UNOGWAJA 2011 – The cycle journey to Comrades

Posted on Apr 01, 2011 under Comrades Marathon | 1 Comment

UNOGWAJA 2011Set to kick off on the 19th of May 2011, the UNOGWAJA 2011 will follow in the footsteps of war veteran Phil Masterton-Smith where four young men will attempt the ultimate journey of courage and endurance by cycling from Cape Town to Pietermaritzburg and the following day running the Comrades marathon.

Endorsed by the Comrades, the UNOGWAJA 2011 journey will consist of a ten-day cycle totaling 1,730km’s on the saddle and the following day running the world’s ultimate marathon, the Comrades. This epic biathlon will be done in aid of the Amabeadibeadi charities (the collaboration of official Comrades charities).

The UNOGWAJA 2011 was created to commemorate war soldier and Comrades winner Phil Masterton Smith (also known as UNOGWAJA – meaning the hare) who in 1933 could not afford the train fare from Cape Town to Pietermaritzburg to take part in the Comrades. He then put himself in the history books by cycling a distance of 1,730km to get to Pietermaritzburg and then raced the Comrades and placed 10th. This ultimate story of passion, will power and triumph is why the UNOGWAJA 2011 was created.

The UNOGWAJA team- John McInroy, Paul Blake, WP van Zyl and Lourens van Zyl were joined through Red Sock Friday, an organization that shares its origin, like Comrades in the aftermath of a World War and is a global community of people who share a common passion for life and positive energy.

“When WP van Zyl shared the story about Phil Masterton-Smith with us we just knew we had to take it on. We got involved with the PinkDrive and realized that doing this for charity would be a perfect fit and in the same breath gave us the motivation we needed” said John McInroy, from redsockfriday

The Amabeadibeadi is collaboration of the five official Comrades charities that all serve to benefit from Comrades and the UNOGWAJA 2011, namely the Community Chest, Wildlands Trust, Sports Trust, PinkDrive and Starfish.

“We were approached by John to get involved and be the official charity for the UNOGWAJA, we felt that this is such a unique and inspirational journey and we should use the opportunity to collaborate with all the other Amabeadibeadi charities. With the support of the Comrades and the five Amabeadibeadi charities the message of UNOGWAJA will now be shared and used to inspire all taking part in the Comrades. ”said Noelene Kotschan from the PinkDrive

“Just as the charities have collaborated, so have the sponsors who each have played an integral role in making the dream of UNOGWAJA come to life. The team has received top of the range bicycles from KTM, running shoes from New Balance and support crew vehicles & fuel from Avis.” Added Kotschan

“The history and traditions that surround the Comrades Marathon are part of what makes Comrades the biggest and the best Ultra Marathon in the world. We are very excited to support this challenge for that benefit our Official Amabeadibeadi Charities, and at the same time retrace a part of the race history. Good luck to all the participants – we applaud them and wish them a safe journey to the start of the Ultimate Human Race .” commented Gary Boshoff CEO of Comrades

The UNOGWAJA team will be running in the colours of the Natal Carbineers, the same colours that Masterton-Smith wore in 1931 when at the age of nineteen became the youngest ever Comrades winner and is the same division that Masterton-Smith died fighting under in the Western Desert in 1942.

Team UNOGWAJA have received training and nutritional guidance from the Sports Science Institute of South Africa who have put their weight behind their efforts and put them on a rigorous exercise and nutritional programme to ensure they are at their physical peak for the challenge.

The journey will start in Cape Town on the 19th of May and the team along with their Avis sponsored support vehicles will visit various towns on route until they arrive in Pietermaritzburg at Comrades House on the 28th May.

“We are doing a callout to the communities in each of the towns that we pass through to come and show us support. We are also going to use this project to uplift these communities by giving local businesses a platform to get involved.” concluded McInroy.

You can sms “redsock” to 40021 to donate R20 to the UNOGWAJA. Alternatively you can also donate into the giant donation can that will be traveling with the team. Corporate companies or individuals can “share” a memory and sponsor a kilometer that the team travels.

Daily video diary updates will be blogged via and

Their Journey will follow the following route:

Wed 18 May:     Cape Town

Thurs 19 May:    Stellenbosch

Fri 20 May:          Montagu

Sat 21 May:         Oudtshoorn

Sun 22 May:       Klipplaat

Mon 23 May:     Cradock

Tues 24 May:     Lady Frere

Wed 25 May:     Maclear

Thurs 26 May:    Kokstad

Fri 27 May:          PMB

Sat 28 May:         Durban

Sun 29 May:       Durban

Comrades Marathon 2010 – all the facts!

Posted on May 06, 2010 under Comrades Marathon | 1 Comment

The qualifying period for 2010 Comrades Marathon ended April 26th. For all other applicants it’s too late to sign up for the 85th comrades – the ultimate human race race in 2010.

The route distance for this years event is 89km. The 2010 Comrades Marathon is a “down run’, starting at the City Hall in Pietermaritzburg and finishing at the Sahara Stadium Kingsmead in Durban.

  • Date: Sunday, 30 May 2010
  • Start: 05h30 at the City Hall in Pietermaritzburg
  • Finish: 17h30 at Sahara Stadium, Kingsmead in Durban
  • Distance: 89km – 56 miles
  • 23.656 people entered the race
  • The number of international participants is higher than ever: 1084 runners from 76 countries
  • Official Homepage

Comrades Route map

comrades marathon route map

General rules and information on the CMA homepage

How to ensure a great Comrades Marathon result – Training tips

Posted on Feb 22, 2010 under Comrades Marathon | 2 Comments

There are only two important races if you are doing a Comrades Marathon:

1. Your qualifier

2. Comrades Marathon

Every time I hear runners saying sentences like this I shake my head: “I ran a personal best almost every race in my training for Comrades and then on the day I crashed – I can’t understand it?”

Deciding to run the Comrades Marathon is a huge commitment. A person joins a club and gets caught into the notion that one must run every race possible before Comrades

Please take note of the following and if you don’t believe me, ask Bruce Fordyce, Norrie Williamson, Johnny Halberstadt, Alan Rob, Andrew Kelehe and so on.

Races are an important part of training for Comrades. Not to see how fast you can run, but to see how slow you can run.

Let me explain further:

In training you must do speed work, hill training, gym work, recovery runs and slow runs plus your “normal pace” run.

You do not get fast by attempting a PB (personal best) on every race. You get fast by doing specific speed work training over a short distance. FACT!!

