“It seemed unfair that his life was taken so cruelly. Richard had so much more inspiration to give.”
and more anxious.
“Rich, bru,” I said. “What’s next? Is it even bigger than this one? How much longer, man? You’ve done this 12 times, so I assume you know it all…”
Richard responded with a chuckle: “I’m a blind man. I just run this thing. I don’t know what lies ahead. It’s your job to tell me.”
Richard and I had fun, we worked hard, and we clicked. We finished the Comrades strong (in a time of 8:38).
Perhaps the most poignant aspect of our journey on foot to Pietermaritzburg was the plans Richard shared with me for his future. If the members of the running world didn’t know Richard yet, they soon would, what with all he wanted to achieve.
Less than a week later, I received a phone call. Richard had been hit by a reckless driver and killed, on his way to the mall.
I didn’t want to believe, or accept, the news. It just didn’t seem possible. To me, Richard was invincible. First I felt devastated and hurt, and then I began to feel angry and upset, because it seemed unfair that his life had been taken so cruelly. Richard had so much more inspiration to give.
I managed to get some closure when I said some words at Richard’s memorial service. During the week leading up to it, I got to know
ABOVE: Monisi had big plans for his future. As runners, we must make sure that his legacy lives on.
him even bet ter, through the many people who paid fond tributes.
Richard is a true inspiration, and his legacy deserves to be kept alive; not only for the benefit of other disabled athletes, but for every South African who has to face adversity.
Born blind, Richard was adamant his disability wouldn’t hold him back. His family adored him, his community looked up to him, and the running community hero-worshipped him.
What was it like to be a blind man’s guide? I’m not sure how it is for others, but running with Richard was a privilege. He will always hold a special place in my heart, and I will make sure that his legacy lives on.
Rest in peace my friend and running partner, Bra Rich!