Comrades 2021

A wise man dressed as Lulu once wrote...

On Tuesday, 24th May 1921 the first Comrades Marathon was staged. It was a down run from Pietermaritzburg to Durban. 47 entries, 34 starters, 16 finishers.

No one knew what would happen to those pioneering souls during the course of that day as they proceeded down the hill and out of sight. The first leader crossing the bridge over the Umsinduzi River was Butcher Purcell followed by Harry Phillips and Bill Rowan.

Leaving the city a dusty sand road meandered over the hills and through the valleys all the way to Durban. Purcell, Phillips and Rowan were still together at Cato Ridge, but, by the foot of Inchanga, Purcell had fallen two minutes behind. As the two leaders left Drummond, Rowan went into the lead.

Through Gillitts and Pinetown followed by a convoy of bicycles, motorcycles and cars Rowan increased the distance between himself and Phillips who was plagued by a persistent knee injury.

Covered in brown suffocating dust, but undeterred, Rowan finally strode down West Street at the head of the convoy to the finish line outside the City Hall. His time was 8h 59m.

On Sunday, 13th June 2021, the centenary year, the 95th Comrades Marathon will be a down run.

Time to get your running shoes on folks!


  • 1owrez1owrez ✭✭✭
    I tried being Katy Perry once does that count?

    I'm in, but not necessarily in that dress!
  • Lowrez you must have an additional wardrobe for all your fancy attire do you?
  • Thanks, Snail.
    I'm entered as well, strangely enough.
    Terry: can you remember when we need to book the Belaire Suites?

  • 1owrez1owrez ✭✭✭
    It's become more of a dressing room these days :D
  • I looked this morning, reservation handling is open for those dates but it is showing as fully booked, yet today was first day able to book ahead. I’d say they not released a block of dates as yet so it will show as full. Will keep checking but Terry said to look again in July. 
  • Terry48Terry48 ✭✭✭
    Debra, Belaire was always available 1 year ahead, so it should have opened by now.  But, they presently show no availability for two months before Comrades.  I hope and suspect that just means 'wait and see' by them.  I cannot believe that they are already fully booked, more likely that their local lockdowns have put staff and operations in limbo.  I'll try calling to enquire in the next day or two. If I have any news I'l post it here.

    I've forgotten how to set up email notifications of new posts.  Any advice? Maybe I'll get it right in the meantime.
  • Terry48Terry48 ✭✭✭
    Debra, All sorted, I seem to be getting the email notifications now.
  • marty74marty74 ✭✭✭
    Thanks becca and lowrez for the words....

    At least we know we are all in already, takes the stress of when they open entries in October this time....

    And I bet we all go for rooms which we can cancel easy, this time around :)

    Have to say, yesterday really brightened up my weekend. Thank you Comrades for being a ray of sunshine in this strange world at the moment. And brilliant running from everyone involved yesterday.

  • Well I wrote on the thread Lowrez started which is obviously in cyber space somewhere so.....
    I'm in. Hopefully see you all next year.
  • Peter RPeter R ✭✭✭
    I’m in as well! No training this week though, giving the legs a well badly needed rest. 
  • baldstanbaldstan ✭✭✭
    Count me in. Haven't looked into Belaire availability yet, but as Cheryl said in her Marathon Talk interview that they're not going to confirm the date for a while I'll make sure, as marty74 said, that the booking can be changed or cancelled.
  • Baldstan, I thought the date was 13th (unlucky for some!) is that only provisional then? An interesting article in The Telegraph today makes for a bad read after digesting just how long the effect of Covid could go on for, so while I'm kind of relieved at today's expected news of the GNR being cancelled (and imagine London will be the same at the weekend) I think people are coming to grips that pretty much 2020 is wiped out from a runner's point of view my thoughts already have only been backed up even more from that article to the extent I'd say 2021 may not be too pleasant a year neither, but trying to remain optimistic for sure, not just for any running but the livliehoods and lives of many people.
    PS Agoda allows you to book without payment until either days before or once at the property.
  • Slow DuckSlow Duck ✭✭✭
    I’m in too. Qualifying could be interesting...
  • Boston next year, not only was it postponed then cancelled but they have changed the entry criteria and and qualifying must be done by September, haha, not sure where?
  • Bike ItBike It ✭✭✭
    The Soweto marathon for November has already been cancelled. That's a huge qualifier not available for the runners from Gauteng province which includes Johannesburg and Pretoria. 
  • baldstanbaldstan ✭✭✭
    Mark, in the interview Cheryl said June 13th was the date they are currently aiming for, but they weren't officially announcing a date so they could move it if necessary. Good to know about booking through Agoda, I've not used them before.
    I assume for internationals whose entry is transferring there won't be the need to qualify again, and will that also apply to internationals who hadn't done a qualifier because of race cancellations? Has anyone seen anything more about how the transfers will work?
  • Interesting about the qualifiers. Although I was rather hoping everything just got passed on to next year, I'm actually expecting to have to do a qualifier again. But bad news for South Africa that Soweto is cancelled.