The only thing you will get from running flat out every race is burn-out and an injury. Races are there to get your long run in for the week, test various supplements, test new socks, test new drinking patterns, getting used to waking up early, getting used to the crowds at the start and more testing and then some more. When you finish a race, you must finish “fresh” enough to run a further 5km’s with ease. In fact, a good tip is after you finish the race, run back against the “traffic” of runners for a km and then back-at a very slow pace.

With a variation in your weekly training, your times will come down by themselves.

Another tip – do a time trial at your club without your watch. Set yourself a medium pace time and see if you can come in at that time. This will teach you a very important lesson about how you feel at what pace and the ability to judge what pace you are running at during a race. You won’t have to watch the marker boards every km to see your pace, you can judge for yourself and just check with the boards every 5km’s. This is very important for Comrades to be able to pace yourself through the day, and like some of us, into the late afternoon.

In summary: Use the weekend race as a training run and stay fresh for the qualifier and the big day.

Source: 2003 Webarchive of – a timeless piece of writing!

Ryan Sandes reports from his Jungle Marathon 2009 victory

Posted on Oct 20, 2009 under Comrades Marathon, Running | No Comment

Ryan Sandes aka. the ‘desert runner‘, is currently not running in the hot dry deserts around the world, but has traded the deserts for the Amazon Jungle Stage Race. Ryan will be running the 2010 Comrades Marathon as a Celebrity entrant.

Here is a personal report by desert runner Ryan Sandes, how he’s doing in the Amazon! We will keep you informed as to his progress on this grueling race Jungle Update – Ryan’s Diary entries, in preparation for the start of the race.

I have been in Brazil (Alter do Chao) for a week now and I am slowly getting used to the heat and humidity. No one speaks English here and my Portuguese is non-existent. So I have had some interesting times, especially when it comes to eating out in restaurants. Basically I choose anything on the menu that is not too expensive and I hope for the best… Luckily I have not had to eat anything too dodgy yet! I took a bit of strain on my first few runs and I started to wonder if I had lost all my fitness on the two day journey to Brazil. It felt like running at high altitude and I could not get enough oxygen into my lungs. I seem to have adapted a bit better to the conditions now and I went on a run in the jungle two days ago which was awesome except for seeing one HUGE snake and getting bitten by a few hornets, Flip the hornet bites are sore…I thought I had been shot in the groin and butt! I very quickly thought to myself I would rather be running through the Amazon jungle counting hornet bites on my butt than sitting down at a desk counting how many toilets need to be ordered i.e. being a Quantity Surveyor. After my jungle run I did realize one thing and that is the Jungle Marathon is going to be probably the toughest race I have ever done. The accents are brutally steep with some really technical descents and you are continuously jumping and climbing over fallen trees. It is very humid under the jungle canopy and at times I felt claustrophobic. But I am really starting to get excited and apart from a bit of a glute / hamstring issue I am ampt to start the race now.

Jungle Marathon Day 1: WOW what an awesome run but probably the slowest and hardest 15km of my life. We started off and after 200m we already had a river crossing and straight after that it was into the jungle. I felt good and pushed the first leg and paid for it on the second and third legs… I bonked on the third leg and felt like I had no energy from the intense heat, but I pushed through to finish feeling good. The terrain consisted of hills, more hills and rivers and swamps. At one stage I was up to my chest in a swamp and the next minute I tripped and found myself fully submerged in black mud! I got over my fear of snakes very quickly and there were times when I would have been quite happy to be bitten and put out my misery :)! Otherwise all is good apart from a bit of a twisted ankle. Now for day 2 and more punishment but also more beauty. Our camps are in some of the most insane places I have ever seen in my life and the whole experience feels like a dream at times. The boat trip up the Amazon to the start of the race was awesome and waking up this morning was surreal except of course that I was about to start the hardest multi stage race of my life.

Jungle Marathon Day 2: The start this morning was delayed by two hours as the medic evacuation boats were not back from Santarem yet… Four people had to be evacuated yesterday from the heat and the harsh conditions took it toll on most competitors. Yesterday afternoon was like a scene out of a horror movie and people were dropping like flies…but the Jungle Marathon medics did a great job making sure everyone was looked after. We started off along the beach and then after a few hundred meters it was up into the jungle for the ‘swamp’ stage. It was not long before I was chest high in black mud, fending off ticks and human eating ants! I took it a lot easier today to start off with and felt good and then pushed the last stage a bit to open up a few minute gap on the second athlete. So all in all it was a good day at the office apart from two swollen ankles. Keeping it short and sweet so I can get back in my hammock.

Ryan completed the 24.5km stage in a record time of 2hours and 41 minutes. Ryan Won stages 1 and 2, and currently has a 10 minute lead over the second placed runner.

The third day (14th October 2009) was the longest stage so far: almost 38 km. The course combined the concentrated elevations of stage one with the swamp crossings of stage two. Although overcast early in the morning the sun soon came out and the humidity was so high that there some light rain in the afternoon. Before the competitors set off there was a reminder of the signs of dehydration and how to manage salt levels from the medical team. They then set off straight into the jungle The magic sandman has done it again – Ryan Sandes has won stage 3 of the 2009 Jungle Marathon. Ryan has built up his lead over 2nd place runner, Fredson de Silva Sousa Raimundo, of more than 24 minutes and has just under an hour lead over his arch rival Salvador Calvo Redondo. Ryan completed the 37km stage in 4hours and 57minutes. The Race Director’s assistant says that Ryan is in incredible spirits and feeling great

Jungle Marathon Day 3: I woke up this morning with sore ankles and thought OH NO, but today was the opposite of that. I started off today quite easy and then at the second check point I decided to push on a bit… it was a risky move as it is so hot and humid here that if you bomb out in the jungle you do so in style. It is really hard to pick yourself up again and it feels as if all your energy has been sucked out by a vacuum cleaner. The risk paid off and I finished the stage strong (37min ahead of second athlete) but a little tired and shaken from seeing three snakes. I remember climbing up a hill on all fours and seeing a set of eyes looking at me from a large hole in the ground. I would like to think it was a large lizard but I did not hang around to get a closer look. Thanks to everyone for the messages of support, they help me keep going when everything says stop! Off to the hammock…

On Day 4 (15th October 2009) is Ryan Sandes still in the lead after stage 4 of the 2009 Jungle Marathon with his arch nemesis Salvador Calvo Redondo still in 3rd place. He is getting mentally prepared for the long stage of 89km tomorrow.

