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South African Gerda Steyn shattered the course record at Comrades as Camille had to drop out due to hamstring issues

The 94th running of South Africa’s premier Ultra marathon, the Comrades got underway at 5:30am Sunday June 9. 

South African runners Edward Mothibi and Gerda Steyn ended up the 2019 Comrades Marathon champions.  Gerda broke the course record winning one million R ($66,849US) in the process.  

Edward Mothibi won the race after a fourth placed finish in his Comrades debut last year, beating defending champion Bongmusa Mthembu by just 25 seconds.

Local favourite Gerda Steyn stole the show on Sunday as she shattered the women’s record leading the charge with South African athletes produced sterling performances in KwaZulu-Natal.

After breaking clear of the rest of the women’s field shortly before the halfway mark, Steyn gradually extended her lead throughout the second half, crossing the line in 5:58:53 to secure her maiden victory in the 87km race between Durban and Pietermaritzburg.

This shattered the up-run record, held by Russian runner Elena Nurgalieva, by more than ten minutes. Steyn became the first woman to run the Comrades up run in less than six hours. Her time was the fourth fastest of all-time for women, the only faster times were notched in down-runs.

The race is run ‘gun to gun’ meaning that contestants have 12 hours in total to complete the course.

This year’s race is an “UP RUN” starting at the City Hall in Durban and finished at the Scottsville Racecourse in Pietermaritzburg. The race distance is approximately 87km.

28-year-old Gerda Steyn 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 PR of 2:31. The 2018 and 2019 Two Oceans winner made it clear in advance that her goal this year was to win and that is what she did this morning. 

America’s Camille Herron was not able to finished and dropped out.  

Camille’s brother Jack posted this on Facebook.  “My sister Camille Herron ended up dropping out from Comrades due too hamstring issues she’s been dealing with. I’m heart broken for her because this is just such a special event for her and our entire family.

“I understand the whole mentality of getting to race another day... but she trains so hard and we wait all year for her to defend this title she’s earned. I mean, just her single win is enough, but she goes out every time for a win, so when it doesn’t happen... it’s tough.”

Steyn now will shifts her focus away from Ultra marathons in a bid to qualify for the Olympic marathon in Tokyo next year. The Olympic marathon is expected to be run in blistering heat, with the start moved to 06:00 to mitigate potentially dangerous temperatures. Steyn’s ultra experience could make her a real contender for the Olympic crown.

(06/09/2019) ⚡AMP
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Comrades Marathon

Comrades Marathon

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...

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America’s Camille Herron has a real shot at winning the Comrades marathon for the second time

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
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Comrades Marathon

Comrades Marathon

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...

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70-year-old Rosina Sebati will be this year’s oldest female runner at the Comrades Marathon

Rosina Sebati, 70, who ran her first Comrades in 2008, said her inspiration came after watching Bruce Fordyce still competing at an advanced age.

Sebati said her goal was to run at least 10 Comrades Marathons in her lifetime.

“I was very nervous about the race, I had never seen so many people all in one place at the same time and although I did not make it in time to finish, I got to experience the spirit of Comrades.

Runners do help each other out there while running, its where age, gender and colour disappear,” she said.

Sebati said although she had been a runner while growing up, even representing her province (Transvaal) , she only began running again after she was 50 in an effort to keep healthy.

“I will walk/ run up those difficult Cowie’s and Field’s hills. I want to finish in 11 hours,” she said.

(06/08/2019) ⚡AMP
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Comrades Marathon

Comrades Marathon

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...

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This year 80-year-old Alf Burgess his running his 19th Comrades Marathon

The Richmond, KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, resident said he is a regular runner in his neighborhood and has become a familiar face to drivers on this route.

“I start my running regime at midnight but moved it to 2am or 3am to run with the delivery trucks entering the area to feel safer. I run at least 7 minutes per kilometer,” said Burgess.

“I ran my first Comrades in 1967 with my teammate Tommy Malone, who died two months ago.”

He recalled the marathon in 1966 where Malone won his first his Comrades, saying this had inspired him to participate the following year.

Burgess participated in the race the following year where Malone lost by one second to Manie Kuhn because of a leg cramp.

“I placed 51st in my first race. I’m running again after 18 years and I’ve run 18 (Comrades) marathons.”

