Bob de la Motte’s autobiography presented by the Sports Science Institute of South Africa & Runner’s World
Bob de la Motte is best remembered for his epic duels in the ‘80s with nine-times Comrades winner, Bruce Fordyce. Who can forget the 1986 Comrades where, following the legendary handshake 14km from the finish and running 5:26, De la Motte was narrowly beaten by the unstoppable Fordyce. Both runners broke the 1984 record of 5:27.
De la Motte has written Runaway Comrade against the backdrop of SA in the politically charged ‘80s in honour of the Comrades Marathon and some of his less fortunate fellow South African runners. “Many of these trail-blazing black distance runners from the apartheid era, have simply disappeared; their triumphs ignored and possibly forgotten by those who should be honouring them,” says De la Motte and it is for this reason that he intends to apply any net proceeds of the publication for the benefit of these champion ultramarathon runners from the 1974-90 era.
In this compassionate, candid, humorous and captivating personal memoir, De la Motte explains his naive dalliance with the Comrades; the crucial social role Comrades played in SA at the time; elaborates on the hyped-up rivalry; explores hypocrisy and speculation of cheating and explains why he chose to join the “Chicken Run” to Australia in 1987.
He introduces readers to some of the wonderful characters he was privileged to know, work with and run alongside. He relives his own personal triumphs, disappointments and challenges that have been intricately linked with the simplicity of running, his South African heritage and his hectic life on four continents. De la Motte also gazes into his crystal ball and speculates on the future of the Comrades Marathon and airs his contemporary views on a politically democratic SA.
The inaugural book launch will take place at the Sports Science Institute of SA in Cape Town, South Africa on Monday 27 October at 17h45 for an 18h15 start with Runner’s World Editor, Mike Finch engaging in a live interview with De la Motte – followed by an audience Q&A.Registration kicks off at 17h45, and a cash bar will be available.
The evening will conclude with a lucky draw boasting fantastic prizes and a chance to have your book autographed whilst enjoying refreshments and light snacks. Secure your spot at https://event.in2events.co.za/runawaycomrade
. Donations can be made at the door.
De la Motte will then embark on a series of book launches country-wide and is available for interviews in SA throughout November. Visit www.ssisa.com
for more details.
MEDIA RELEASE ENDS
Issued on behalf of Bob de la Motte by Kathleen Mc Quaide
Sports Science Institute of South Africa
Tel: (021) 659 5600 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
SPECIAL NOTES to JOURNALISTS
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Bob de la Motte is a world-class ultramarathon runner, cyclist and Ironman contender. He was born in SA where he attended Wits University and worked for KPMG. His career as a chartered accountant and investment banker has taken him to London, the US and ultimately to Australia where he has lived since 1987. After retiring from his commercial career in 2009, De la Motte has continued to pursue his sporting interests all over the world including Ironman, cycling, mountain biking and marathoning, all at a recreational tempo. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia.
De la Motte Bob ran second to Fordyce in the Comrades Marathon in 1984, 86 and 87. His runner up time of 5:26 in 1986 has only been beaten by four winners of the Comrades marathon over the ensuing 28 years.
He won South Africa’s prestigious 50km JSE (City2City) marathon in 1985 and the 56km Korkie Marathon in 1986. In Australia he won the Perth Marathon, the national Australian cross country title (M35) and set Australian records for 30 miles and 40 miles in the Mundaring to York ultramarathon.
In mountain biking he has completed the 8-day Cape Epic and Australia’s 9-day Crocodile Trophy. He has won many age group titles including the 100km MTB marathon event in Western Australia and the 249km Gran Fondo Fausto Coppi cycling race in Cuneo, Italy. In Ironman, De la Motte qualified for Kona with his debut 10:30 as a 50 year old. In 2014, de la Motte ran Boston Marathon as a 60 year-old in 3:06 finishing 9th in his age category.
ABOUT THE EDITOR:
Dave Hughes, former sports journalist of Johannesburg’s newspaper The Star, was one of SA’s leading sports journalists and athletics writers up to his emigration to Australia in 1985. He is a former contributor to SA Runner magazine. Between 1985 and 2009, Hughes was a senior sports journalist for the West Australian newspaper. He has attended four Olympics Games, three Commonwealth Games, and also covered a diversity of events such as the Rugby World Cup, F1 Grand Prix, several heavyweight world title bouts and two swimming world championships. Hughes was educated at Wits University and served as Chairman of the Wits Cross Country and Marathon Club when Fordyce joined them for his very first run as an unfit student. Hughes was also the first casual employee of the fledging Sweat Shop before it attained iconic status.
QUOTES FROM KEY FIGURES REGARDING RUNAWAY COMRADE
Foreword by Jackie Mekler, 5 times Comrades winner, 10 Gold medals-
“Runaway Comrade is a provocative, spirited and essential read … It will touch all who read it.”
Introduction by Arnie Geerdts-
“Bob has finally told us his nakedly honest story. It made me laugh. It made me cry.”
Reviewed by Blanche Moila, first female African athlete to be awarded Springbok colours in 1984-
“Runaway Comrade has captured the sentiment of those who were of the opinion that there could be no normal sport in an abnormal society. “