Jungle Marathon Day 4 We started off today with a 200m swim across a river… faaak swimming with a pack is not so easy!! My heart-rate went through the roof from the swim and only 20min into the run did it get back to normal – respect to the ironmen. Today was quite a flat course and it was nice to be able to run at a constant pace the whole way. I ran most of the way with Mike Wolf of the North Face and we crossed the line together. It was a relief to get the stage out the way with no set backs and now for the long stage tomorrow – its going to be brutal! I am hoping to run the long stage with someone, maybe Mike as he has been ripping up the 50 and 100 milers in the States. It going to be a long slog but I will be taking it slow and steady and taking no chances… We start of the stage with another 250m swim and then 49km of jungle and 43km of trails! 49 competitors have dropped out of the race so far mainly to heat issues… so the rumble in the jungle has been hectic. My feet do not have any blisters (must be my shoes – Salomon S Labs!) except for a bust toe nail from kicking a few roots. My ankles have had a break the last two days and my legs feel good so I am ampt for one last big push tomorrow! Thanks to everyone for the messages – they are a huge boost! FINISHED THE JUNGLE MARATHON

Ryan Sandes has done the super impossible YET again and has won the 2009 Jungle Marathon – proving he has what it takes in the deserts and the jungles. Ryan’s overall time was 26 hrs 33 min with second place going to his nemesis Salvador Calvo Redondo – who was almost 2 hours behind Ryan in a total time of 28 hrs 49 min.

I have just crossed the finish line of the Jungle Marathon. I survived the Jungle!! It is an awesome feeling to win again and I am super stoked. The 2nd competitor (Salvador of Spain) was just under two and a half hours behind me and Mike from the States behind him. I ran the whole stage today with Mike and we took it quite easy, not that I could have gone any faster. My legs felt TIRED!!… and had no gas in them. Salvador passed us about half way and stormed on to finish about two minutes ahead of us. Running into Alter Do Chao was and insane and the town square was packed with people, journalists etc. I was handed an SA Flag a few hundred meters from the finish line and got instant goose bumps. I had trained really hard for this race and bust my balls in a few training session but I could finally see the rewards as the finish line was approaching. Crossing the finish line I felt my dream come true of winning the Jungle Marathon! So proud to be South African!!! I am off to drink some beer now – its been a month since I last had a beer:) Thanks to all for the message of support – I could have not done it without you! Thanks to my dream givers Salomon and ProNutro! And thanks to Hammer Nutrition and Oakley for their awesome product.

Day 6 Update – Rest Day I woke up this morning with competitors still crossing the finish line and felt really relived to have finished the long stage. The number of hammock’s in the camp are less than half from the start of the race and the number of casualties has reached more than 50%. Competitor’s feet are starting to look really sore and manky covered in a mass of blisters and most of the athletes in camp are hobbling around. Looking back it has been an awesome week, one of the hardest and most exciting of my life. I am super stoked with the way it has gone and my more focused training sessions since Namibia seem to have paid off. The bitter taste of Namibia is slowly starting to leave my mouth and my smash and a stock cube this morning tasted like ice cream and chocolate sauce. It is one last push tomorrow along the beach for 32km and then real food and lots of beer. I do not want to count my chickens before they hatch but it looks like I have this one in the bag. I have more than a 2 hour lead on my category (international) and a 45 min plus lead on the local guys from the Para region in a separate category. The Para guys are some great athletes but I think they may be a bit pissed off that an international guy is leading going into the last stage. My legs have felt great the whole race thanks to the help of Chris (Physio), Sally (Biokineticists) and Ian (Coach). A huge thanks to Salomon and ProNutro for making the race possible. My feet have not got one blister thanks to my Salomon S LABS!! Thanks to Hammer Nutrition for the fuel and Oakley for the eye wear. I lost my eye wear in a swamp on the second day so there must be a super cool anaconda floating around the jungle with a pair of Radars on! Thanks to Kelly for doing an awesome job at getting my results out there and updating my blog – I hope the spelling was not too bad. To everyone a huge thank you for all your support and messages, I have said it before but they kept me going for 7km with no water and feeling totally out of it. Back to the hammock now to rest up for tomorrow.

Thanks to Ryan Sandes for this awesome report from Brazil!

Leonid Shvetsov retires from running

Posted on Oct 19, 2009 under Comrades Marathon | No Comment

Current Comrades Marathon record holder for the “Up” and “Down” runs, Leonid Shvetsov, confirmed in a statement to the Comrades Marathon Association that he has decided to retire from all competitive running with immediate effect.

“I made a considerate decision to stop my competitive running career. This is because when I resumed serious training a month after this year’s Comrades Marathon I again started to feel painful ‘clicking’ in my knee. I had same thing during the race this year, which forced me to slow down on the downhills and in the end resulted in severe (near) cramping and weakness in my quads in the last 18-20km during the race. What was worse – I couldn’t get rid of the feeling that my knee may ‘lock’ at any moment, and the race would have been over for me. I was lucky to come home 2nd on the day, and I don’t want to get in the situation when I devote half a year of my life preparing to 2010 run and end up stopping or slowing down like it happened to me in 2002. I think I was lucky enough to break both Comrades records.”

Leonid also stated that through running the Comrades Marathon that he has been privileged to meet many great South Africans, and that he has forged excellent relationships with South Africans. Leonid intends to continue running in order to maintain a healthy and fit lifestyle, as well as continue with coaching runners.

“This was not and easy decision as running took the biggest part of my life for over 30 years. In fact, September 23rd this year was 30 years. I have completed 44 marathons (and 5 Comrades), ran in 2 Olympic Games and held the Russian National Marathon record for over 10 years, (broken by a runner that I trained 2 years ago). I think I left my small ‘footstep’ in the history of running” “I am a family man and now a business man to, and recently expanded my business, which is keeping me very busy.”

The Comrades Marathon Association wished Leonid all the best for his future, and he will be missed come 30 May 2010, as he is a fierce competitor, and has definitely left his mark on the Comrades Marathon. After all he is the current record holder for the “Up” and “Down” runs respectfully.

How to enter Comrades Marathon 2010

Posted on May 30, 2009 under Comrades Marathon | 12 Comments

The overwhelming response for entries for the 2009 Comrades Marathon is hopefully a sign of the excellent interest in the Comrades Marathon. The 17% increase in race entries this year must be attributed to the extensive marketing campaign undertaken by the CMA, both locally and abroad.

