THE 2000 Comrades Marathon was more than just a race for sisters Antoinette Human, Ellen Smith and Angeline Danster.
The sisters decided to tackle the race when organisers announced the cut-off time had been extended to 12 hours.
In January that year tragedy struck when their mother was diagnosed with cancer and given six months to live. The sisters dedicated their race to her.
As race day drew closer their mother’s condition deteriorated and the sisters decided to give it up. Their mother would have none of it and encouraged them to travel to Durban.
Despite their different abilities, the sisters stuck together and as they hit the dreaded Polly Shorts, Human was on the verge of throwing in the towel, but one of her sisters turned to her and said: “This hill is nothing compared to the hill our mother is climbing.”
They completed the race with seven minutes to spare.
Their mother lost her battle with cancer a month later.
“After completing the race, which was a down run, I decided to complete the double by doing the up run the following year. The double became five and five became 10,” said Human.
The Gelvandale Athletics Club (previously Willard Batteries AC) runner completed her 13th consecutive Comrades this year, earning her permanent number after completing her 10th race three years ago. She has completed 11 Two Oceans and five Washie 100-milers – the 160km race from Port Alfred to East London, earning permanent numbers for both.
“I am a plodder and know I will never be the first across the finish, but each time I finish a race I know I am a winner and, that has been my mantra.”
She has run various marathons including Om Die Dam, Loskop, Soweto and Kaapse Hoop. When she is not on the road, or carting her son to and from Grey High School, Human practises as a psychologist in Beetlestone Road in Gelvandale.