Tributes have been pouring in from every corner of the Comrades world for Richard Malose Monisi.
The Green Number runner passed away this weekend, reportedly the victim of a hit and run accident in Johannesburg. Monisi inspired runners everywhere with his impeccable running performance despite being visually impaired since birth. He was 48 years old.
Even more disheartening is the fact that Monisi earned his 13th Comrades medal at the 92nd Comrades Marathon last Sunday in a time of 8 hours & 38 minutes and was still enjoying the thrill of his Comrades run. Stories of his heroic running accomplishments have been shared by hundreds of friends and fans on social media and elsewhere.
CMA Chairperson, Sifiso Nzuza says, “Mr Monisi was not just an amazing athlete. He was a humble and well-loved human being. That is what makes news of his death so much sadder. He inspired many Comrades runners by showing us that his challenges in life did not stop him from realizing the goals he had set for himself. His great deeds will keep him in the hearts and minds of people everywhere.”
The Comrades Marathon Association justly awarded Monisi the Old Mutual Spirit of Comrades Award in 2015 for exhibiting the very noble attributes of The Ultimate Human Race.
Upon presenting Monisi with the coveted award, Old Mutual Head of Brand, Karen Thomas said, “Richard has exemplified the very ideals of the Comrades Marathon. As a blind runner, he went on to achieve what few of us have or ever will accomplish. We are honoured indeed to award Richard the Old Mutual Spirit of Comrades Award.”
Monisi’s famous words upon accepting the accolade was, “Blind but not behind!”
Monisi was a proud Green Number runner. He ran for Rocky Road Runners before joining Orlando Athletics Club. Of his 13 Comrades Marathon finishes, Monisi attained 7 Bill Rowan and 6 Bronze medals with a personal best of 8:28:23 in last year’s Down Run.
CMA Vice Chairperson, Cheryl Winn says, “It is with immense sadness that we say goodbye to Richard. He was a phenomenal human being and a hugely inspirational athlete. Our thoughts are with his loved ones. We wish you strength at this sad time. Richard will long be remembered.”
CMA General Manager, Chris Fisher says, “Richard was an inspiration to all at Comrades and a worthy winner of the Old Mutual Spirit of Comrades Award. Forever in our thoughts. RIP Richard.”
The memorial service for Richard Malose Monisi will take place on Wednesday, 14 June 2017 at the Orlando Community Hall in Orlando East, Soweto, Gauteng at 4pm.