The 2010 Comrades Marathon also coincides with the 85th anniversary of The Ultimate Human Race. 2010 will see the race run from Pietermaritzburg to Durban, a down run. The CMA announced that there will be a commemorative “double-down” medal for  all novice runners that complete this years and next years race. The CMA will enter into an extensive marketing campaign, through various mediums, as well as road shows across South Africa. The CMA has also put in place a comprehensive international marketing campaign, the first step of which has been achieved with the appointment of International Ambassadors across Europe, South and North America, and Australia.

Entry numbers for the 2010 and 85th anniversary of the Comrades Marathon will be cut off at 20,000 runners, and no extensions will be entered into, thus making the 2010 run a special event as the CMA has never had a cut off number in the past. We are confident that this number will be achieved very quickly as in 2000 we received 24,000 entries. Therefore we urge all runners and potential runners that wish to run in 2010 to take careful note of the entry process and the cut off dates. We therefore request that you enter early to avoid disappointment. Entries will be done in 2 phases.

Phase 1:
1 September 2009: Entries open to all previous Comrades Runners and will close 31 October 2009. The total will be capped at 15,000 entrants.

Phase 2:
1 November 2009: Entries open to all Novices and will close on 30 November 2009. Total number of entries will be capped at 20,000. Thus should there only be 12,000 entries from previous runners, there would be 8,000 entries accepted for Novices.

Qualifying period for 2010 will be as follows: 24 May 2009 to 26 April 2010. Runners who finish the 2009 Comrades Marathon can use their finishing time for 2010.

As in 2009, runners will be able to enter before they qualify. This means while all entries will have to meet the entry criteria above, runners will still be allowed to qualify in official qualifying races up until the month of April, with the 26th April as the final cut-off date. Upon qualification, runners simply need to give the time and details of the qualifying race through to the CMA office. Upon receiving the qualifying information the runner’s entry will be confirmed.

Race Day is Sunday 30 May 2010.

Comrades finisher report by Onne de Boer

Posted on May 25, 2009 under Comrades Marathon | 2 Comments

Onne de BoerThis is a race-day report from 2009 Comrades Marathon finisher Onne de Boer whom we met on Twitter where he is one of our loyal followers. We thank you for this piece and ask our readers to submit more wonderful articles like this:

Hi, my name is Onne de Boer.  I live in Canada, in the Maritime province of New Brunswick. I’m 45 years old, have been running most of my life. Not competitively, I have been competing in triathlon. My greatest athletic feat to date is the 25th Anniversary of Ironman Canada. Finishing in 11:56 (Pictured on the right)

Qualifying and Training for Comrades
The event I used for qualifying was called “Not the Honolulu” Marathon in November of last year. This event is a self sufficient event, meaning I have to carry everything for the distance there is no support. A good friend accompanied me on the second half of the marathon, which was the  official half for the day. I finished sub 4 hours for a D grouping at Comrades.

I followed the sub nine hour training program from the Comrades site. Training started in January – a little bit of running prior to that, but nothing formal. Please know that training was very difficult, I was usually in temperatures that ranged from -5 to -20 Celsius. On more then one occasion my water froze next to my body under my layers of cloths. Weather improved by April and there were a few days I could run in shorts and a jacket.

Once in PMB my family hooked me up with Christopher Zondi (15566) 14 time, now 15 time finisher of Comrades. We ran together a few days and the benefit of having someone local is that I didn’t have to pay attention to where I was. Thank you Chris! A true Comrade!

Race day
I had a restful sleep in PMB. I was awake at 3am, rested until 3.30 and then got up for a bowl of oatmeal and some hydration. Read the rest of this entry »

Comrades Marathon 2009 results

Posted on May 24, 2009 under Comrades Marathon | 3 Comments

33 year-old Stephen Muzhingi from Zimbabwe won the 2009 Comrades Marathon in time of 5:23:27. Second place Leonid Shvetsov of Russia in 5:33:10 and third place Charles Tjiane in 5:34:21. Stephen Muzhingi reached 3rd place in last years 2008 Comrades.

Muzhingi said he realised he could tell he was in stronger shape when he passed defending champion and record holder, Leonid Shvetsov, and knew then that he could win.

“Coming into the race, my only aim was to run sub 5:30. When I was about 100 metres behind Leonid, I started to relax but when I caught him, I knew I had the race.”

Muzhingi said he hadn’t thought about the 5:20:41 record, set by Shvetsov in 2007, but about three kilometres from the finish, spectators told him he had a chance to go for it, so he ran faster. However, by then it was too late but his time of 5:23:27 is the second best time ever for a Comrades Marathon!

Olesya Nurgalieva won the 2009 women’s Comrades Marathon in 6:12.12. Her twin sister, Elena Nurgalieva, who finished first in 2008, came second in 6:13.14 followed by another Russian, Tatyana Zhirkova in 6:15:03.

Pos Name RaceNo Country Gender Time
1 Stephen Muzhingi 55925 Zimbabwe Male 05:23:27
2 Leonid Shvetsov 49670 Russia Male 05:33:10
3 Charles Tjiane 56834 South Africa Male 05:34:21
4 Fusi Nhlapo 14084 South Africa Male 05:36:17
5 Lucas Nonyana 52634 South Africa Male 05:39:29
6 Mncedisi Mkhize 27026 South Africa Male 05:41:14
7 Bongmusa Mthembu 31020 South Africa Male 05:41:52
8 Peter Molapo 32757 South Africa Male 05:42:25
9 BethuelNetshifhefhe 28689 South Africa Male 05:43:35
10 Harmans Mokgadi 47411 South Africa Male 05:44:49
Pos Name RaceNo Country Gender Time
1 Olesya Nurgalieva 19988 Russia Female 06:12:12
2 Elena Nurgalieva 19987 Russia Female 06:13:14
3 Tatyana Zhirkova 19986 Russia Female 06:15:03
4 Marina Myshlyanova 56699 Russia Female 06:30:42
5 Farwa Mentoor 25609 South Africa Female 06:45:33
6 Lesley Train 47434 South Africa Female 07:01:07
7 Marina Bychkova 39390 Russia Female 07:03:24
8 Lindsay Van Aswegen 11096 South Africa Female 07:08:55
9 Belinda Waghorn 39498 South Africa Female 07:09:36
10 Kashmira Parbhoo 20171 South Africa Female 07:16:13

Congratulations to all finishers from!

Stephen Muzhingi wins Comrades Marathon 2009 in 5:23:27!

