Comrades 2013

Hi Folks

Many congratulations to the 232 UK runners who took part in Comrades 2012 (downhill). This forum is for anyone interested in Comrades 2013 (uphill), one of the world's greatest ultras at 56 miles, several big hills, heat and cut off times to overcome before the glory of a Comrades medal and an under 12 hour finishing time

I am your UK Comrades Ambassador. Let me know if there anything you would like to know or see in this forum

Best wishes and happy running

David Marsh


  • Ive been waiting for this thread. Ran the down in 2010 . Can never get my BTB now but at least want the pair

  • Think this will be 2 years time for me but will keep an eye out on the thread.

  • I've decided to aim for this in 2014, so the downhill will be my race as I need to work on my marathon times first as I know I need to be able to run a marathon in under 5 hours, but was watching this on Sunday and really want to be able to take part and be successful. I will follow the thread so that I can be as informed as possible!

  • I'm also going for this in 2014 - so far, I anm determined to try a 100 miler in 2013 then would like to do this two years in a row.

    I'd love to get a definitive run down of the entry requirements, and the split times and cut-offs but it takes a lot of reading up

  • There is a good section on the Comrades website for cut offs.  All I know for entry requirements is that if you want a certain start pen you must provide proof of a qualifying time for that pen, and all runners must meet certain time standards, such as being able to run a marathon in 5hrs or less.

    The first cut off time if I remember correctly is to get to half way in 5hr 10 min.

  • How do you train for this?   Run on roads lots and lots???  LOL

  • i too am aiming for 2014 to celebrate (!!!!!) my 50th birthday.  think halfway cut-off is 6hrs 10m though.

  • Don Oliver's book "Make Sure Of Your Comrades Medal" and are good resources.

    Basically the Comrades course is very tough. Take a marathon course that we in the UK think of as "hilly" such as Sussex or Halstead. Then double it and add five Box Hills.  You will be doing this all day starting at 4:30 UK time. And eventually it might get pretty hot. For me it was much harder than doing my first marathon and I screwed up worse. So in a way, a good simulation would be doing a hilly marathon in the summer on the back of a longest long run of 15 miles or less, fuelling only on what they have at the aid tables.imageimageimageimageimage

  • Fido-Thats a bit tough. Yes all its very tough but I think the greatest race in the world. If it helps in 2010 my pb at marathon was 3.48 my 5 longest runs were a 35 a 30 and 3 x marathons and I finished in 10.23. Despite what FIDO says she has just finished her 2nd soimage image FIDO

  • Hi David

    Thanks for opening this thread. How hard is it to get a place as an non-ZA runner? Is there anything you need to do early?


  • Slow DuckSlow Duck ✭✭✭

    ChalkyWhite - it's easy if you have run a sub-5 hour marathon and have $160 (2012) for the entry fee - just wait for the entries to open in Sept (2012).

  • Slow DuckSlow Duck ✭✭✭

    STFC what happend?  I thought you said you were coming to Comrades this year??

    Also did you send out invitations to the UK runners for this year's Ambassador's run and Sundowner?  No one in the 2012 forum received anything from you...

  • Hi SD Congrats again. So sub 10 as planned or ????????

  • Slow DuckSlow Duck ✭✭✭

    Thanks Martin. Unfortunately it wasn't as planned... I tried for a sub-9 and crashed and burned...image Staggered home in 9:54...

  • I am thinking back to backs for this 2014 and 2015.!

  • Sub 10 was your original target SD. Still a pb imageimageimageimage

  • I'm looking forward to 2013 being both my first Up Run finish and my first time to line up at Comrades without being sick/missed the last 2 months due to injury/running with a gammy knee.

  • David - I heard that some sew on badges etc used to be generally available from Comrades but are now only 'on request' because a lot of runners just binned them. Given the expense we all go to for this race, I'm sure the majority of the UK contingent would want these - could you just ask the CMA to send them to all of us, as I gather they can be included with some sort of official results they are due to send us ? That would save a lot of individual email traffic....

  • SD - inclined to try for a B2B, assuming finance and holidays permit, but think I would want to do that with a BR in mind - for obvious reasons, but including having 3 different medals image  Much work to be done then, but I need a goal.... Other headache might be getting lucky in the Western States lottery, but I know the chances of that are very low. And it would be a nice problem to have !

