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The 94th running of the world-famous Comrades Marathon is scheduled to begin at 5:30am (8:30pm Pacific time Saturday) on Sunday, taking place from Durban to Pietermaritzburg.
“The Comrades Marathon attracts the very best ultra-runners in the world and this year will be no different. This year’s up-run already promises to be an epic race,” said Cheryl Winn, CMA chairperson.
In the women’s race, America’s Camilla Herron has a real shot of winning for the second time but her competition is top notch.
Here are the top five female contenders:
1. Ann Ashworth (second photo) shocked the field to win the 2018 race with a tactical and composed performance. She subsequently left her career as an advocate to run full time ahead of the 2019 race. Ashworth is in good form and achieved a marathon PB of 2:35 at the Valencia Marathon in December. A genuine contender to become the first female to win back-to-back races since Elena Nurgalieva.
2. Gerda Steyn The 28-year-old has enjoyed a meteoric rise from amateur to professional in the space of just five years. After finishing as runner-up last year, Steyn took a six-week break from the sport before preparing to tackle the New York Marathon, finishing 13th in a PB of 2:31. The 2018 and 2019 Two Oceans winner has made it clear, her goal this year is to claim a maiden Comrades Marathon title.
3. Camille Herron (first photo) was left gutted just weeks before last year’s race as injury robbed her of a chance to claim back-to-back victories. It has been two years since her big win but the raging crowds and electric atmosphere which greeted her at the finish at Scottsville Racecourse will serve as a huge motivating factor as she prepares for a comeback. She set a new 100-mile record at the Desert Solstice Track Invitational in December. As the reigning up-run champion, the 37-year-old is a genuine title contender.
4. Charne Bosman The 2016 down-run winner has proved to be one of South Africa’s most consistent athletes in recent years. She has five gold medals from six starts at Comrades. She is now 43 but there are no signs of her powers waning. She won the Johnson Crane Hire Marathon in January and the Om Die Dam Marathon in March. Bosman is in red hot form and is a genuine contender to win the race.
5. American Devon Yanko’s (third photo) Comrades journey began back in 2012 when she came fifth on debut. She then took a four-year break from the race but returned over the last two years to earn another two gold medals. She won the Oaklands Marathon in a time of 2:43 in March. An accomplished runner who knows what it takes push for a win.
Should the winner in either the Men’s or Women’s races in this year’s Comrades break the ‘Up Run’ Best Times of Russia’s Leonid Shvetsov (2008 – 5:24:49) or Elena Nurgalieva (2006 – 6:09:24) respectively, he or she will take home a minimum of R1-million ($66,849US) in Comrades prize money, comprised of a first prize of R500,000 plus a R500,000 incentive for breaking the Best Time; in addition to prizes for First South African (R200,000) and First KZN Man and Woman (R45,000).(06/08/2019) ⚡AMP
Arguably the greatest ultra marathon in the world where athletes come from all over the world to combine muscle and mental strength to conquer the approx 90kilometers between the cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban, the event owes its beginnings to the vision of one man, World War I veteran Vic Clapham. A soldier, a dreamer, who had campaigned in East...more...