alsoran runners Harold Gleave
 A Comrades Hero
- as told by Amit Sheth

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Comrade 21629
Harold Gleave - A Comrades Hero

Following is a little bit of personal communication but I think Harold won't mind because I believe that his story should be told since it would inspire everybody:
So, Here is the story of a real comrades hero.  In the write-up that I wrote about my comrades 2009 experience, I wrote the following:

"As I entered the international tent, an elder gentleman, came up to me and asked where I got the aluminium blanket from, he was shivering, he had a medal around his neck. Until that point I had just been thinking only of my run and that I had missed, I never somehow fathomed that everybody else had finished.  I regret that I did not have the presence of mind to give him my blanket. "
Last night I received an e-mail from him, his name is Harold and for me,  he is a hero, read on:

Dear friend,  I have just read your article on the 2009 Comrades.  I think I was the shivering elderly person who asked you about the aluminum blanket.  I am elderly, I was shivering, and I did ask someone, I am sure it was you.  It pleases me very much that someone should think about such things days after the race has finished.  I am running again in 2010 but this time I will make sure I am well wrapped up at the finish (if I finish).  I was very lucky to finish my first Comrades in 2009 as I was tripped on Botha`s hill and cracked a rib. Paramedics gave me first aid, a pain killer, and a bag full of ice.  After 20 minutes I was on my way again, although a little slower.  As I will be in my 69th year and due to the cost from England for travel and hotels I think this may well be my last Comrades.

I hope to see you at the finish line in 2010 with a medal around your neck. 

May I leave you with my best wishes and good luck for 2010.

Many regards   Harold Gleave

Dear Harold ,  at the onset, let me first apologise to you for not having offered that blanket to you right away. That lapse has been on my mind and has bothered me a lot. I was a bit disoriented as I walked into the tent but that should not be an excuse since it is only the tough times that test our character.  The thought occurred to me a fraction of a second after we spoke and by then you had walked away. My apologies.

Now, let me tell you that you are a true hero.  My dad is 82 years old, my mom 77  and I have just shown them your e mail. I have also sent it to my family members. To run with a broken rib ,at the age of 68 is stuff of legends. You make me feel humble and you inspire me. 

I hope to run comrades in 2010 and 2011 and I pray that we will both make the journey in both the years. I have read and come to believe that when we truly wish for something with all our heart, then the universe conspires to make it happen. I am sure that the issues of travel and hotels will sort themselves out.

It would be an honor for us to meet you, my wife plans to run and my kids will be there. Perhaps we can meet at the expo. My kids are aged 7 and 13 and I would also like them to meet you. Perhaps as the race day comes closer we can decide on a convenient time at the expo.  I will be running in florence on nov 29th to qualify. I just ran a half in 2:03. Please keep in touch and I am delighted that you took the time to write to me.

External links: Official Comrades Marathon website

Copyright Nikki Campbell 2009