He admitted that he used to start the marathon too fast causing him to tire easily and this contributed heavily to his 18-year long break from his last race in 2001.

Burgess said he plans to run another race in order to complete his personal goal of 20 races.

His advice to those who are keen on running the Comrades for the first time was to be fit, to start off with a walk and then a park run.

(06/07/2019) ⚡AMP
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Comrades Marathon

Comrades Marathon

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...

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Maurice Rosen is running the 2019 Comrades Marathon for the 36th time since he was 25

Comrades veteran Maurice Rosen, 65, a financial officer says it was the feelings and emotions he felt in 1979 when he crossed the finish line after 89km that keeps him coming back every year.

“It's just that feeling at the end when you cross that finish line.

"Probably 95% of Comrades is the actual training and you put so much training into it and it is such a special day. I just want to get to the finish line,” he said.

Rosen said he had finished every Comrades he had entered, and he also enjoyed taking part in the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon and the Two Oceans Marathon.

The early riser said he starts training for the marathon a few months before Comrades by doing smaller weekend marathons in and around Joburg, and the intensity of his training picked up about three months before Comrades.

Over a five-month period, Rosen said, he runs about 2000km (1240 miles) in total.

He added there was a 10-week period before the marathon which was crucial for training, and he “buckles down.”

However, the week before the gruelling event he spends most of his time resting.

“It's difficult to train, but I think that it would be more difficult to sit in front of the television and try and watch it. I would say to myself that 'I just want to be there, I have got to be there',” he said.

Rosen ran Comrades for the first time in 1979 and has run every year except 1984 when he was studying. 

(06/05/2019) ⚡AMP
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Comrades Marathon

Comrades Marathon

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...

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Gerda Steyn is focused to take the title at the 94th Comrades Marathon Sunday

After narrowly missing the record in last month’s Two Oceans Marathon, Steyn has enjoyed a trouble-free training camp in the mountains of France, together with third place finisher from last year, Steve Way, and Anthony Clark, both running this year’s race in the colours of Nedbank Running Club.

“A lot of people asked me if I am disappointed at just missing the record in Two Oceans,” laughed Steyn.

“Looking back at it now it was a little bit sad to be so close but even with 8km to go, I told myself to save the legs because Comrades is my main focus of the year and I didn’t want to do too much damage.” It’s a decision that Steyn hopes will pay dividends in this year’s event.

Last year’s winner Ann Ashworth comes into this race much faster than before, but it is the Up-run defending champion, Nedbank Running Club’s Camille Herron, who is hoping to defend her title.

A strong athlete with multiple world records, Herron is well known for her awkward running style that took her to victory in 2017.

Teaming up with her club mate Steyn, the two make a dangerous combination.

Throw in stalwart Fikile Mbuthuma and OMTOM gold medalist Ntombesintu Mfunzi who will be one to watch on her Comrades debut, the ‘Green Dream Team’ ladies will be a force on the route.

Adding to Nedbank’s Comrades debuts this year is Poland's Dominika Stelmach who had an unfortunate injury that forced her out of starting last year’s race.

After her fourth-place finish at this year’s Two Oceans, Stelmach is hungry to make an impression.

Also making a debut will be four-time World Ironman champion Chrissie Wellington. The 42-year-old English athlete ran 2 hours 51 minutes in this year’s London Marathon to qualify for Comrades which puts her in with a chance of a top 10 finish.

Carla Molinaro who represented Great Britain last year in the World 100km championships, but now has South African citizenship, will be another athlete looking for a top 10 finish after finishing ninth last year.

South African Deanne Horn is a newcomer in the ultra-marathon scene. She finished 42nd in her debut in 2017 and finished 15th last year and has represented South Africa in the World 100km championships. Together with team-mates Steyn, Mfunzi, Molinaro and Mbuthuma, the Nedbank ladies will be looking to take the team prize in this year’s race.

(06/04/2019) ⚡AMP
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Comrades Marathon

Comrades Marathon

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...

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Canadians Catrin Jones and Calum Neff head to Comrades Marathon

Catrin Jones and Calum Neff, two of Canada’s strongest ultrarunners, are heading to South Africa this week to tackle the 94th running of South Africa’s most famous and historic ultramarathon, the Comrades, next Saturday, June 8.