Posted on May 24, 2009 under Comrades Marathon | 3 Comments

Stephen Muzhingi33 year-old Zimbabwean Stephen Muzhingi won this years Comrades Marathon from Pietermaritzburg to Durban, in 5:23:27, the second fastest time in history today.

Second place goes to last years Comrades Winner Leonid Shvetsov of Russia in 5:33:10 and third place Charles Tjiane in 5:34:21.

The team from congratulates Stephen Muzhingi for breaking Russian domination of the men’s race!

More coverage and a 2009 Comrades result overview will follow later today.

How to calculate your Comrades finishing time

Posted on May 12, 2009 under Comrades Marathon | No Comment

No matter how good your training has been, when it comes to Sunday 24 May 2009, you better have a strategy on how you are going to run to reach your goal.

By following the steps below you will be able to:

  • A prediction of your realistic finish time
  • The information you require to determine which Comrades Wrist Bands you require for pacing
  • Instructions on how to use the pacing band
  • Note: Pacing Bands are ONLY available at the Comrades Expo Stand for R30 with the money going towards the Comrades Charities.

What is your Realistic Potential Finish Time?

  • Look back at all your race times of the past 12 months and select the best three performances
  • All three times should be flat out races / time trials
  • Ideally have a 5km or 10km race time from late April or early May
  • Include your best 42km or 56km time in the last 12 months
  • Play with the choice of your third time, which may be a repeat of one of the others or a distance between them, but use the one that gives the best Comrades finish time – This will be your best realistic starting time!

How much have you trained?

  • Find your predicted finish time on table 1.
  • Under the finish time find the marathon time closest to your PB
  • Determine the corresponding required training distance.
  • How does that compare to your total training distance between December and May?
  • If you are over 15% higher or lower ADD (in both cases) 15-20 minutes to your predicted Potential finish time.
    [Note: this confirms that if you do too much you get slower NOT faster finishing times]
  • Now go to this new finishing time and see which pacing band you require. (7 Hour to 12 Hour)
  • Go to the Coach stand at Comrades Expo and buy your pacing band for R20
  • The Pacing points are shown on photographs here and will be marked on race day with yellow tape across the road.

Visualise and Run the Comrades Route by Podcast:
Norrie Williamson will take you over the whole 89.17km Down-Run describing exactly where each of the hills and downhill sections are, and providing advice on where to hold back. This in-depth podcast allows you to be sure of exactly where the different pacing points are and to relax and visualize yourself running the route. Together with the pacing point photos it’s the ideal way for those who have not seen or experienced the route to get a better understanding of what they will face on Sunday 24 May. For previous Comrades Runners it’s a reminder of those tricky hills you have forgotten about – but lie in wait to trip you on Comrades day.
For pod cast of the full route description click here
(Note: The podcasts are quite long so do take time to download and are best heard on ADSL / 3G platforms)

The Pacing Bands

Each pacing band has 14 pacing points with corresponding times that you should run to and through these points.
To see pictures of these points Click HERE Each point has a photo, together with a indication and short description of where they can be found on the route. These points will be marked with distinctive yellow tape on the road on race day.

Average Pace

Although each band has an average pace, it would be impossible to run the Comrades route constantly at that pace. The pacing on the Comrades Wrist band takes into account the grueling and highly diverse nature of the Down Comrades in timing your run through to Durban. This means that in some sections you will be considerably slower than average pace, where these slower times are bought back by running slightly faster over the longer downs.

Run and Walk to success

Any runner with a finish over 7 hours should incorporate a run and walk schedule into the pacing. As a guide 9:00 and under should run 9km with 2-3minute walks, 9:00 to 11:00 should run 6 km with 2-3 min walks, 11-12 hour finishers can work on 3km with 2-3 min walks. Some runners are so sold on the run and walk schedule that they simply mix 9 minutes of running with 1 minute of walking the whole way through, and are then able to blast the last sixth of the race to the finish. The important principle in any run and walk regime is to start this regime right from the gun and continue it throughout the race, DO NOT wait until you are tired: by then it’s too late!

Silver, Bill Rowan, and Bronze Cut offs:

If your predicted time indicates that your potential is such that you would miss this medal by less than 10 minutes, buy the pacing band for the medal category above. (e.g. a 9:05 predicted time buys the 9:00 pacing band). However remember this is a stretch for you and will only happen if everything goes well on the day. You must then add 2/3rds of the difference between your predicted time and the medal cut-off time to the time at the BP Garage in Winston Park. From there gradually close in back onto the scheduled time at 45th cutting. If it’s your day this is your best chance!

Delays at the Start:

Runner’s further back in the field will take a few minutes to cross the start line and generally in Comrades this is a Good Thing as it prevents you from getting caught up in the adrenaline boosted rush of the start – More Comrades are lost in starting too fast than any other failing. However these minutes become more valuable for runners who are borderline to any of the cut-off times (Silver, Bill Rowan, Bronze or the final cut-off).
It is important that you do not try to make up this time in the first few kilometres but rather stretch it over a long period – particularly on the down run as the first 24km are predominately uphill and increasing pace by even 5 seconds on many of these climbs will rocket your effort levels and use up more of your glycogen stores, leaving you without energy for the final section of the race.
There’s only about 10km of down in the first section to Camperdown and then rolling road through to the bottom of Inchanga. If the time taken to cross the line is important to you getting under one of the cut off’s, the advice is to divide half of this time by 30 and increase you pace by that on each kilometre of downhill and the section from Camperdown to half way. The remainder you will easily make up from Hillcrest to the finish. For example if it takes five minutes to cross the line, you would increase your pace by 5 seconds per km on the downhill from the start to Camperdown, and on each kilometre from Camperdown to Half way, (except the climb up Inchanga), and then make up the remaining two and a half minutes between the top of Botha’s Hill down to the finish. In running ultra’s always keep in mind – “slowly slowly catch a monkey’ and you won’t go far wrong.

Distance Jan to June 07:00 07:30 08:00 08:30 09:00 09:30 10:00 10:30 11:00 11:30 12:00
42km PB 02:35 03:00 02:35 03:13 02:48 03:26 03:07 03:39 03:13 03:52 03:33 04:05 03:39 04:18 03:50 04:30 04:15 04:30 04:45 05:00
Min 1200 1000 1000 1100 1000 1100 1000 1000 1000 1000 1100
Max 1950 1900 1800 1700 1600 1550 1450 1300 1200 1200 1200
Average Comrades Pace (Min per Km) 04:42 05:02 05:22 05:42 06:03 06:23 06:43 07:03 07:23 07:43 08:04

Comrades Calculator © by Norrie Williamson

Comrades Marathon on May 24th 2009

Posted on May 08, 2009 under Comrades Marathon | 1 Comment

comrades marathonThe world’s greatest ultra-marathon, 90 kilometres long, the Comrades is a South African institution, internationally recognised for the body-sapping challenge it poses and the camaraderie it fosters among its thousands of participants. This year the world’s greatest ultramarathon and KwaZulu-Natal showpiece will be run from Pietermaritzburg to Durban on Sunday 24 May 2009.”

