Comrades Marathon (South Africa)

Has anyone completed this one before?There was an article in an edition of RW magazine and it sounds amazing. I know its 56 miles and I think you have to have completed a marathon in a certain amount of time but not sure of the exact details. By the time next year's comes around I would have had done quite a few marathons and wondered if so, can anyone recommend it. It certainly would be the ultimate challenge. Any welcome advice?


  • Karen

    I am pleased I have done a Comrades because it is an amazing race and I can/do forever say "when I did Comrades.....!" It is certainly an experience.

    However, if truth be told, I did not really enjoy it - 89km is just too far in that heat!

    Much more "enjoyable" is the 56km Two Oceans which is run in April around Cape Point. This is a stunningly beautiful event and will include the Chapmans Peak coastal road next year.

    Incidentally, the next Comrades is on 16 June and is the up run from Durban to Pietermaritzburg. You should soon be able to find appropriate training schedules on

    I think to qualify, you must have completed a marathon in 5hrs within the last 12 months.

    Good Luck
  • Karen. Its brilliant. Definitely a race everyone should do once. I did it in 97 and keep meaning to go back.

  • Thanks guys for replying,

    However, I know apart from the distance which will be a challenge - surely you cannot run the whole way. When you guys completed this did you complete the first marathon and then walk/ran the rest? The quickest marathon time I have done so far is 3 hrs 55 but by the time the comrades one comes around I hope to have done a quicker time. What is the best way to complete without collapsing at the end. For the June one, how tough is the course?
  • Speed is not really the issue. If only you could keep going at 4hr marathon pace throughout, you would achieve a very respectable Comrades time. I would advise that you train for endurance with at least 2 runs over distances greater than a marathon eg 35 mile/56 km.

    I had run 4 marathons including a 3h02 and Two Oceans (4h34) in the months before but I struggled with the heat/distance. I ran for the first 60km and battled thereafter, finishing in about 9hr!

    The course is tough because it is "undulating" and it can be both hot and humid. However, the "up" run is supposedly kinder on your joints.

    I certainly do not want to put you off but you should not under-estimate it. If you do it, you will never forget it (but like me, you might not want to do it again)
  • i might do it - anybody think its appropriate a month before IM Austria... 4 week taper?
  • hi karen!
    i completed my first comrades in
    2003, it was an absolutly fantastic
    experience and i would recommend
    it to anybody who wants to go beyond
    26.2 miles.i run 900 miles from
    01.01.03 till race day including
    4 marathons and 1 32 mile run,very
    was my qualifying run.improved my pb
    from 3:55 to 3:33.
    i followed the advise from locals
    run and walk from the beginning,
    ie run 6km walk 3mins and walk the big hills
    as you need, and some of locals have
    10 and more tims,the record is 42
    and oldest finisher this year was
    76!! winning time was 5:28! i took
    9:20 and was 3500th out of 12700
    finishers. any more questions feel free
    to e-mail. done new forest marathon
    yesterday to qualify for next year.
    more info on lots of hills in
    your training

    good luck!
  • Karen, as Erich says the technique which I cottoned onto half way round is to walk up the steeper hills and take the opportunity to take on fuel and drinks etc and then try and keep a steady, slow pace for the flat/downhill sections. I found I was ok until about 40 miles but then did struggle a bit the last 16, which were all downhill and agony on the quads.
  • Karen, Comrades is on my "must do" list-I've done 24 ultras but not got round to it yet! My first ever ultra after only 2 marathons was the 2 Oceans. At the time my best marathon was 3:58. There are plenty of ultras in the UK for you to try first.
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