Neff ran it for the first time last year, finishing in 31st position overall, in 6:08:06. Jones will be racing Comrades for the first time.

Jones is a veteran of the BC trail and road scenes who has eased back into racing since having her daughter, Elodie, who is now two.

“I’ve been wanting to go for years and thought about it many times,” says Jones, inspired by her friend, the much-decorated ultrarunner Ellie Greenwood, who won Comrades in 2014.

Jones won last year’s Squamish 50K and Whistler 30K, and finished third at the 2018 BMO Vancouver Marathon.

Neff holds the Guinness World Record for fastest marathon while pushing a stroller (2:21:22), set with his daughter Alessandra at the 2016 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

(Neff also held the half-marathon stroller record for a time, but his 1:11:27 from 2016 was eclipsed in 2017.) Neff is from Ontario but lives and trains in Houston, Texas.

(06/03/2019) ⚡AMP
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Comrades Marathon

Comrades Marathon

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...

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Kenyan athletes have never been big on tackling the 90km race between Pietermaritzburg and Durban South Africa

The Comrades Marathon hasn't been a hit with Kenyan long distance athletes‚ but the entries of Justin Chesire Kemboi and Melly Kennedy will lend the long needed East African flavour the race has needed.

Kenyan athletes have long been considered as the toast of African distance running with their Ethiopian competitors close behind them.

However‚ they've never been big on tackling the 90km race between Pietermaritzburg and Durban.

In the race's roll of honour‚ that's showed but they've made an impression on the shorter and less taxing Two Oceans Marathon (56km).

Cheshire and Kennedy will be running for the Nedbank Running Club with the former having won the Two Oceans Marathon last year in a time of 3.09.21.

Kennedy came fourth in the same race. This year‚ Kemboi was third behind Bong'musa Mthembu and David Gatebe.

Nick Bester‚ a former Comrades Marathon winner and team manager of the Nedbank Running Club‚ said there's enough financial incentive in the world's oldest and largest ultra-marathon for them to take it serious.

Elite Kenyan marathon runners are often seen dominating blue chip races like the New York‚ London and Boston Marathons.

The winner of the respective Comrades races will win R500,000 ($34,000US) each with the runner's up winning R250,000 ($17,000US).

“Which professional athlete will run a long distance for free? It makes no sense.

"Why would you waste your legs and body on a long distance and not get paid for it. It's a professional thing and guys have to be paid for their efforts‚” Bester said.

“Their mindset isn't shaped by ultra-marathons as they are pretty fast.

"They grow up in environments where track and shorter marathons dominated their thinking. The Comrades has always been a great race but it's become very popular now with international athletes.

"One must remember that Comrades isn't about pace or speed. It's a lot about the mental battle.”

It will be interesting to see how these Kenyans will do in this year's Comrades Marathon.

 

(05/30/2019) ⚡AMP
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Comrades Marathon

Comrades Marathon

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...

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Siya Mqambeli could win the Comrades Marathon June 9

Granted, Siya Mqambeli is not yet in the class of a Bongmusa Mthembu or David Gatebe, but to win The Ultimate Human Race takes way more than talent. An athlete needs to have the will and self-belief that he can conquer one of the world’s most difficult ultra-marathons.

Mqambeli has both in abundance and those around him are in no doubt that the runner from Mount Frere in the Eastern Cape, South Africa will back his words with action come June 9.

Given his great runs at the Eastern Cape’s Buffs and Legends Marathons this year, you could not argue that he is one to watch.

Mqambeli finished third in both races, running 2hr 26min in the standard marathon and 4:12 in the 68km Legends event.

But it was at Entsika's camp in Dullstroom where he gave the clearest indication yet that he is going for Comrades gold.

During an easy one-hour run with five of his teammates and yours truly, Mqambeli was poetry in motion and hardly looked like he got out of first gear. He exchanged friendly banter with teammate Gordon Lesetedi and his face told the story of a contented man.

This was in stark contrast to last year when he resembled an adopted kid struggling to be at home in his new environment, reserved and conspicuous by his silence.

He ran an impressive 6:09.10 for 32md place in the Down Run last year to take home his sixth silver medal in seven attempts.