“Comrades Marathon is an iconic event with a special place in the hearts and minds of South Africans, but they have come to expect it to be run in mid-June. “

This is the first time the race has been staged as early as May since 1995 when it was brought forward to avoid clashing with the Rugby World Cup hosted by South Africa in June 1995. Similarly the 2009 and 2010 Comrades Marathons have been brought forward to avoid clashing with the FIFA Confederations Cup (14 – 29 June 2009) and the FIFA World Cup (11 June – 11 July 2010) respectively.

With the race being staged three weeks earlier than usual, the Closing Date for Entries also had to be brought forward to 31 March 2009, thus falling ahead of several popular and traditional qualifying races. To accommodate this CMA implemented a special dispensation whereby prospective entrants must submit their entries by 31 March, but may still qualify in official qualifying races up until a final cut-off for qualifying on 28 April.

Race Director Renee Jordaan expressed cautious optimism regarding the field of entries for 2009 as there is potentially more at stake than just this year’s race. “Looking ahead to 2010 which coincides with the 85th running of the Comrades Marathon, CMA decided to cap the number of entries at 20,000 for 2010 and made a commitment to reserve the first 15,000 entries for previous Comrades finishers.” She urged runners to avoid possible double disappointment by meeting this year’s entry deadline.

“So far indications from attendance at our Comrades Marathon Worshops, as well as the increased fields participating in shorter races throughout South Africa, are that we should attract a large field this year. However, it’s always a bit of a waiting game with the majority of runners entering during the final few days before closing, after which we have six weeks to process entries and finalise logistical requirements for the race”, said Jordaan.

“In the meantime, groundwork for the staging of a memorable event is proceeding well according to schedule with an experienced and dedicated organising committee working to slightly tighter deadlines than usual,” said Boshoff.

On a historical note, 24 May is a significant date in the annals of Comrades Marathon history in that the first 26 races from 1921 – 1951 were run on what was then a public holiday (Empire Day) on 24 May. No races were run during the war years 1941 – 1945.

Champion Leonid Shvetsov confirms Comrades Marathon 2009

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

Leonid Shvetsov, defending champion and current record holder, of the last two Comrades Marathons, confirmed today that he will be lining up at the start of this year’s Comrades Marathon down run in Pietermaritzburg on 24 May in Nedbank Running Club colours.

Shvetsov will be competing for the Nedbank Running Club with team mate Herman’s Mokgadi, the first South African runner home in 2008. Other elite Athletes that are competing for the Nedbank Running Club include:

White Modisenyane, Gift Kelehe, Joseph Marman, Lucas Nonyana, Frans Kutu to mention a few of the top men and Lindsay Van Aswegan is one of the Nedbank Elite ladies athletes.

“To have a runner of Shvetsov’s pedigree choosing to run in Nedbank colours is an honour and shows how far Nedbank has come in establishing itself as a major sponsor and supporter of South African road running,” says Patrick Baransky, sponsorship portfolio manager, Road Running.

In an email addressed to Nick Bester, the National Manager for the Nedbank Running Club, Shvetsov expressed his desire to win at least one more Comrades Marathon before turning his attention to a career as a medical practitioner.

“In the mail I could sense that he won’t be satisfied with anything less than another Comrades win. I also spoke to his manager, Sergey Krasnochekov, who told me that Leonid is as ready as can be for this year’s race,” says Bester.

National Youth Run

Posted on May 04, 2009 under Comrades Marathon | 2 Comments

The Comrades Marathon Association today confirmed that following on the overwhelming success of last year’s inaugural event, CMA in conjunction with KwaZulu-Natal Athletics, will again be staging the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sport & Recreation National Youth Run as a prelude to the 2009 Comrades Marathon.

The event, which is sponsored by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sport & Recreation and the Umsobomvu Youth Fund, will be staged on Saturday, 23 May 2009. It consists of a 10km Road Race/Walk and a 5km Fun Run/Walk, aimed primarily at exposing young people to the joys and benefits of running, while also providing them with a tangible opportunity to participate in the “Comrades Marathon experience”.

However, while the main focus of the event is on youth, both the 10km and 5km components are open to participants of all ages and present Comrades Marathon runners, their families, friends and supporters, walkers, joggers and exercise enthusiasts with an ideal opportunity to get into the “Comrades spirit” with a relaxing and festive run the day before the “big race”.

Last year’s inaugural National Youth Run was staged on the Durban beachfront, an enormously popular and successful venue, which attracted 3000 participants. Owing to extensive renovations currently underway in the build-up to 2010, the beachfront area is out of the question this year and the entire event has been moved to Durban North.

The organisers have however managed to secure an extremely pleasant venue with a glorious sea-view at Riverside Sports and have put together an attractive and enjoyable route through Durban North suburbs, which is very gently undulating and takes in occasional glimpses of the sea.

Entry fees for the event are nominal at R10 for the 10km (minimum age 15) and R5 for the 5km (minimum age 9), making it affordable entertainment for the whole family. And thanks to the generosity of sponsors, KZN Deptartment of Sport and Recreation and Umsobomvu Youth Fund, there are prizes to the value of over R80,000 prizes to be won, including over R20,000 worth of fabulous lucky draw prizes which will be awarded at random to participants of both the 5km and 10km.

With the emphasis of the event on youth positional prizes will be awarded for the 10km Race in the 15-19 age category only – from R1000 1st prizes (male & female) down to R100 10th prizes (male & female). Arguably the most fiercely contested prizes however will once again be prizes offered for schools participation, with R15,000, R12,000, R10,000, R8000 and R5000 up for grabs to the Top Five Schools with the Most Finishers.

The 10km Race/Walk starts at 09h00 on Saturday 23 May and the 5km starts at 09h15, with an official cut-off time of 10h30 for both races. In keeping with the traditions of the Comrades Marathon, official finishers of the National Youth Run will be awarded medals as follows:

  • Gold medals to the 1st 10 men and 1st 10 women in the 10km
  • Silver medals to all other finishers of the 10km under 60 minutes
  • Bronze medals to finishers between 60 – 90 minutes in the 10km
  • Copper medals to all finishers of the 5km.

