Outside Running with Bruce Fordyce

Bruce Fordyce won the formidable Comrades Marathon an incredible nine times, with 8 consecutive wins between 1981 and 1988. The Comrades, dubbed ‘the ultimate human race’, is the world’s largest and oldest ultramarathon. In 1984, Fordyce set a new 50 mile record time of 4:50:51 at the U.S. Championships, which stood for an astonishing 36 years. He has since worked to bring the Park Run to South Africa, but it’s his mating tortoise impression we secretly want to hear more about…

Where did you grow up, and what was it like there? I grew up in Hong Kong/Malaya/Singapore until age 7 (My father was a Gurkha Soldier), then Kent in the UK. I went to school in Canterbury. Finally in Johannesburg, South Africa. All three were special experiences.

What was your favourite game or toy as a child? I loved football and rugby. Wasn’t particularly good at either, but still loved them. To this day I love Manchester United and the Springboks. (Between them they win a lot!).

What did you want to be when you grew up? I never had a clue about what I wanted to do.

Do you have any unusual skills or party tricks? My “mating tortoises” is apparently hysterical at a party.

What are you absolutely terrible at? Anything involving technology, machines, engines, computers.

What is your most annoying habit? Dominating the conversation.

How would your friends describe you? A good bloke… I think.

What’s your favourite meal, and which person (real, fictional, alive or dead) would you share it with? A good curry, preferably very hot. (cauliflower rice. I‘m Banting nowadays). I think Neil Armstrong would be fascinating company, but if not Armstrong, Richard Dawkins.

What makes you happy? Spending time in the Kruger National Park or similar game reserve. I have asked my family to scatter my ashes at a waterhole where there are elephants drinking and hippos snorting.

If you weren’t a runner what would you be? An archaeologist. Specialising in the early African stone age and bushman/San rock art. That’s what I was studying and teaching when my running interfered.

Bruce’s new book – Winged Messenger: Running your first Comrades Marathon – is out now and available here: Amazon

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