Next weekend, he is on no doubt he will bring home gold.

“So far my training has gone well,” he said with a broad smile. “I’m going to make things happen. I am confident that something great is going to happen come June 9.”

That Mqambeli is a new man has to do with the impact made by Entsika, the company that took coach John Hamlett and his athletes under their wing when their previous backers pulled out.

(05/29/2019) ⚡AMP
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Comrades Marathon

Comrades Marathon

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...

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Coach John Hamlett says defending Comrades Marathon champion will be hard-pressed to defend his 2017 title

Speaking at the Team Entsika's launch in Dullstroom in Mpumalanga on Thursday‚ Hamlett‚ who has coached five Comrades Marathon winners since 2001‚ said Mthembu will be hard-pressed to defend his 2017 title because of his recent Two Oceans Marathon win.

“He's a tough athlete and there's nothing wrong with the man."It would be wonderful for him to win because it would make him into a legend.

"However‚ he's got a problem in reality because the guys feel exactly the way he does. They're hungry‚” Hamlett said.Team Entsika‚ which replaced the Tom-Tom Athletics team two years ago‚ has the likes of Gordon Lesetedi‚ Gift Kelehe and Siya Mqambeli to call on.

Kelehe followed in his brother Andrew's footsteps by winning the 2015 up-run in a time of 5.38.36 while his brother won the 2001 down-run in a time of 5.25.51.

Lesetedi (sixth)‚ down-run record holder David Gatebe (eighth) and Kelehe (ninth) were part of a Team Entsika trio that finished in the top 10 in last year's down-run that was won by Mthembu in a time of 5.26.34.

Mthembu won the 2017 up-run in a time of 5.35.34 in a race where Kelehe was third in a time of 5.41.48.Mthembu won last month's Two Oceans Marathon in Cape Town in a time of 3.08.40.

“We've given him the bonus for the past two years but as a coach‚ I am concerned by the fact that he's run and won the Two Oceans Marathon so close to the Comrades‚" he said."It doesn't help you too much but we'll talk after 65kms.

”This year's Comrades Marathon up from Durban to Pietermaritzburg will take place on June 9.

(05/23/2019) ⚡AMP
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Comrades Marathon

Comrades Marathon

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...

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Camille Herron is back and better than ever after suffering a quad injury

Herron transitioned to trail running in 2016 and promptly set a course record by 27 minutes at the Ultra Race of Champions 100K in 9:36:05—and did it while drinking a Rogue Ales Dead Guy Ale during the last few miles of the race, which has since become part of her racing strategy.

In June 2017, Camille Herron competed in Comrades Marathon, a race in South Africa known for its 55-miles of torturous mountainous climbs. She crossed the line first by over four minutes, and became the third American ever to win the race.

Then in November, Herron not only won her first 100-mile race at the Tunnel Hill 100, but broke the World Record for the women’s 100-mile distance by over an hour.

During the race, she averaged a pace of 7:38 per mile. For Herron, running is not only a sport, but an extension of her identity; she is voracious in her pursuit of distance, but she has fun, too.

She looks forward to her post-run bacon and beer and, the night before big races, Herron brings a speaker to host dance parties. Sometimes she’s still dancing the next morning on the start line. This year, Herron was poised to return to the 2018 Comrades race in the best shape of her life.

However, in late May of 2018, just weeks before she was set to toe the line, she tried a new quad strengthening routine she found on YouTube. Always one to push herself to the limits, Herron found herself limping in the days that followed, due to a stress reaction of the femur and she withdrew from Comrades.

Weeks later, realizing she could not run at all, she withdrew from the 2018 Western States Endurance Run as well. Herron, 36, who now splits her time between Alamosa, Colorado, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, took her first steps back running eight weeks ago and recently completed a 114.6-mile week of training.  Camille is back and will be racing soon.