T-shirts will be awarded to the first 3000 finishers of the 10km.

Entries are open now with entry forms available through schools, sports shops and at the offices of KwaZulu-Natal Athletics and Comrades Marathon Association, or download the entry form off our website.

For further information on the National Youth Run phone KZNA (031) 312 9374 or CMA (033)897 8650.

Amabeadibeadi charity campaign to raise R2 million in 2009

Posted on Apr 30, 2009 under Comrades Marathon | No Comment

Brief History
In 1999 the CMA decided to increase its “reach out” and giving back to local communities that were impoverished and in dire need of assistance. The CMA joined forces with the woman of a local KZN community and launched a Charity initiative in the form of “Beads for Charity.” The woman would manufacture beaded necklaces and these were then purchased by the CMA and sold to sponsors and runners. It was decided to do it in this way as this would alleviate the woman from distribution costs of their products, thus maximizing their profits, and allowing the CMA to sell the beaded necklaces with a slight mark up, and this percentage mark up is the finances that are raised and distributed to the 4 Charities.

It was decided in 2000 to give the Charity drive a more South African feel and name, hence Amabeadibeadi was created and continues to grow from strength to strength each year. A couple of years ago it was decided to try out alternative products and there was a major outcry form the Comrades runners and Comrades supporters that there were no beads. Thus the CMA brought back the Beads. This is the 10th anniversary of the Amabeadibeadi charity campaign, which has seen in excess of R10 Million rand raised for the various charities that have been supported during the years.

One must acknowledge that since the introduction of a top quality vehicle as a prize for the charity drive competition has seen a massive increase in revenue distributed to the Charities. The first year saw an increase of over R700 000 raised from previous years. To this we have to thank General Motors for their generous sponsorship of the Captiva, and their continued unwavering support of the Comrades Marathon.

Peter Proctor, CMA Vice Chairman “The 2008, Amabeadibeadi Charity drive raised over R1 million, through the sale of the Amabeadibeadi products and the Chevrolet win-a-car SMS competition. This year we hope to surpass the R2 million mark, and this will only be possible with the support from our generous sponsors, the public, and our Comrades Runners.”

“The best way to try and reach this mark is by having a top of the range prize on offer and link the Amabeadibeadi campaign to a sms competition. Chevrolet has come to the party once again and sponsored a Chevrolet Captiva, which will be awarded to the winner of the SMS competition at the end of Race Day on the 24 May.”

SMS the words “CAPTIVA” to 38275 and stand a chance of winning a Chevrolet Captiva.

The Charities that benefit from the Amabeadibeadi campaign are:

12890 Entries for Comrades Marathon 2009

Posted on Apr 23, 2009 under Comrades Marathon | 1 Comment

The CMA is proud to announce that the final number for this years race is 12890. We are ecstatic at the fact that there has been a significant increase in the final number this year as from the previous 4 years. A 17% increase in entrants this year is testament that Road Running, Marathon Running and in particular, the Comrades Marathon is in a healthy position.

Of the 12890 entrants, there are:

130: International Runners – Woman
460: International Runners – Men
2120: South Africa Runners – Woman
10180: South Africa Runners – Men

From the 12890 entries 2404 runners are Novices, (first time Comrades Marathon runners).

CMA vindicated in Shvetsov case

Posted on Apr 07, 2009 under Comrades Marathon | 1 Comment

After the 2007 Comrades Marathon, Leonid Shvetsov, the reigning Comrades Marathon Champion and holder of both the Up and Down run records respectively for the race, instituted a legal claim against the CMA for allegedly reneging on the incentive offered for setting a new record.

During 2008 the athlete alleged through his legal representatives that the CMA failed to hand over the 50 ounce gold statue that was on offer, (sponsored by Harmony Gold) should a runner break the Comrades Marathon course record in 2007.
At the time the CMA stated that the organisation had received written confirmation from Harmony Gold (PTY) Ltd, a personal sponsor of Leonid Shvetsov, as well as a CMA commercial sponsor in 2007, and sponsor of the Harmony Gold Running Club to which he was contracted at the time, that they (Harmony Gold (Pty) Ltd) had paid Shvetsov an agreed cash equivalent amount in lieu of the gold statue, thereby fulfilling the incentive offered by the CMA for breaking the record, and Harmony Gold (Pty) Ltd fulfilling its commercial agreement with the CMA and the athlete that set a new record.
In the light of this the CMA has consistently maintained that the dispute was not between the CMA and Shetsov but between the Athlete and his Club, Harmony Gold Running Club. According to Shvetsov Harmony Gold Running Club allegedly promised him a cash incentive, over and above any incentives offered by the CMA, if he set a new Comrades Marathon course record; a cash incentive which he alleges was never paid to him by Harmony Gold Running Club. The CMA cannot comment on this agreement between the Athlete and his personal contracted running club.
Consequently, after lengthy discussions between the legal representatives of the various parties (CMA, Shvetsov and Harmony Gold), the matter was settled out of court when Harmony Gold (PTY) Ltd agreed to pay Leonid Shvetsov an undisclosed cash settlement amount on behalf of the then Harmony Gold Running Club for the incentive that was in agreement between the running club and Shvetsov.
Dave Dixon, (Comrades Marathon Association Chairman) wishes to state categorically that the organisation has never and will never willingly renege on any of its obligations towards its runners and other stakeholders, and that the organisation will continue to uphold the values of quality service delivery, excellence, transparency and integrity that they are world renowned for.
Gary Boshoff (CMA General Manager) said that “the CMA has absolutely nothing to do with any, and all negotiations or discussions that take place between professional athletes and the various running clubs that contract the athletes to run on their behalf each year.
“The CMA responsibilities are vested with preparing and staging a world class ultra marathon each year, and that the CMA has its own commercial programme that has to be managed to ensure that the commercial rights afforded to these partners are upheld and delivered. Furthermore that should a CMA commercial partner offer any incentive / s that are achieved by an individual running the Comrades Marathon, that the CMA will manage the process of the transaction between the commercial partner and the athlete and make sure that the incentive is given to the athlete concerned. This is exactly what happened in the Shvetsov case.”

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.

Grace de Oliveira retires from Comrades Marathon

Posted on Mar 24, 2009 under Comrades Marathon | No Comment

Grace de Oliveira an exceptional athlete and a true Comrades Marathon legend broke the news today to the CMA that she has retired from Ultra Distance running.

