|Top runner Bruce Fordyce has lived in Joburg most of his life, and considers it to be a truly African city.|
THE best thing about Johannesburg is that it is a truly African city, unlike cities like Cape Town, which is more Mediterranean.
So says top long distance runner and sportsman Bruce Fordyce, and the person recognised as the world's greatest ultra-marathon runner.
"Johannesburg is much nicer than pretentious places like Cape Town," he says. He loves Joburg, the city, the people, the weather, in particular the change of seasons, and the small things, like the frost in winter.
Fordyce is most well known for his amazing nine wins of the Comrades Marathon, a gruelling 90-kilometre race between Durban and Pietermaritzburg, in the 1980s, a feat never previously achieved and so far not repeated. He set several records in the race - in 1986 the fastest time ever of 5 hours, 24 minutes, a record that held for 14 years. He was the first runner to break the 5½ hour barrier for the race, which he has done three times.
Television sports viewers in the 1980s would have instantly recognised his familiar slim build, blonde hair and sunglasses as he timed his Comrades races perfectly, towards the end taking the lead and holding it with absolute ease.
But he's also in the record books for other extraordinary performances: the world record holder for 50 miles (80km), set in 1983 at the London to Brighton Marathon. He won this race three consecutive years. He also holds the 50-mile record for the US All Comers race.
Now the executive director of the South African Sports Trust, he is involved in sports development and upliftment. He is still actively involved in endorsements, motivational talks to businesses, sports clubs and schools.
These days he uses sport to raise money for charity, doing the Comrades or the 120km three-day Dusi Canoe Marathon.
He's the author of the Marathon Runner's Handbook, and the recently published Bruce Fordyce - Marathon King.
Fordyce was born in Hong Kong and at 13 settled in Johannesburg, and has never lived anywhere else, nor would he want to.
He still runs - that's one of the ways he sees the little things in the city and suburbs. He also enjoys paddling at Emmarentia Dam - "It's a beautiful place."
In fact he admits that he has to continue running because he enjoys Jozi's restaurants so much that he would be a rather large man otherwise.