Solomon Miller, a 62-year-old pensioner from Lotus River, is an avid runner and a true Comrades Marathon enthusiast.
His passion for running was evident in how things unfolded in this year’s ultimate human race on Sunday June 11 in KwaZulu-Natal.
He became a symbol of selflessness and reminded everyone that the true spirit of the Comrades Marathon extends far beyond personal records; it is also about camaraderie, community and helping one another to reach the finish line.
This year, Miller set out to complete his 30th Comrades Marathon, a remarkable achievement in itself.
He did not finish this year’s 87.701km race from Pietermaritzburg to Durban but speaking to him it was evident that this was one of the most memorable experiences for him in his running career.
The reason for his DNF (did not finish) is that he saw another runner struggling and without knowing who she was decided to help.
The woman could not keep up with the sub-11 bus and was moving awkwardly as she tried keeping up the pace.
Despite his desire to achieve his personal milestone, Solomon’s compassionate nature kicked in, and he made a decision that altered the course of his own run.
He chose to stay with her and support her through every step of the gruelling race.
The two only made it up to the second last cut-off point. Miller says he knew his chances of a third green number was gone but says he would not have run the race any other way.
He later found out the woman’s name was Makoena Mazwi and she could not be more appreciative of the running spirit shown to her by Miller.
As they reached the last cut-off mark, Miller realised that by sticking with Mazwi, he had sacrificed his chance at obtaining his third green number.
The green number is a prestigious accolade given to runners who complete 10 Comrades Marathons; Solomon had 29 going to this year’s race. Solomon had hoped to add another green number to his collection, but he had no regrets about his decision to support Mazwi.
He says while he is not one to complain he does feel the cut-off points are too stringent. Determined to make a mark, he vowed to continue running and says he will be back stronger next year and will come home with that 30th medal around his neck.
“The record for my club (VOB) is 33, that is what I am aiming for. I still have lots of mileage in my legs,” he said.
Age is really nothing to concern himself with. The oldest finisher this year was 81 years old.
The road to that converted 30th medal has already begun for the Lotus River man who says with each passing year he feels more and more motivated by the challenge he has set for himself and he will keep on lacing up his running shoes for many more years.