Thank you so much for writing an interesting, insightful and eye-opening book. I really enjoyed the mentions of my father and am grateful he was able to help you out during your career. I have never been much of a competitive runner but have decided to run my first ultra, the Two Oceans 56km in Cape Town in April and am really looking forward to it.
Thanks again. I have just finished Runaway Comrade and wanted to convey my congratulations on an excellent piece of work. It was a cracking good read which I thoroughly enjoyed. Runaway Comrade enabled me to reflect on my own life, the amazing experiences I have been blessed with and the world-class people I have met along the way. Merely behaving normally and rationally in South Africa during the apartheid era was seen to be radical and controversial. It was truly an amazing learning experience.
I feel humbled and grateful to have met so many wonderful people who have influenced my life in a positive way. You rank right up there. Thank you for publishing Runaway Comrade. Your book made its way into my hands via my mother. Though I have the stories of my maternal grandfather to inspire me, your book has been a fantastic read, including the history of the Comrades Marathon which makes this race so special.
And I know my father, who passed away in , would also have enjoyed it, especially as your reasons for emigrating to Australia mirrored his own feelings for his family and South Africa. I enjoyed your book immensely and will be recommending it to family and running friends alike. Picked up a copy of Runaway Comrade at the Comrades Expo.
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Great read and compelling story. Made the long flight home to Ireland a lot easier to handle. Finally got a copy of Runaway Comrade. An inspirational read and understanding of the history of the Comrades Marathon. Runaway Comrade is a great book.
Thank you. A treasured insight into the 's Comrades era when long distance running became a seed within me that proved fruitful over two decades later. In I achieved my Comrades Back-to-Back medals. It's always a nervous moment when a friend gives you a book they've written. An account of running the 90km Comrades Marathon, finishing 2nd three times, dealing with life in apartheid South Africa and then migrating to Australia. I recommend it to anyone interested in politics, running and a good yarn.
Bob de la Motte ran just five Comrades Marathons and won three golds, a silver and a bronze. He's written Runaway Comrade and it's clear from the outset that the race was an integral part of his life, as it was and still is for thousands of South Africans. Before migrating to Australia in de la Motte's hard-running presence made the Comrades Marathon an eminently memorable race at the height of the Bruce Fordyce dominated era.
Bob's been described as one of the best Comrades runners never to have won the event. However this book is much more than Comrades.
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It's a story about both the growing of a footrace as well as a figurative race to bring the various races of the rainbow nation together in a common purpose. It takes the turbulent transitional times of political and social change while all the time, the Comrades Marathon winds a common thread in the background. The actual race is roughly 90km but this book goes so much further than that, a literary journey that can't be measured in mere miles or perfectly calibrated kilometres.
This is a roller coaster story from the heart with despairing detours, humorous hills, triumphant turns and ultimately a fulfilling finish straight. It also speaks for the unspoken, the many superbly talented athletes of colour, who were caught between the discriminatory laws of the South African government and the rejection of the international world.
Having been involved closely with so many of these runners from a newspaper sports reporting perspective, i's particularly pleasing to see Bob donating proceeds of this book to those almost forgotten souls. It is a book that spells out meticulously just what life was like growing up in the 70's and 80's both sports wise and generally, the good and the bad, the successful and the sad. Forget about the more established prescribed history books that our kids have to read as part of their tertiary education.
This book should be required reading for all school-going kids. Sure it's a history but it's more than that … it's a true reflection of the twisting, turning sporting life in South Africa.
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I was the Swede running my first Comrades. I met you at Comrades Expo, bought Runaway Comrade and you signed it. It is one of the best books I have ever read and I have read almost all books relating to running, there are to be read. The mixture of running and an explanation of the socio-political situation in South Africa during apartheid was a real eye-opener for me. I thoroughly enjoyed the read and learned a lot from your book. Thanks again for a fantastic book, for being a true inspiration and for having taken time to talk to me at Comrades Expo even though I was ignorant enough not to know who you were three weeks ago.
Now I will never forget.
Bob's book provides a great insight into what it takes to be become one of the best ultra marathon runners in the world. His breakdowns of training schedules combined with fitting in a family life and professional career show the dedication required. All of this plus his thoughts on apartheid make a great read. I know Bob has recently run Boston marathon in a touch over 3 hours but he is now 60 years old and these days probably rides his bikes more than he runs?
Not bad for an old dinosaur. Amazon rating 5-Stars. Runaway Comrade is a page turner. I finished it yesterday and have handed it on to my daughter. It is a great read and as you say …I know you a whole lot better now. A great achievement. As a result of this quirk, Bob suggests the race was a brief moment when South Africans could experience or express real tolerance. Robert Aristide Lenferna de la Motte discovered his enormous talent for distance running by chance. He was a newly minted chartered accountant busy establishing his career in Johannesburg when he was recruited into running with his colleagues.
You were one of my greatest heroes growing up and even more so as I am also a tall CA who has three kids and trains hard.
I enjoyed your book so much and to read how you trained for that amazing in has inspired me to train in a similar fashion for next year to improve my best to try and come within an hour of your epic run. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Runaway Comrade in December on holiday in Mozambique. Being a less glamorous runner I found it quite hard to put down.
At least my 10 modest times at the Vaal Marathon eclipse your debut! I also enjoyed overtaking Bruce Fordyce at the 38km mark at the Johnson Crane Marathon two years ago. Congrats Bob. I totally enjoyed your book — your life has been full of adventures. Your Comrades Marathon determination is very impressive.
I loved the book. Even though I have never been a particularly talented runner myself, there were so many parts which resonated, such as with my own story of getting into running and the struggle with my first marathon exploits and watching those races on TV were part of what inspired me to try the Comrades. The concomitant historical account and how this weaved into your own life also made fascinating reading, helping to rekindle the memories of those times. Good luckwith the continued success of your book.
A brilliant read.
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Running is a journey, like the insights of South Africa over the years. Bob gives the reader a nice overview of them both. From the moment I picked up this book, I was hooked. Whether you're an aspirant Comrades Marathon runner, seasoned veteran or simply a Comrades Marathon follower, I'd highly recommend Runaway Comrade. An excellent read from the outset about well known and some lesser-known, underprivileged Comrades Greats.
Having successfully completed 23 Comrades Marathons, I was inspired to run again in by, in my opinion, the greatest Comrades runner never to have won the race. Bob's candid writing style takes the reader into the mind of the novice and elite ultra-distance marathon runner and endurance athletes while interspersing chapters on his personal life and political challenges he and fellow South Africans faced over many decades in South Africa.
It's seriously goose-bump stuff for anyone who reads this book. It is accounts such as this that remind us of the enormous potential we have as human beings and the importance of keeping the fire burning within us.
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I loved your book — it had me mesmerized from start to finish. I loved this book. It had me totally mesmerized, amazing for a non-fiction book. I loved how the running story threads through Bob's life and the history of a very dark time in South Africa when the country was at a boiling point just before, during and after the abolishment of Apartheid as a national policy.
It provides a fascinating look into the training and lives of an elite group of runners, the group dynamics and the tensions brought about by the segregation imposed by Apartheid. It makes me appreciate what I often take for granted, the right to participate in and run amongst all races, nationalities and genders as equals in almost any race I choose to.