Comrades 2020



  • Slow Duck I'm making a big assumption here but are you're talking about Ellie Greenwood being your coach? Ellie coaches alongside Ian Sharman out of Vancouver if i recall, I'm a big fan of hers, she was very gracious with my Mum in South Africa while in the International area at my first Comrades registration (a story for another time.) She went on to win that year and dramatically too.   I've been keeping an eye on her progress from injury this last year and saw her posts when she was messing about in the snow at WSER but I wish I knew you were a part of the reason she was there.  

    Anyway great report, love to run this race and some of the other big 100 milers one day.   

    Thanks for all those supportive messages, took a few days to appear but there's massive bruising on back of my leg, just black and blue from my backside to the back of the knee.   My wife's taken a few photos so I can memorialise this moment and I hope it will end with a happy tale by 14 June.   
    Still can't work out if crutches are helping or hindering me yet, walking without them get's more tiring but I don't ever overstretch however I've hurt myself a few times while using a crutch to support my sore leg.  Just takes time I suppose to work it out.

  • Mac3Mac3 ✭✭✭
    Sorry to hear of your injury JAR, really bad luck.  Wishing you a speedy recovery.  Plenty of time to get yourself fixed and fit.
    Great report SD, sounds quite an experience.  It must be hard not to panic and accelerate to catch up the time and in doing so jeopardise your race.  I'm sure that takes a lot of self-control.  A higher percentage mental strength needed for such races?
    I'm going to add a few comments on coaching.  I think it's perfectly fine to work with published schedules and through trial and error you modify that to suit your own fitness levels, ambitions etc.  I've read widely on this race, not just from the web but many biographies and autobiographies and add Tim Noakes to that (nutrition plays a massive role and often only considered as an after thought - another debate entirely).  The trial and error approach will take years for a race held once a year.  Of course for marathons it's completely different  where you change things and race 2-4 times a year say, but those having done Comrades know that a standard flat city marathon is no comparison to Comrades.  It really depends what your ambitions are.  There are a limited choice of coaches for Comrades, some more commercial, others offering a more personal touch.  I tried it for this year but with being injured (not the result of the training schedule) I wasn't able to see the full benefit but it was helpful to get advice/referral/encouragement on the injury and how best to compensate (e.g. through specific cross training).  With most other sports it's the norm to be coached, swimming, ball sports, and running is behind the curve for most amateurs.  I found the personalised schedules motivating and mixing things up from the typical 5 days a week schedule.  The next block being tailored to fitness levels and upcoming races. I was seeing improvement in speed and endurance but I only just managed to finish this year.  I plan to try again for next year.  Each to their own, but I'm in the camp where I want to try to achieve the best result I can for my age, fitness level, life style and I believe that coaching will assist in that goal.
    On a sad note, I expect you've heard of the death of Jackie Mekler announced on the Comrades website, 5 times Comrades champion in the 50s/60s.  He was at the expo signing his long awaited autobiography. As I was there nice and early on the Thursday I chatted with him for a few minutes, had my picture taken with him and received a personalised signed copy.  What a gent he is.  I somehow left that book behind on my travels to Namibia but thankfully one of the lodges found it and I had it couriered to Amsterdam.  It arrived today.  With learning of Mr Mekler's passing as I was truly worried it would get lost but I'm very happy it's back, and now an honoured possession. 
    Lowrez - great you started a list!  That's the earliest I've seen I think.  Please add in JungFrau for me 7/9/19 and NYC 3/11/19.
  • Thanks Mac, I saw the news regarding Jackie Mekler but I had no clue he had a new book out.  I see it only came out in May so those who have signed copies would most likely have been the Comrades runners at the expo - a wonderful momento for you

    Best of luck on JungFrau - another one of those special races.  Should be stunning.

  • Becca7Becca7 ✭✭✭
    Thanks, lowrez for this.  It's all getting real now.  :D

    Good luck to Debra at Wendover Woods night 50k.  There's a tracker for insomniacs

    Good luck for Jungfrau Mac.  I think you did that the year before me and managed a Comrades qualifying time (subsequently bettered).  I thought I was on for that the year I did it but of course the last 3 miles were hardly runnable.