Grace DeOliveira (47), who has consistently finished and competed for top honours each Comrades Marathon since 1999, will not be competing in the 2009 Comrades Marathon. Grace has always done herself, her family, KZN, and South Africa proud, finishing 7 times in the top 10, and only 3 times out the top 10 woman. Grace had her best result in 1999 when she finished in second place in a time of 06:34:53. Grace has 7 Gold Medals and 3 silver. Grace has always been a top contender for Comrades.

Grace gave 10 years of her running career to the Comrades Marathon and Ultra Marathons. She is a highly competitive runner and stated that she “loves Comrades” but would prefer to concentrate on the shorter distances.

“At the start of the 2008 Comrades Marathon, I had already decided that this would be my last Comrades Marathon, and that I would do the best I could.” “I am very happy with my decision to retire from the Ultra distance running but will still be running the shorter races.”

Grace also urged all runners that had still not made up the minds to enter the 2009 race to do so by the 31 March 2009.

Grace has achieved the following Comrades Marathon results

Year                 Position           Medal
1999                 2                      Gold
2000                 3                      Gold
2001                 7                      Gold
2002                 6                      Gold
2003                 11                     Silver
2004                 8                      Gold
2005                 13                     Silver
2006                 10                     Gold
2007                 10                     Gold
2008                 13                     Silver

Comrades Marathon prepares 89.3km route for runners

Posted on Feb 18, 2009 under Running | No Comment

The Comrades Marathon Association has confirmed that there will be no changes to the route for the Comrades Marathon “down run” which will be run on Sunday 24 May 2009.

It will be run on precisely the same route as the most recent “down run” in 2007 in which Leonid Shvetsov set a new best time of 5:20:41 for the “down run” having shattered Bruce Fordyce’s 21-year old previous best time of 5:24:07 set in 1986,

The distance for 2009 is confirmed as 89.3km.

Comrades Marathon has seen the implementation of numerous route changes since the race was first run on Thursday 24 May 1921, with the distance of the race having varied by as much as 5km from shortest to longest during the course of its history.

The earliest Comrades Marathons were run alternately between the City Halls of Pietermaritzburg and Durban, a distance estimated to have been approximately 56 miles.  The race was run largely on dirt roads, with the route passing through several gates and crossing at least one stream, while refreshments for the 30 – 100 competitors were provided by the few hotels situated on the route and supplemented by local farmers.

As population growth and development of the two cities and the rural areas between them progressed over a period of decades, the character and landscape of the province of KwaZulu-Natal obviously also changed dramatically.

Over the years, major and minor changes to the Comrades Marathon route consequently ensued – whether implemented as a natural outcome of infrastructural development, to alleviate traffic congestion, avoid temporary road construction or to accommodate the ever-increasing popularity of an event which grew to attract thousands of participants and hundreds of thousands of spectators.  Some changes were necessitated simply owing to the change of finishing venues.

From year to year, the exact route is subject to the outcome of negotiations conducted between CMA and traffic authorities.  In recent years there have been no changes implemented, with the route for the “down run” having stabilised at approximately 89km and the route for the “up run” at 87km.  The course is recognised as being extremely challenging in either direction, undulating with infamous hill climbs on both the “up” and “down runs”.

Comrades Marathon Race Director Renee Jordaan has confirmed that the organisers will be providing 48 refreshment stations for this year’s “down run” to cater for an anticipated 12,000 – 13,000 participants.  They will also provide extensive medical and emergency services, as well as a runners rescue service for those runners unable to complete the distance.

A reminder that the Closing Date for Entries is 31 March 2009.  Runners MUST submit their entries by Closing Date, but may still qualify up until 28 April.

On a historical note, according to Comrades Marathon “records”, the shortest Comrades Marathon run in recent years was an “up run” in 2002 measured at 86.5km and won by Vladimir Kotov in a time of 5:30:59.   The longest was a “down run” in 1982 measured at 91.4km and won by Bruce Fordyce in a time of 5:34:22.

Comrades Marathon 2010 Announcement

Posted on Nov 11, 2008 under Comrades Marathon | No Comment

2010 is going to be an incredibly important year for the South African nation and it comes with no surprise that the Comrades Marathon Association prepared themselfes in time with extra organisational announcements:

The Comrades Marathon Association, like all other South African sports organization, are looking forward with much anticipation to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which promises to be the biggest sporting extravaganza ever staged in this country. Given that the Comrades Marathon will be presented just a matter of days before the start of the World Cup, the CMA has positioned its 2010 race as an ideal opportunity for runners and others involved in the race to become part of the wave of excitement that will be sweeping the country at that time.

Much like the 2000 race, which saw over 24 000 people joining in the millennium celebrations and taking to the road between Durban and Pietermaritzburg, organisers expect the 2010 Comrades to have a similar impact.

For this reason, plus the fact that it will be the 85th running of the race, the CMA is gearing up for the biggest, most spectacular and most exciting Comrades since 2000.

Looking back at 2000, the CMA has decided to cap the overall entry level at 20 000 runners. This has been done in order to avoid logistical problems and congestion of the route.

Also learning from the 2000 experience, when numerous previous Comrades runners returned to the race, it has been decided to encourage previous finishers, including 2009 runners, to come back to the race as part of the 2010 celebration. To underline this objective, the first 15 000 entry slots have been reserved for these specific runners.

Furthermore, entries for the 2010 race will open far earlier than normal to accommodate this large field, and it has also been decided that the period September to November 2009, will be set aside for previous runners only, with novice entries only opening up after that. Thus the CMA encourages anyone who plans to run in 2010 – novices and previous finishers alike – to run in 2009 in order to secure their qualification and entry the following year.

2010 novices without a previous Comrades finish will be able to qualify during the period immediately after the 2009 race, up to the closing date for the 2010 race, but will have to enter early to secure one of the remaining 5 000 places on offer.

Given the significance of 2010, everyone finishing that year will be presented with a special 85th Comrades/World Cup 2010 commemorative race medal.

In another break with tradition, it has been decided that 2010 will be another “down run”, meaning that there will be two such runs in succession. As a result, the CMA is offering 2009 novices the opportunity to come back in 2010 and collect a once-off “Back-to-Back Double-Down” medal, never before offered in the race.

In years to come, South Africans will look back on 2010 as a major landmark in the history of South Africa. The Comrades Marathon offers runners – both past finishers and novices alike – the opportunity to take an active part in this historical occasion.