KOPTOE – Transcending Boundaries: The Comrades Marathon

KOPTOE – TRANSCENDING BOUNDARIES: THE COMRADES MARATHON, is a story about two runners and the COMRADES ULTRAMARATHON (a race of 56 miles between Pietermaritzburg and Durban in South Africa.) The book is also about the connection between RUNNING, WRITING & CREATING MARATHONS – about the various marathons in our lives.

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When Ellen Palestrant rang and said she had a short novel and some stories I readily agreed to read them. To my delight the novel was a very original piece of writing and the few short stories were little jewels. As I have become an avid jogger and Comrades runner, I found the story entitled ‘Koptoe‘ a most appropriate one with which to close this small ‘harvest’ of writing.

Adrian Donker, Ad. Donker Publishing

Ellen Palestrant’s strong inborn talent is many-sided. Her main gift is a vigorous comic inventiveness which she adapts to purposes of fantasy, farce or satire with equal facility and zest. She can be playfully inventive also in her use of language. By contrast, she is capable too, of persuasive realistic writing, and has written stories of poignant force.

-Lionel Abrahams, South African novelist, poet, editor and critic


Here we have a novella and four short stories by a cleverly original South African author. This is Ellen Palestrant’s debut. That there will be more of her delightfully amusing “off-beat” writings, I feel no doubt – I surely hope so. The stories, written with sprinklings of the South African vernacular, also include familiar place names and streets scattered throughout – all adding to their intriguing quality…Nosedive is superb…(it) goes to the heights – or is it depths – of hyperbole. I believe this must undoubtedly be one of the funniest books I’ve ever read.

-Doug Slack, The Star

Ellen Palestrant’s writing is the perfect foil. She… sees the human condition without illusion, and especially the condition of the part of humanity which speaks with a South African accent… hers is the comic vision. Nosedive is a zany farce with strong satirical undertones. The writing is exuberant and refreshing and the author’s sense of the absurd is wholly delightful. If you are in need of a tonic… Ellen Palestrant is what you need.

-Natal Witness