Beating a Not-So-Hasty Retreat

The Dundee (pronounced DinDear locally) athletic club and the Dundee Hysterical Society run a 21km foot race called the Isandlwana 21 or The Fugitives’ Trail every January – closest Sunday to the 21st which is when the homeland-defending Zooloos routed the wickedly-invading Poms in 1879, and Queen Vic dished out VC’s by the dozen like smarties to cover up their embarrassment. Or some such, take my dodgy history lessons with a sack of cerebos salt.

The race starts on a hill overlooking the Isandlwana mountain and ends at Rorke’s Drift.

I went to run it one year and it was very special: Half the club members manning the water tables dressed as Zulus in full regalia, and half as pith-helmeted, redcoated Poms. Some of the former were pale and some of the latter dark, to add to the hilarity.

The oke who started the race looked like a drunken Pommy colonel. He had no gun, whistle or trumpet. He rambled on about who had done what to whom in 1879 – a potted history – and then, when the ‘off’ time arrived he shouted:


‘Course, in my specific case, all the Zooloos running that day were well ahead of me.


The race result was something like this:redcoats n zulus

We crossed the Buffalo river at Rorke’s Drift and finished at the famous mission of the same name:

The finishers medal is special – a cross between a Victoria Cross and a Zulu shield:

My VC from Isandlwana 21km

I later gave mine away to a great cause.

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