20 Facts about the Comrades Marathon you might not know

Posted on Apr 04, 2009 under Comrades Marathon | No Comment

There are some important and not-so-important facts about the Comrades Marathon that you should know:

  1. Gold medals are awarded to the first 10 men and women finishers.
  2. Silver medals are awarded to athletes who finish from position 11 to those finishing in under 7 hours 30 minutes.
  3. The Bill Rowan medal of silver and bronze is awarded to thoses athletes who complete the race between 7 hours 30 minutes and 9 hours.
  4. Bronze medals are awarded to athletes who finish the race in a time of between 9 hours and 11 hours.
  5. Copper medals – known as the Vic Clapham medal – go to those athletes who finish the race between 11 and 12 hours.
  6. Entrants who have completed 25 Comrades Marathons run for free.
  7. To prevent cheating, runners must use a digital technology called Championchips, which they lace into their running shoes. The Championchips have a unique code that is recorded at reading mats placed regularly along the route.
  8. The minimum age requirement is that competitors must turn 20 in the year of the race.
  9. All runners must pre-qualify for the Comrades by running in an officially recognised race.
  10. Entry forms for the Comrades Marathon are sent to every runner who competed in the most recent event. They are also available in sports stores and at running clubs in South Africa, while online entries can be obtained from the Comrades website.
  11. South African competitors must be licensed members of clubs affiliated to Athletics South Africa.
  12. The men’s “down run” record was set by Leonid Shvetsov in 2007 in a time of 5:20.49.
  13. The women’s “down run” record was set by Frith van der Merwe in 1989 in a time of 5:54.07.
  14. The men’s “up run” record also belongs to Leonid Shvetsov with a time of 5:24.48, run in 2008.
  15. The women’s “up run” record belongs to Elena Nurgalieva with a time of 6:09.23, run in 2006.
  16. A figurine of Hermes weighing 100 ounces of gold is on offer to the athlete who manages to better the record.
  17. The first South African man and woman to finish each receive a gold statue of Hermes weighing 25 ounces.
  18. In 2008, Dave Rogers completed his 43rd Comrades Marathon. He was met at the finish line by Clive Crawley, with whom he had shared the previous record for the most completed Comrades Marathons.
  19. The Comrades website allows people to check the history of any runner in the race simply by entering that person’s surname.
  20. Comrades Marathon House at 18 Connaught Street, Scottsville, Pietermaritzburg, houses the Comrades Marathon Museum that includes photographs of former winners and an accurate scale model of the Comrades Marathon route.

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