‘So Did The Am­putee Run­ner Get A Com­rades Fin­isher’s Medal, Or Not?’

Runner's World South Africa - - THE NORTHERN RUNNER - THE RUNNERSWORLD.CO.ZA NEWS STORY THAT BROKE THE IN­TER­NET

When the Com­rades Marathon As­so­ci­a­tion (CMA) back­tracked on a de­ci­sion to award am­putee run­ner Xolani Lu­vuno an of­fi­cial medal for fin­ish­ing the iconic ul­tra, the run­ning com­mu­nity was up in arms.

Close to 10 500 peo­ple signed a pe­ti­tion urg­ing the CMA to award Lu­vuno a Spirit of Com­rades award, while the hash­tag #GiveXolaniAMedal started trend­ing on so­cial me­dia and by the next Fri­day had reached over a mil­lion peo­ple.

Lu­vuno was given spe­cial per­mis­sion to run the race by the CMA. He was al­lowed 16 hours (com­pared to the stan­dard 12), after a wound on his am­pu­tated right leg left him un­able to use his run­ning blade. Dur­ing his jour­ney to Dur­ban, he be­came a sen­sa­tion on so­cial me­dia.

His run­ning part­ner Hein Ven­ter sur­prised Lu­vuno at the fin­ish line by pre­sent­ing him with one of his pre­vi­ous bronze Com­rades medals. (In the pho­to­graph above, the pair are shown run­ning to­gether ear­lier in the race.)

On their Face­book page, the CMA con­firmed that a de­ci­sion had been made on race day to award Lu­vuno a fin­isher’s medal – only to re­lease a state­ment on their web­site the fol­low­ing morn­ing that “he would not be el­i­gi­ble to re­ceive a fin­isher’s medal” be­cause he had failed to reach the fin­ish in­side the 12-hour cut-off; though they did con­cede that they would find a way to recog­nise his achieve­ment.

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