One would have to scratch around the statistics to find a Comrades runner who broke the record but didn’t win the race. One such individual was Bob de la Motte, out kicked by a rampant Fordyce in 1986. It is fitting that Bob’s book was written and published now, for his life is far bigger and richer than the Titanic...
One would have to scratch around the statistics to find a Comrades runner who broke the record but didn’t win the race. One such individual was Bob de la Motte, out kicked by a rampant Fordyce in 1986. It is fitting that Bob’s book was written and published now, for his life is far bigger and richer than the Titanic duals that unfolded on Comrades Day in the mid ‘80’s.
De la Motte brings a chatty and friendly voice to his autobiography. There are several themes that run through this understated sometimes self-effacing account of a man’s life, abundantly lived. He modestly exposes the Comrades Marathon running scene, training and preparing at the time when Bruce Fordyce was its most potent running force. He gives a very personal insight into just how it feels to lead that great race only to be tapped on the shoulder by ‘Little Boy Blue’.
Conscription, university and the framework of an unjust life in South Africa are subjects dealt with more forthrightly. De la Motte’s political consciousness was inherited from a father who was a liberal politian who opposed Apartheid and inevitably led to Bob turning his back on his beloved country.
Bob de la Motte is a qualified Chartered Accountant and he gives the reader some insight into his career as well as some of his corporate experiences. There is a particularly poignant chapter where he looks back over his life with gratitude; he gently puts into perspective a marriage that didn’t work. Talented runners lost to South Africa like Mark Plaatjies are remembered. His new-found interest in cycling and swimming together with his participation in the Iron Man give the reader a view of an athlete whose quest is never done.
On putting down his book I felt I had spent quality time with an old friend over a leisurely lunch. After reading his story I know him better and recognise in him an ordinary okie like me. There is an overall impression though - here is a life well and successfully lived. Tom Cottrell, Guide Book Publications.