    As I didn't book a hotel until October last year, I'm not going to worry about that. And apparently the rugby isn't until the end of June so we shouldn't clash.
  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    Hopefully I`ll be carrying my entry over to 2021. Need to get a dog sitter as our regular one is away.
    May leave all the bookings until a little later this time althoug did get all of our money back eventually this time.
  • Terry48Terry48 ✭✭✭
    Belaire Suites:  I see this morning that they are now taking bookings for the dates around 13 June 2021.
    However beware, the prices shown are about double their usual, (on both the hotel site itself, as well as Agoda) so I think they are hoping to catch a few suckers.  Their other group hotel, Blue Waters, is showing normal prices!  So, I'll just keep checking occasionally to see what happens on Agoda.
  • Looked into hotel booking: I can book Belaire Suites now, but it's gone up to >£100 per night with no cancellation (or add another £50 to the booking for 50% cancellation) - which is rather steep when we don't yet know if the race will go ahead!
    Other hotel suggestions?
  • If the price remains that high I’ll rebook southern Sun I think (that was £112 yesterday) has a pool which I’ll be pleased to use. Failing that and if prices remains high may even look at Uhmlanga which is cheaper still
  • Terry: I hadn't seen your post! I'm hoping I've sorted to get the notifications now...
  • Mac3Mac3 ✭✭✭
    edited June 2020
    Mark - Uhmlanga is a nice location which I stayed at for my first two. It's a 20 minute taxi ride to say the Belaire which is not expensive but it leaves you a little away from the action and meet-ups.  The Park Run is also well attended along the sea front.  It does have some cracking restaurants like the Little Havana for steak (and red wine!) and the Oyster Box for a High Tea - that is epic!  It makes for a very early start on race day having to get to Central Durban for PMB.
  • Mac3Mac3 ✭✭✭
    I'm looking to update my hydration vest and looking at Salomon Adv Skin 12 which looks a good adjustable fit, can carry poles, bladder etc.  Does anyone have this? It has good reviews but here is the place to ask for comments!

  • Hey Mike,
    Yes I stayed in Uhmlanga last year for 6 days after you guys had left for Windhoek. I quite liked it, if I was to live in Durban then I'd quite like to be there. I ran a lot that week, apart from the parkrun stretch along the promenade it is hilly which did wonders after Comrades tbh. I ate in Little Havana I enjoyed a good steak after your referral, and shopped in Woolworths most days. I had a G&T sat by the pool looking out across the at The Oyster Box, I've done some work for Red Carnation Hotels so wanted to to check it out, all of their properties are on par. I did the parkrun too, first pr I ever done with a water station at the end!

  • With regards to your vest, I have spent hours and hours on sack research over the years before MdS and since with interest - my dissertation was based on The packing of a rucksack for Duke of Edinburgh students! A late change of a bag I had bedded in deciding not to use only 4 days before flying out to Morocco going with advice of Tom Evans who came 3rd the year before, almost cost me finishing. After 3rd day running with it the strap literally cut into my shoulder, I was on morphine after that stage, that night the first sandstorm arrived needless to say I was so high from Morphine I thought I was Indiana Jones! Then the next day I decided to 'try and claim back lost time' as having medical gets you time fines, that became my biggest mistake, 86 miles ahead and temperatures that day reaching 49c, I had sunstroke after 8 hours racing like a fool, back in another tent, had it proposed that I consider withdrawing and unless my core temp reduced I'd be pulled and taken to Casablanca! The next 4 days I took my time, lost my hopes of a top 100 place but learned that my body could survive another 140 miles literally on water and one Rego on the evening, which is why I can I now know I can go long distances without food and continue to run several times a week depleted. Certainly a decent bag Ultimate Direction 20L but a bag need wearing in like shoes (well apart from Nike Vaporflys that is) I sold it on Ebay for more than I bought it for, even covered in sand as I stated it had done MdS so not all bad.
    So for me I'd always ask, what do you want the bag for?
    Single day or multi day events, distance, location, is weight a factor, etc? *Also make use you get the right size bag, not the capacity, but your chest and back length, with how much adjusting tit has considering wearing it with only a vest on in the heat then with multiple layers and a jacket, then like shoes a Medium sack with Salomon is different to others for example.
    10 -15l inc 12L are for a me strange sizes, too big for a day almost but too small for multi days.
    I'm a bit of a fanatic with ultra light gear whether running or outdoor ( I bought another Hilleberg tent just because it was reduced last year, it weighs 400g and rolls up to the size of a pencil case!) it tends to cost a lot more, but the cost is a saving with it's durability, size, and weight, so consider what is going in the bag - how much room does it take up, do you actually need it all, etc.
    Check out the SLab Sense Ultra range, coincidentally Salomon have a sale on at the moment the Agile 12 is down 50% to £45. I have the Salomon SP20 and was going to use that bag before the UD20 one. Montane do a good range of kit.
    But my go to, and I've quite a bit of their stuff, is Raidlight, nothing comes close. If you are stukc on a 12L then here you go! You will not be let down I assure you! Strong, extremely light, and compacts so if you remove food or a coat you can adjust so contents remain in place.

