.'
Loved this Andre, thank you
please keep them coming my
friend, often as you can

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author avatar Songbird B
23rd May 2013 (#)

Another great spooky and strange story dear Andre'..What a classic storyteller you are..\0/x

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
24th May 2013 (#)

Pretty great story, very suspenseful and fun to read.

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author avatar Eileen Ward Birch
24th May 2013 (#)

Good telling of a tale that leaves me puzzled.

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author avatar Mike Robbers
8th Jun 2013 (#)

Interesting and strange story.

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author avatar philpalm
19th Jun 2013 (#)

Maybe I am wrong but this line:
"Clapham wanted to remember those who had fallen in the war by ultimate testing of body and mind, and triumphing."

Could have been written: Clapham wanted to remember those who had fallen in the war by ultimate testing of body and mind, and of triumphing for his country.

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author avatar Tranquilpen
21st Jun 2013 (#)

Hi Philpalm, I agree thank you so much, please watch the future inclusion

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