Gold Fields Spirit of Comrades Awards 2010

Review Date: 20 Oct 2010

Comrades Marathon Association hosted its annual ‘Gold Fields Spirit of Comrades Awards’ ceremony in Durban North on Friday, 15 Oct 2010. As part of honouring do-gooders, three deserving recipients were awarded a ‘Gold Fields Spirit of Comrades’ gold medallion, in recognition of their humaneness, athletic achievements or positive nation-building attributes.

Criteria for awards are far-reaching with special emphasis placed on Comrades Marathon winners, legends, volunteers and otherwise ordinary heroes and heroines, who through individual acts of sacrifice, service, courage or perseverance, either in a single race, or over a period of time, demonstrate the noble qualities associated with ‘The Ultimate Human Race’.
Among this year’s ‘Gold Fields Spirit of Comrades’ recipients was Anne Kouvarellis. This feisty, fun-loving 61-year old most certainly personifies Comrades spirit. Anne hails from Gauteng’s Boksburg area, where she founded Falcon Flyers Running Club, aimed specifically at training and enabling novices to complete world’s greatest ultra-marathon. Now in its 12th year, Falcon Flyers has an almost 40-strong membership. 
Second ‘golden’ recipient was 38 year-old Jaco Zevenster. A Mathematics teacher by profession and member of Rustenburg Marathon Club. But more than having what it takes to be a Comrades medalist, Jaco possesses the heart and soul of a true people’s person. Jaco says: ‘I feel honoured and overwhelmed by this award. The 2010 race was another wonderful Comrades experience and even though I wasn’t able to win a medal, I was privileged to have the support and encouragement of my wife and son in the final leg of the marathon’. For his humility, helpfulness and living out the genuine Comrades spirit, Jaco took home the gold!
Final recipient was the revered, reliable respected 53-year old Vlam Pieterse, a Hartebeestpoort resident who has been described as absolute archetype of the ‘Spirit of Comrades’. He has been credited with having an exemplary pacing ability, having helped many to fulfill their dream of achieving a Comrades finish. Vlam has also been upheld as an integral player in South Africa’s and the Comrades’ rich historical tapestry, having first begun pace-setting at the ultra-marathon 12 years ago. 

Another exciting facet of the glamorous evening was the granting of the distinguished Life Membership as well as the Honours Awards to two people who truly embody the ethos of volunteerism. For his laudable conduct and more, Jeremy Taylor was chosen as the deserving recipient. Jeremy has shown selfless dedication and commitment to CMA for 31 years, having first assisted the Medical Tent in 1979 and being involved with Comrades ever since. He has been described as a truly worthy recipient of Honours Award.  
Last but by no means least, CMA is always mindful of the important role played by members of the media, who are especially passionate about the amazing race. One such individual is Beeld sports reporter Sarel van der Walt. Based on the number of articles reported by any journalist over the course of the year, and independently verified by Newsclip Media Monitoring, Sarel was by far, the biggest messenger of Comrades Marathon news. For his tireless input, he was presented with the inaugural award of “Top Journalist of the Year” and received a cash prize.