    Let me know how you get on and if you need any other advice.


  • Mark: we've been providing water at Lloyd parkrun since 2011.
    Re. packs:
    Yuck! Nearly all the Raidlite packs for women are pink. I hate it when companies do that. (If you ever see me with any pink running gear you know it's because what I needed wasn't available in any other colour. I loathe pink).
    It's hard to buy a pack without being able to try it on - years ago I got a Raidlight pack on a clubmate's recommendation and hated it - bashed my arms on the bottles at every stride and couldn't work out how anyone could NOT do so - maybe they fit better on larger people with a wider body? (They might have changed since then.)
    My Decathlon Kalenji 10 has been quite good, but I've needed the extra capacity of the Montane Claw14 for my longer self-supported runs where I've been carrying a lot of water. I'm honestly not sure how anyone fits the required kit for e.g. Centurion or Lakeland 50/100 mile races into an 8-litre or smaller pack.
    And being so short, even with a pack sized for smaller people I always end up with the bottom edge of the pack rubbing - looking at images of these packs on larger people, I can see that the packs fit differently.
  • baldstanbaldstan ✭✭✭
    Mac3, I don't have anywhere near as much experience with different vests as Mark and Debra, so I don't know how it compares to the Raidlight and UD vests, but I bought a Salomon Adv Skin 12 earlier this year as I needed something that could carry a bit more than my Camelback Ultra Pro (and wasn't as bulky and, to be honest, uncomfortable, as my Inov8 Race Pro), and I love it. It fits perfectly (I bought it from the Run and Become store, so I tried several models and sizes to get the right fit), the back cinches down well when I'm not carrying all that much, so things don't bounce around, but it can easily take all the the compulsory kit for Centurion races and still have space left over. The water bottles at the front are at just the right height and don't bounce around. There are loads of pockets at the front so you can store gels, snacks, phone, tissues in easy reach. The bottles it came with also have wide necks, so it's easier to add energy/electrolyte powders. If I was to be forced to think of a drawback the only thing I can think of is that the zip for the back is down the side not across the top, so you can't unzip it and reach inside on the go without risking things falling out (and if you do forget to zip it up before putting the vest on things will fall out as I discovered - lesson learned), but on the other hand that does make it quicker to find things when you take the vest off. Also it comes in blue, black, red or yellow, but not pink.
  • Mac3Mac3 ✭✭✭
    edited June 2020
    Thanks for your detailed comments Mark, Debra and Stan.
    I failed to state the purpose as clearly it's horses for courses.  I have an Ultimate Direction SJ UV3 at 7l which is just a bit too small for longer days (in the mountains).  I'm heading back to the pre-Alps in Germany for a week in July and I found this vest does not have enough storage if you need gear for weather changes.  It can take a bladder but with that in it's a bit tight for the essentials.  Still a great vest for say 1/2 day efforts and the pole loops work well for carrying foldable poles at the front.
    I came across Raidlight by chance and bought a pair of gaiters and one of their technical tops recently.  I like the back pockets similar to cycle jerseys but firmer fitting pockets meaning less bounce from items stored.  I'll check out their packs.
    The website GearLab has done extensive testing of 14 models and the Ultimate Direction FKT (18l) is right up there with the Salomon Adv Skin 12.  Mark, I'm guessing you have the UD Fastpack 20.
    Stan - I read that comment about the back-zip but the front pockets were highly rated.  Another complaint was the time it takes to refit the silicone flasks after a refill.  There is another soft flask version with a weighted bottom which overcame this - not sure how much of an issue this is.  What I did like about this one is that it's snug fit in different load states.  The front straps also seem to provide a good adjustable fit - better than cross straps or so it seems.
    The problem of course is you never really know if it works for you without trying these in various states of loading, and any chafing/discomfort comes from wearing the vest for some hours.  I'm a big fan of Run and Become, a customer for 20 years now, and a good place to try their offerings.  There is no equivalent in the Netherlands (that I've found anyway!). I'll probably have more joy in Bavaria in a few weeks time. London being no go with the quarantine rules!
    Thanks again for the ideas.

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