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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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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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South Africa’s ultra star Gerda Steyn is going to run the New York Marathon

Two Oceans champ Gerda Steyn to run New York Marathon. “So honored to be invited to the Greatest marathon on the earth!” Steyn tweeted on Tuesday. Dubbed the smiling assassin after her breakthrough Two Oceans ultra marathon victory in April to hoist her flag in the South African ultra-running landscape, the 28-year-old continues to improve in her fledgling career. In her first Comrades in 2015, the novice finished an impressive 56th in eight hours 19 minutes and eight seconds. A year later, Steyn was just outside the top-10 taking 14th in 7:08:23. Then in 2017, her phenomenal rise in the race continued with a fourth-place finish in 6:45:45. This year Steyn finished second in 6:15:34, beaten to first place by the phenomenal run of Ann Ashworth who took victory in 6:10:04. Steyn has a 42.2km personal best 2:37:22, and could well improve on that time at the New York Marathon. (08/22/2018) ⚡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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