COMRADES MARATHON 2003
The Comrades Marathon Association have decided to extend the cut-off for the 2003 and future Comrades Marathon to 12 hours. In Speaking to many runners, the decision has received both positive and negative responses.
The majority of runners who have completed previous Comrades under the 11 hour rule are negative towards the change. They are of the opinion that it takes away the spirit and knowledge that Comrades is one of the toughest races in the World.
The majority of runners who had not yet run a Comrades or who have failed to finish under the 11 hour rule are positive in that they now have the opportunity to complete and finish the race.
The organisor’s reason for the extension is pure economic. Comrades has had a ”negative growth” factor over the past few years. This with the exception of the 24,500 starters in the 75th anniversary / Millennium run. They need to have growth to get continued support from the sponsors. With many sponsors directing their funding towards cycling, the organisors cannot afford to have sponsors leaving Comrades. This will truly be the end of the Marathon.
My personal comments are easy – GREAT. Whatever we can do to encourage more participants into running, the better. But beware, if you couldn’t finish Comrades in the 11 hours, the chances of finishing in 12 are not much greater. At the end of Comrades, the average runner will be running / walking at around 10min per kilometer. This equates to giving the runner a grace of 6 km’s. Over a Marathon of 89km’s, 6 km’s is not material to a good Comrades.
Runners must be warned that the training to finish under 11 hours will not change should you wish to finish under 12 hours. The qualifying time for Comrades has been extended to a 5 hour standard marathon.
IF YOU CAN’T FINISH A STANDARD MARATHON IN UNDER 4hr30min – DO NOT ATTEMPT COMRADES.
This is my opinion based on my experience and the experience of other runners.
Do your training, finish a standard marathon under 4hr30min (still strong), listen to the experts at panel talks, follow Don Oliver’s column in Runners World.
After 60 km’s at Comrades, it’s your mind that takes you to the end, not your body. I further suggest reading The Lore of Running by Prof. Tim Noakes.
Anybody can run Comrades & anybody can fail at Comrades – it’s up to the individual.