Bill Rowan Marathon 2024

Inaugural Annual Bill Rowan Three Bridges Ultra Marathon


The story of the achievement of Koster born son of the soil athlete and long-distance road runner Bill Rowan as the first winner of the Ultimate Human Race, One and Only Inaugural Annual Comrades Marathon in June 1921 has always inspired many South African athletes and indeed athletes all over the world, past and current, to participate in many Ultra marathons thereby testing their overall human strength and endurance against natural obstacles of up and down hills while running non-stop to complete a distance of 89. 7 km between the two (2) cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban interchangeably.

The Bill Rowan medal was introduced in the Millennium year to recognize runners who achie􀀋 a sub 9 hour run but didn’t make the 7 hour cut-off for a silver medal. The medal was named after Bill Rowan, the winner of the first Comrades Marathon in 1921. The time limit for this medal was inspired by Rowan’s victorious time of 8hrs 59min.

Bill Rowan was the first person to win the Comrades Marathon back in 1921. He finished in a time of 08 hours 59 minutes 59 seconds. It was in the year 2000 that the Bill Rowan Medal was introduced by the Comrades Marathon Association Heritage Committee for the first time in recognition and acknowledgment of his contribution to athletics and particularly long-distance road running. 

The aforesaid achievement and meaningful contribution towards the development of sports and healthy lifestyle did not only inspire athletes but also many people across a broad spectrum of sectors of society such as sports fanatics, corporate, organizations, government, and private individuals to provide the necessary support to many races, marathons, and Ultra marathons since then until now. 

Despite coming from a very small farming town of Koster, in the then Transvaal province, its people were not to be left out, as some, and relatively few, were similarly inspired by his story and over many years became participants representing Koster in many fun walk/run and competition races and road running marathons and Ultra marathons in other towns and cities throughout South Africa. 

For the better part of his career as an athlete Bill Rowan trained on his own and sometimes with a friend or two (2) but there was no athletics club in Koster to join, no trainer/coach, no scientific training programme and no sponsorships. His was just pure love for road running which happened almost largely on gravel roads, driven by nothing else but passion, talent, commitment, determination, hard work, and discipline. 

As indicated above the past and current athletes went on for many years to represent Koster in South Africa and abroad participating in various categories of competition races, marathons, and Ultra marathons bringing with them trophies and medals awarded for their performances. Today we are pr9ud to say some, across all colour races, also came from Swartruggens and Derby towns, surrounding areas, and farming homesteads on the outskirts of the now Kgetlengriver Local Municipality in Bojanala District Municipality of the New Democratic Republic of South Africa. 

Most recently the success of the young prospect, up and coming 25 years old athlete Kgomotso Reuben Mosiane from Reagile location in Koster who is also a member of the World known Nedbank Running Club and an affiliation of Athletics South Africa (ASA) under the strict mentorship of coach, Dave Adams became, at his very first attempt, the winner of the 42.2 km Klerksdorp Marathon (Time 2:23:08) on the 12th February 2023 held in Wesvalia Hoerskool, Wilkoppies, Klerksdorp.

It is for this reason that the athletics industry in partnership with Kgetlengriver Local Municipality recognizes the importance of forging a sustainable, formidable, mutually beneficial relationship between the two Ultra marathons namely Comrades Marathon in KwaZulu Natal Province and Bill Rowan Three Bridges Ultra Marathon in North West (NW).

At the age of 96 this year and turning 100 years old in 2027 Comrades Marathon is one of the oldest and most popular Ultra Marathon in the world and as Kgetlengriver we should cease the opportunity now, once and for all, and leverage the special relationship we share together. It is very special and unique. As Kgetlengriver we are, and have been, the first and only local Municipality in South Africa to provide road running leadership, and the rest are following in the footsteps of our very own athlete Bill Rowan, the pioneer, and trailblazer.

Over may year’s global multinationals, corporate South Africa, organizations, government. private individuals, multimedia houses became part of Comrades Marathon expedition journey because it meets, time and time again, their strategic business objectives and brand purpose.

It remains a serious indictment on our part as the leadership of Kgetlengriver Local Municipality and also a disservice to ourselves. athletics sector. community in general and generations to come, if we fold our arms and not launch the Bill Rowan Three Bridges Ultra Marathon in this 2022/ 2023 Financial year.