(11/15/2018) ⚡AMP
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Richard Mazungula was born to run but he didn't know it until last year

Richard Mazungula is arguably one of the best athletes in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa. The 41-year-old said he used to run in track races in high school, but it’s been years. “Back then, people used to tell me I had talent, but I only ran for fun, not for fame. I don’t know why I started running again. It can only be God’s grace,” he explained. His first venture back on the track was for a 5km race in Forest Hill last year and, to his great surprise, he came first. He’s been running non-stop ever since. Since September last year, Mazungula has run almost 75 races. He is now a proud member of the Nedbank Running Club.  Mazungula has astounded many racing fans by running five ultra marathons this year alone. The first was the Amobia Bay Ultra Marathon in February, followed by the 2018 Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon and the Bruintjieshoogte Marathon. Only four days after the that Marathon he ran the Zwelitsha Mdantsane Ultra Marathon. The last ultra was the 2018 Comrades Marathon. This came as a surprise to him as well as he said he never ran more than 15km races when he was younger. “Most athletes only run one ultra a year. I’ve run five this year alone and I have no pain or injuries. “It must be God’s will. “Some of the guys asked me if I had any help, but I don’t use any supplements or anything like that. We’re tested for those kind of things. I just like to run.” (07/25/2018) ⚡AMP
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Xolani Luvuno finishes the Comrades Marathon and says running has turned his life around after losing one leg

Xolani Luvuno, was five hours into the race when the rest of the field started at 5:30 a.m. He had been granted additional time because after an injury his right leg was amputated, according to News 24, an African news outlet. Race organizers granted him the additional time on the course, but said he would not be an official participant of the race because it would take longer than the 12-hour cutoff time. He says that the marathon required a lot of training.  “It helped me to turn my life around because I used to be an alcoholic, going to parties.  Instead of partying anymore, I focus on my running.” He had this to say at the finish line: “I wanted to make sure that I finish before cut-off time and my coach said to me don’t rush because the Comrades Marathon is not 42km, it’s a big race. I want to say thank you to the supporters who cheered for me on the route, as well as the director of the Comrades Marathon for giving me this chance.” But just like he had overcome a lot in his life just to make it to this race, Luvuno was there to overcome the course. He did just that when he crossed the line in 15 hours, 50 minutes.  (06/11/2018) ⚡AMP
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South African Runners take Top spots at the Comrades Ultra Marathon

South Africa completed a clean sweep at the Comrades Marathon on Sunday as Bongmusa Mthembu and Ann Ashworth ensured that the coveted titles remained in South Africa. It was a South Africa 1-2 in the two categories with Joseph Mphuthi and Gerda Steyn‚ clinching the runners-up spots. In achieving his feat‚ Mthembu completed a hat-trick of victories (after he won in 2014 and 2017) and in the process became only the second man to do it since Bruce Fordyce won the popular ultra-marathon back to back in 1988. The Arthur Ford runner waded off a strong challenge from Marko Mambo of Zimbabwe‚ who had set the pace for the better part in the second half of the 90km down run. Mthembu made his breakthrough at Cowies Hill‚ some 18km from the finish at the Moses Mabhida Stadium. At this point‚ it was left for the rest of the pack that also had a significant South African presence to jostle for the remaining top ten slots. (06/10/2018) ⚡AMP
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Last year's Comrades winner will defend his title on sunday at Comrades Marathon

Bongmusa Mthembu wants to prove he is South Africa’s current best ultra-distance runner.  He has finished among the top three on five occasions at Comrades, with four of those performances achieved on the ‘down’ run. The only South African since 1990 to secure victory more than once.  He was also a silver medallist at the 2016 100km World Championships, and he will be eager to stand up and deliver once again. Other contenders include powerful front-runner Rufus and in-form Zimbabwean athlete Hatiwande Nyamande. While Mthembu and Gatebe are considered the pre-race favorites, a number of other athletes could pull through to win this wide-open race. Title contenders include former winners Ludwick Mamabolo and Gift Kelehe, as well as Zimbabwean athlete Hatiwande Nyamande, who finished third in last year’s ‘up’ run.  On the women's side, last year’s American winner Camille Herron is not running.  (06/09/2018) ⚡AMP
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Veteran athlete Barry Holland will be running his 46th Comrades Marathon