    Sad news about Jacky Meckler.
  • Debra - Congratulations on Wendover Woods night run. It would seem you did rather well :):)
  • Becca, Southern Snail: thanks. Had a pretty good run at WW night 50K. I was using it as a final long training run before Lakeland 50, so didn't push it. Had a bit off a worrying time with headtorch batteries giving out sooner than I expected. Lesson learned: make sure you have brand new, high-quality batteries in the headtorch to start with AND for your spares. I was also super-cautious of tree roots (of which there were LOTS) on the first lap, after last week's fall at Lloyd parkrun, but I didn't trip at all - probably because I was actually concentrating where I was putting my feet.
    And it was fun to run Wendover parkrun a couple of hours later! Had the chance to take some photos of the woods/course, which hadn't really been an option during most of the night run.
  • lowrez: Debra Bourne, Isle of Wight marathon, 6 October. Also Beach Head on 26 October (but I really don't expect a good time on that) and Ghost of Cyclopark 27th October (but I don't expect to run fast the day after Beachy Head!)
  • marty74marty74 ✭✭✭
    Nice run Debra. And Beachy Head, see you there, all being well will be my 100th :)
  • Marty - yes, see you there, and how exciting!

    Depending which others I run between now and then it could be anything from 97 to 100 for me - but I won't qualify for 100 Marathon Club by then as I won't have enough certified road marathons.
  • Marty- amazing. I didn't realise you were also near the 100 mark :)
  • Good morning, you guys are lucky to live where there are so many races. The United Arab Emirates has just added a second marathon in the year, so one in Dubai and one in Abu Dhabi. After that it's flying to race. Last one for me was in Nepal.

    Currently in Bangkok, running in Lumpini park every morning, saw Comodo dragons this morning basking in the sun, a change of scenery is perfect to reinvigorate ones running.

    Congrats Debra on the trail 50k!!

  • Dubai Runner - Have just been to Bangkok and stayed in a hotel over the road from Lumpini park. Alas I didn't do any running though. Enjoy
  • Dubai runner: you're right - I'm having to decide which events I'm doing next year, because for example Lakeland 50/100 is just a week before NDW100, so I can't sensibly do both - my problem is too many potential races!

    However, running along and watching Komodo dragons - now that I envy! Best I get is a roe deer or a hovering kestrel or if I get further out maybe skylark or a red kite.
  • Mc HillyMc Hilly ✭✭✭
    I haven’t been on here for a few days so it’s good to be catching up on all the news. JNR sorry about the injury, sounds nasty but hopefully lots of time to recover! Debra, sounds like you had a good run at WW50, and good luck for the LL50, I volunteered at one of the aid stations there a few years ago and loved the event, exciting for both you and Marty as you each approach 100. Mac3, I look forward to to hearing about JungFrau marathon, it’s definitely one I want to do, I should get organised and enter it in 2020, is it a ballot? Or sell out quickly?
    Lowrez, hope the man flu has gone! When you next update lists can you add Snowdonia on 26th Oct for me (my all time favourite marathon) and also Tokyo on 1st March. 
  • Mc HillyMc Hilly ✭✭✭
    I haven’t been on here for a few days so it’s good to be catching up on all the news. JNR sorry about the injury, sounds nasty but hopefully lots of time to recover! Debra, sounds like you had a good run at WW50, and good luck for the LL50, I volunteered at one of the aid stations there a few years ago and loved the event, exciting for both you and Marty as you each approach 100. Mac3, I look forward to to hearing about JungFrau marathon, it’s definitely one I want to do, I should get organised and enter it in 2020, is it a ballot? Or sell out quickly?
    Lowrez, hope the man flu has gone! When you next update lists can you add Snowdonia on 26th Oct for me (my all time favourite marathon) and also Tokyo on 1st March. 
  • Becca7Becca7 ✭✭✭
    Well done Debra, great performance, especially not tripping at all as it looked very, very gnarly.  I hope you manage to find some suitable road marathons to fulfil the 100MC requirement.

    Great that you are getting close to the 100, Marty.  How long will it have taken you?  I think my 100 took 8 years but it seems to be fashionable to get them done much more quickly.

    McH, glad you got into Tokyo.  Be on the ball if you are interested in Jungfrau as it does fill up very quickly.  A nice event, mostly flat for the first half, then you climb and climb and the last 3 miles are nuts.  Narrow and steep traily paths.

