Local legend Zeb made his mark
EL runner overcame odds to win his own race
Zeb Luhabe was possibly the most recognisable road runner in the Eastern Cape who never actually won a race.
And yet he did. He won his race in his own unique way.
Luhabe passed away early on Thursday morning. By noon the same day an obituary was emailed to the media by the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA).
He was 92 years old.
Most locals, even those close to him, had not even heard of his passing at that stage. And yet the Comrades Marathon that he loved so much knew.
Luhabe, a former policeman, only took up running at the age of 56.
A stalwart of Real Gijimas, in 1989 Luhabe ventured to run the Two Oceans 56km and the Comrades Marathon.
Now 62, Luhabe completed and won a bronze medal at Two Oceans with a highly respectable 5:55:38. The cut-off back then was six hours.
The Comrades, which now cuts off at 12 hours, was then 11 and he missed the cut.
Luhabe would go on to attempt one more Oceans 56, but ran over 6 hours.
He did, however, return and complete the Oceans 21km on seven occasions.
Comrades remained his nemesis.
He entered every year from 1989 to 1992 and again from 1995 to 2000, but to that point he had not realised his dream of a Comrades medal.
In 2003 he entered for one more Comrades. The cut-off time had by now been pushed out to 12 hours.
So it was that in that year, on his 11th attempt and at the age of 76, Border’s prolific waltzing finisher, Zeb Luhabe, in the claret colours of his beloved Real Gijimas, crossed the finish line of the down Comrades in 12 hours on the nose.
In a packed Kingsmead Stadium, Luhabe finally achieved his Comrades Medal.
He will not easily be forgotten. He will live on in folklore and legend...
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