Comrades veteran Holland aims to extend unique record, Barry Holland will bid to complete his 46th Comrades Marathon this Sunday and extend the record for most finishes in the race. “I’m very proud about the record; it has been a very long journey. I’ve been running since I was 20 years old and I’ve run every race since then,” he said from his home in Durban yesterday. Holland jointly holds the record for the most completed Comrades finishes with Louis Massyn and Dave Rogers, who has stopped running. “I’m hoping to run about 10 hours and 50 minutes on Sunday. I’m running with my daughter and it’s her first run, so I’m expecting it to be a very special and emotional day with her,” he said. The 66-year old said the most interesting thing over the years was the difficulty to achieve certain goals. He said it took a great deal of hard work and dedication to get certain goals and milestones that were normally time-based, like the Comrades. “I originally wanted to get less than seven hours and I battled to do that for a very long time. Overcoming that obstacle by thinking, strategising and unpacking my training has been the most interesting thing over the years,” he said. When speaking about the difficulties faced during the race, Holland said a runner needed great discipline and a “good head” to get through certain questions, such as “why am I doing this?”, halfway through the marathon. “Your mental side is bigger than the physical side. (06/06/2018) ⚡AMP
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Underberg local Nkosinathi Duma is dreaming big for this year's Comrades Marathon

Nkosinathi Duma is still a relative novice in the Comrades Marathon but that doesn’t stop him from dreaming big. Born and bred in Underberg in KwaZulu-Natal, Duma has experienced a mixed and emotional start to his Comrades career. He made his debut in the world’s biggest ultra-marathon back in 2013. The 31-year-old has competed in three Comrades but has only managed to finish two. After making his debut in the famous race, Duma opted for a two-year break and returned in 2016. Things didn’t go as planned. though, as he failed to finish. Last year he came back strong as he finished 16th overall. Now Duma is backing himself for a top 10 place and the gold medal that this brings. He has been training with last year’s champion Bongmusa Mthembu under coach Arthur Ford. “Nothing has disrupted my preparations. I have no injuries and I’m looking forward to the race,” Duma enthused. “I started my preparations in December. My training programme is different from the one I used in 2016 and 2017. For the past two years, we used to run 150km per week and this time around we are running more than 250km per week. “It hasn’t been easy but it is worth it. I want to emulate my performance of last year. My target this year is to be in the top 10,” he added with confidence. (06/04/2018) ⚡AMP
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Wietsie van der Westhuizen has participated in 40 consecutive Comrades Marathons

Wietsie van der Westhuizen's love for running started when he was a student at Potchefstroom University in Free State, and he has since participated in 40 consecutive Comrade Marathons. He was invited to run the Two Oceans Marathon by a friend, and this lead to his first Comrades. "At the end of the Two Oceans Marathon, they handed out pamphlets on the Comrades, and I decided to do the Comrades. So at the age of 19, I ran my first Comrades — and I have not stopped yet," the 60-year-old said. He says running is a great sport, because it unites people.   "Anybody can run; you don't have to be a built person, you can be overweight, you can be skinny. Running is for the average person, and I love the spirit of running. Runners do not see color; they're just comrades, like a family," he said. Van der Westhuizen will be running his 41st consecutive Comrades Marathon is a family affair. "My two daughters are running, my son-in-law is running, my brother are running..." (05/30/2018) ⚡AMP
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South African's Johannes Kekana, says I am afraid this will be my final race in Comrades

It's gold or bust for Johannes Kekana at this year's Comrades Marathon, the veteran runner saying he is taking a final tilt at golden glory in The Ultimate Human Race. “I am afraid this will be my final race in Comrades if I fail to make it into the top ten this year,” the Boxer Athletics Club runner said yesterday. While he is one of the country's best in the standard marathon, Kekana has not made great shakes in the ultra-distances. His best run in Comrades came way back in 2013 when he finished 5th in a time of 5:46:27. Before and thereafter, Kekana never broke six hours. Why then is he putting his cards out on the table as he has this time around? “I am feeling like I did back in 2012 and 2013. One of the main reasons I've not had good Comrades runs is the lack of proper camp because of not having sponsors. In 2012 (he completed Comrades in 6hrs and three seconds) and 2013, I was running for Bonitas who organised camps for us. I also did very well in both the Two Oceans and City to City.” He has had a good camp in Mpumalanga and is looking forward to next Sunday. (05/29/2018) ⚡AMP
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Willie Mtolo is adamant that South African athletes will again emerge victorious at the Comrades Marathon

