Louis Massyn — he never learned how to quit

Acting as guest and motivational speaker for the Sport Star of the Year function at Mogol Club on 7 March 2019, Louis Massyn (sometimes referred to as 403, his famous race number) inspired the attendees by taking a run down memory lane back to his first Comrades Marathon.

Louis and his wife at the Mogol Club showing off his first pair of running shoes that were bronzed
(Photo Mogol Post)

What makes this story so special though, is Louis is currently training to complete his 47th consecutive Comrades later this year.

Louis first heard of the Comrades from a pastor at church and immediately knew that it was something that he had to do. He wasn’t sure of the distance, but he knew all he had to do was to run from Pietermaritzburg to Durban and that he would need to get some fancy new shoes for this. It was 1973 and Comrades entry was only R3.

Louis bought himself a pair top of the range shoes for R21, but when the attendant heard how far he had to run, he advised Louis to get another pair but he couldn’t afford it.

After several months of training he showed up ready for the race but the advice of needing a second pair of shoes was bothering Louis and he finally crashed, getting an extra pair for R6. At the race he decided to run with the new pair and change shoes later so that he can finish strong. He finished the race in the shoes he started. These shoes are currently on display at the Comrades Museum in Pietermaritzburg.

After this race Louis has run several international events, hordes of other races and over 40 Comrades and Two Oceans Marathons, being the only person in the world with so many finishes of these respective races. The next possible candidate would need 7 more years to achieve this.

When asked if he prefers to run the Comrades up or down, he firmly answered: “There’s no way the up is easier than the down.”

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