- Oct. 15, 2016
-- According to Ellen Palestrant, the 56-mile (90 kilometer) Comrades Ultra-Marathon began with the dream of one man, Vic Clapham. A World War One veteran, Clapham had a vision of memorializing, in a lasting, physical, annual tribute, the remarkable spirit of comaraderie among the soldiers that he had personally witnessed during the war.
The first race took place in 1921 with only thirty-four participants. Vic Clapham's dream was eventually realized: today, 2016, it is a major annual, international event with thousands of participants from all over the world.
Ellen Palestrant, who writes extensively about creativity, is fascinated by people who transcend boundaries and the tremendous focus and sense of purpose required to do so. Her story, KOPTOE, takes place in 1983 when there was still apartheid in South Africa. Simon, a black man, and Nick, a white man, are friends, united by their passion for running and their commitment to reaching their goals - transcending boundaries, both political and physical.
Ellen Palestrant explores in her book, KOPTOE, the characterisitcs of those who transcend boundaries - not only runners but writers and creators as well. "In fact," she says, "there are parallels between running marathons and the intense endeavors in many professional disciplines and life itself. Life is after all, an ultramegamarathon."
KOPTOE, Transcending Boundaries: The Comrades Marathon is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle. Very well-reviewed, it gives much food for thought. https://www.amazon.com/Koptoe-Transcending-Boundaries-Com...