Running legend Mtolo is optimistic that the domination of South Africa’s black male athletes will continue in this year’s Comrades Marathon. The showdown for this much anticipated, world famous KwaZulu/Natal ultra-marathon will take place on June 10. This year’s edition is the Down Run and will see the race starting in Pietermaritzburg with the finish now moved to the iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban. The supremacy of black local athletes has been evident in the past six years since Ludwick Mamabolo ended Zimbabwean Stephen Muzhingi’s three-year (2009 to 2011) stranglehold on the event. Claude Moshiywa, Bongmusa Mthembu (twice), Gift Kelehe and David Gatebe have ensured the title of The Ultimate Human Race remains on local shores. Mtolo is adamant that South African athletes will again emerge victorious in a fortnight’s time. “My money is on either Bongmusa Mthembu or David Gatebe. You can’t also rule out Gift Kelehe. I have no doubt that Comrades will be won by another South African athlete this year.”  “Between Mthembu and Gatebe, one of them will win Comrades. Mthembu possesses a very impressive record (5.28.34) in the Down Run,” explained Mtolo who finished Comrades runner-up in 1989 and 2002. (05/28/2018) ⚡AMP
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Former champion Caroline Wostmann has withdrawn from the Comrades Marathon.

Former champion Caroline Wostmann withdraws from Comrades. Wostmann made the announcement through her running club KPMG. "We all understand that her withdrawal is a loss for the 2018 Comrades Marathon and Caroline’s large number of loyal supporters. This was a very tough and emotional decision, but we all believe it was the right one for the athlete at this point in time," the club said. "As a previous winner of both the Comrades and Two Oceans marathons, Caroline was doing everything in her power to properly prepare for this race she so dearly loves. The KPMG Running Club will continue to support Caroline on her journey back to full fitness." Wostmann, 2015 Comrades Marathon and two-time Two Oceans champion, was in the middle of her journey back to full fitness after struggling most of 2017 with a torn quadratus femoris muscle (muscle under the glute) in her left leg. (05/26/2018) ⚡AMP
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Rob Davies biggest challenge is the 58 mile Comrades ultra marathon coming up June 10

Rob Davies will fly to South Africa in preparation for a gruelling challenge that starts on June 10. Rob, 59, will be competing in the Comrades Ultra Marathon, also known as the Ultimate Human Race, a road race with a distance of 58 miles (90.1km). The race starts at Pietermaritzburg and ends in Durban in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province. The race has to be completed in 12 hours, starting at 5.30am where the temperatures can be close to freezing and rising to a possible 80F as the day progresses. The terrain is very hilly, meaning an already extremely challenging race is made even tougher. Mr Davies said: “Family, friends and colleagues know that I 'run a bit', or should I say 'a lot'. I have been fortunate enough, privileged even, to be able to complete 48 marathons, across Wales, England, Ireland, France and Germany but this is by far my biggest challenge to date.” He started his training in December which typically involves 8 to 10 hours running weekly alongside strength and conditioning in the gym. (05/25/2018) ⚡AMP
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Comrades Marathon medalist passed away Friday at age 28 - not sure why?

The South African running community is mourning the death of 28-year-old Comrades Marathon medallist Siphiwe Ndlela. Ndlela finished top 10 in the Comrades Marathon and the Two Oceans in 2016 and 2017. The medallist was in the Drakensberg over the weekend for a training camp when he fell ill. Ndlela complained about abdominal pain, sweating and vomiting during the camp and passed away suddenly on Friday evening. Comrades Marathon chair Cheryl Winn says his death has come as a huge shock. “We’re devastated to hear of the passing of such an incredibly promising and rising star, and our sincere condolences to his family and friends.” (03/07/2018) ⚡AMP
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Dean Wight will be running his 27th Comrades Marathon

The name, Dean Wight, is synonymous with running and the man behind that name has organized copious running events and this year will run the Comrades Marathon as an ambassador for the Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust. The Gillitts, South Africa resident said his journey into the world of running began when he was invited to attend a fun run when he was 11 years old. From that single race, his passion and love for the sport has grown in leaps and bounds. Dean has run 26 Comrades Marathons, 117 standard marathons and 51 ultra marathons. (02/22/2018) ⚡AMP
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