Knysna Marathon Club

Club History

Brief history compiled by Sven Lieberg from available meeting minutes/ Newsletters:


The club was formed in 1984 (the inaugural meeting was held on 4January 1984) by among others, Malcolm Spence, the South African and World Record Holder on 400m in the late “50s-early 60’s. (Malcolm represented SA in the Rome 1960 Olympics 400m where he managed to get a bronze medal). Malcolm was the first Chairman and his Committee consisted of the following: Mike Sass ( Secretary), Pieter van Halderen (Treasurer), Saint Hayes (Club captain), plus Kieth Toerien, Neels Joubert, Ron Taylor and Leon Fouche.


One of the main objectives of forming the club was to be able to stage the Forest Marathon which was to be part of the first-ever Knysna Oyster Festival, or as it was called in those early days the Knysna Winter Festival. The first race was staged on 14 July 1984 and the main sponsor was Willards Foods, thus the 42,2km race was called Willards Knysna Forest Marathon. The total sponsorship money was in the order of R10 000.


The Club has grown over the years (as of August 2006, the membership is over 130) and prominent members include Kenny Wilkinson, who has completed 22 Comrades. Kenny’s name appears first in October 1988, when he was made responsible for the beer sales at the Bellandia race. This was sponsored by Bellandia Construction (ex SWA) and the course, from Loerie Park to Leisure Isle, the Heads, then along the Lagoon towards the White- and Red-bridge across the Knysna River and back again, was very flat compared to the Forest Marathon as some participants considered the Forest too tough! The Bellandia was thus very similar to its successor the Heads to Heads, which was only run for a few years due to traffic congestions along the Lagoon road. The most spirited runner for the year 1986 was Klive Krige.

Bruce Fordyce was first invited to run the Forest in 1988, when the main sponsors were Mitchells, ( the then owner Lex being a very active runner and club member in those days) and Karos Hotels.


The Clubhouse, previously the home of a giant waterslide, was officially opned towards the end of 1997 after a substantial renovation, mainly arranged by Herman Nortje (Chairman 1995/6) and Dag Willems. Dag signed the lease agreement (running for 20 years until 30 September 2017) with the municipality on 8 August 1997, the annual rental for the princely fee of R2,00! It was noted in the minutes of 11 November 1997, that ‘enquiries with regard to a liquor licence must be done” In the same minutes Johan de Bruyn offered to maintain the pool. (This was written in August 2006) A Liquor Licence was subsequently obtained by Sue Mosdel and lost as she did not update the renewal notice address for the Licence!
The club has always encouraged participation by means of some form of sponsorship, in the Two Oceans and Comrades ultras and the club was well-represented at these events. Numerous Silver medals have been won in these prestigious events.