By Precious Mupenzi

  • With just hours to go before the 97th Comrades Marathon, the Comrades Expo is buzzing with runners finalising their gear and preparations, highlighting the anticipation and excitement.
  • Among the younger runners, older participants are also gearing up, showcasing their determination and spirit, proving that age is no barrier to taking on this monumental challenge.
  • Marcello Solomons, a recent senior citizen from Cape Town, shares his journey from discovering running in 2016 to preparing for his first Comrades Marathon, emphasising his dedication to training and his family’s support.

With just a few hours left before the 97th Comrades Marathon begins, anticipation is mounting. People are hurrying around at the Comrades Expo, grabbing last-minute items they need for the race. What’s really interesting is seeing older runners getting ready to run too.

At the expo, runners are busy getting their gear sorted and mentally gearing up for the tough challenge ahead. But it’s not just the younger runners bustling around; older ones are there too, showing their determination and spirit.

Amidst the bustling activity at the Expo, Marcello Solomons from Cape Town is spotted among the runners, checking his essentials for the upcoming race. The DSD News Team catches up with him, and a 60-year-old nearby can hardly contain his excitement.

Reflecting on a recent milestone in his life, Solomons states that he is now an official senior citizen.

“I received my older person’s grant just two weeks ago, officially marking me as an elderly and senior citizen of the country,” he proudly shares, highlighting the importance of active ageing. 

Marcello recounts how a chance encounter with an advert for a local fun run in 2016 sparked his passion for running.

“I only started running in 2016 after spotting an advert for a fun run in a local garage. Since then, I have never looked back,” he reflects.

As he prepares to tackle this monumental challenge, Marcello emphasises his dedication to his training routine.

“I’ve cut down on junk food and been consistent with my training. This year marks my first Comrades Marathon, and I am feeling good about my preparations, which began back in December 2023,” he explains.

Representing the Gugulethu Athletics Club, Marcello draws strength from his family, particularly as he runs in honour of his recently departed nephew.

“My family has been my source of support,” he acknowledges, his voice filled with gratitude.

With a clear goal in mind, Marcello declares his aim to finish the marathon within 10 hours, setting the bar high for his debut Comrades performance.


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