  • marty74marty74 ✭✭✭

    With regards the sew on badges, i have just emailed comrades to request one. Last year we got given them as we got our medal which was nice. Will wait with baited to see when it arrives.

    And i am not sure if we spoke on the course. I remember speaking to someone wearing the GB vest since i had the same on, although at that stage still had a warm jumper on.

    And yes, the b2b medal is very enticing indeed. Its difficult to say no to when you realise you only have one chance to get one.

  • Martin - yes, we did speak. Later on a seam on that top had done quite a number on the inside of my right arm, so it may have a limited life as a Comrades top ! Was yours ok ?

    I've been having nightmares about discarding my warm jacket, as the kid got a beetroot shot (harmless) and a pack of paracetamol and diarrhoea pills, as I optimistically decided early on that I was going to be fine. At the time I thought they would be useful, but then it occurred to me he might not be able to read. There weren't enough to do any real harm, but life could have been a bit uncomfortable for a few days....

  • marty74marty74 ✭✭✭

    My top seemed to behave itself thankfully. And i wouldn't worry too much about the pills, he has probably traded them for something much more useful or indeed given to other runners who needed a pick me up!! As you say, someone somewhere probably had a few uncomfortable days!!

  • Marty - I did look out for you on the JNB-> Dur plane but sadly did not spot you - my face recognition is a bit rubbish.


    IMPORTANT POINT given that we had, this year,

    • one very new Dad
    • one very much about to be Dad (baby born day after return)
    • one baby born in March (say about 9 months after the taper for '11 Comrades)

    perhaps people should be encouraged to plan ahead with this sort of eventuality in mind? image

  • Vixx76 - it is not so much about speed as it is about bloodyminded endurance (at both ends really - this year Gert Thys who is a pretty good marathoner made an arse of himself saying he would smash the record. Ended up blowing up spectacularly. Much to my delight an accountancy student from Limpopo who had taken 3 months unpaid leave to train for Comrades won it this year!!).

    A 5hr marathon is 11:27 pace (call it 11:20 to allow for Garmin drift, eventualities).

    A sub 12 hour Comrades finish is just over 12:30 pace (allowing for a few minutes to cross the line, go to the loo en route etc). But the course is much harder than almost any road marathon in the UK and typically when the South Africans qualify for Comrades they do it in the middle of actually training for it and at (often) hot hilly races. (They are mad, mad, I tell you).

    Anyway! people who are not terribly fast BUT do not slow down much going up hills or after running a long way can do relatively well. Someone's marathon PB has only the loosest relationship to how they will do at Comrades. Speed means nothing as the iron of gut and/or will trundle past you at 20 kms to go image

  • Thanks Fido2Dogs. I'm not fast (especially at this point), but just have a reasonable ability to stay at a steady pace.  I'd be hoping to aim for something like 11:45:xx but if I can get my training up then I'd be more confident of that.  I live in two parts of the country depending on what part of the week it is, and the one place is hilly, so am training regularly round there when I can to build up my stamina again.

    I do find it interesting when people come out and say daft things like that because usually it ends up as his did by the sound of it.  A bit like when I did NYC in 2006 - Lance Armstrong was banging on about how he was going to beat some other ex-TdF winner's New York Marathon time and it'd be easy. He didn't, and only just came in sub-3 time.  He was humble after that, and did acknowledge how tough he found it, but why big it up when karma seems to come along to trip you up?

    I was well chuffed for the chap who won it!

  • Vixx - there would also be a very large pace group, or what they call a bus, aiming for about 11.50 and using a sensible strategy on where to walk, so you would be in good company if you wanted to be.

  • That would be a great idea - thank you for letting me know about that Kevin image

  • marty74marty74 ✭✭✭

    Vixx - it is the most amazing day and experience of your life. Go for it and you won't be dissapointed. Plus of course the people on this forum are just great for encouraging you through the hard times.

  • Cheers marty74 - It looked amazing watching it on TV (on YouTube).  It has often been in my mind to do this one, and I will have to work hard for it, but it will be so worth it in the end I think.  Was this year your first? How was it?

    (If anyone wants to tell me how their race went, I will be only too glad to read all about it!)

  • Read the Comrades 2012 thread. Fantastic race reports. Someone should do a Comrades Book. I would buy it.

    Badges- Thats tough I have mone from 2010 on my running vest and yes it gets a few commentsimage

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