  • Mc HillyMc Hilly ✭✭✭
    Debra, I’m fairly sure they count Snowdonia as a road marathon, but it does have 2 off road sections in it and stunning scenery (and some good hills), so is one I’d recommend if looking for a non typical road marathon 
  • baldstanbaldstan ✭✭✭
    Well done on Wendover Woods Night 50 Debra, I'd have tripped over those tree roots for sure. Really enjoyed your report on Western States SD, you certainly found a great coach, and I'm not surprised you had a rush of adrenaline after seeing the puma. JNR hope you're recovery goes well. McHilly I love the look of Snowdonia Marathon, but it sells out very fast every year doesn't it?
    I'm still hobbling after Race to the Stones on Saturday. I know there was a disastrous mix up for the race leader who was first told they'd won then was disqualified (he told the race director one of the signs sent him the wrong way so he hadn't followed the precise course, which actually meant he did more than 100K), but for me it seemed really well organised and supported, and when I could look around to avoid tripping over roots and stones (the flints in the path, not the big ones at the end), was a beautiful course. Also relieved that despite having to do a lot of walking I reached the 90K point in just under 12 hours (11'41" according to my Garmin) as this is the first time I'd ever attempted anything like the Comrades distance. 
  • 1owrez1owrez ✭✭✭

    Not on very good form at the moment, currently sat at work with a thumping headache and a cup of water, no appetite. Feel like I have come through whatever flu it was, at least I can standup and walk around now.

    In the backlog of post was an NHS invitation telling me I am under the review of an Advanced Muskuloskeletal Practitioner and to make a physio appointment; the phone person seemed impressed that they needed to locate a "Band 7 physio", not sure what one of those is, but it took then an age to find one, I'll see them on Aug 14th.

    Back to quietly moaning in a corner for now.

  • Excellent news Lowrez!  I wish I was a fly on the wall when you explain that you are running fine for the first 30 miles of a race before your leg starts acting up.

    Well done Debra  - sounds like a cool race (with some decent batteries)  and top it off with a parkrun too....legend!
  • Slow DuckSlow Duck ✭✭✭
    Thank you for the comments on my loooong race report.

    JAR - yes, it is Ellie Greenwood - I was looking for someone who had done both Comrades and WS in the same month... I know Ian from before he moved to the US so I asked for either him or Ellie to coach me - Ian didn’t have a vacancy but luckily Ellie did.

    Debra - congratulations on another weekend of great running.

    lowrez - sorry to hear you are poorly - hope things improve soon.
  • marty74marty74 ✭✭✭
    baldstan - nice work on the RTTS. I did the entire route a few years back and its great, although can't believe anyone could get lost since the signage is amazing!!!! Must have been running too quick and not concentrating enough!!!!

    becca - my first marathon was in April 2008 so will be over 11 years. Its only really the Comrades training each year which has increased the amount i have done....i'm definitely in the "old school" camp :)  
  • Peter RPeter R ✭✭✭
    Slow Duck, enjoyed the write up as well ... still in awe. 

    Well done Debra, and McH I always fancied Snowdonia so must check it has places. 

    Baldstan, we must have crossed several times on Saturday as I also did RTTS and finished in 11.49 ... small world. Feet are a mess so hoping to rest them nicely while on Budapest on business this week. 
  • marty74marty74 ✭✭✭
    Peter - cracking run as well, can't believe you can run that far so soon after Comrades. And Budapest, what a lovely city to relax in, make sure you take a wander at night to see the bridges and heroes square all lit up....
  • Marty, Mc Hilly, Becca, baldstan, JNR, Slow Duck: thank you. It was a great way to spend the night. And adding in the parkrun was fun (even if my legs didn't think so).
    Peter, baldstan: well done on RTTS.
    lowrez: sympathies, and hope you feel much better soon. Good luck with the physio - I really hope you're under the care of someone good.
  • Mac3Mac3 ✭✭✭
    Great running Peter R and Debra.
    Becca re Jung Frau, yes I did this in 2016 last and fancied another go at it.  As you may recall the first half is a run then it's more of a hike given the gradient.  I recall passing runners with a power walk, about an hour adjustment for standard marathon time.  Views are spectacular but you were unlucky with the cloudy weather.  It's a nice weekend away and I'll be up the mountain in Wengen where you just hear mostly cow bells as cars not allowed.
    McH - it isn't usually sold out right away. I'm not sure on status for this year but there is a substitution system.
    Lowrez - glad you've an appointment fixed, we await the verdict.
    Marty - hadn't realised you were so close to the magic number and only over 11 years.  You've chosen a tough one at Beachy Head to notch up the 100.
    I'm planning to rock up for the world famous midzomeravondmarathon this Saturday which starts at 5pm. 4 laps of c.10.5k through a forest in North Holland.  Did this last year and might be about 50 finishers for the full distance, most do 1 or 2 laps.

  • Terry48Terry48 ✭✭✭
    edited July 2019
    I never cease to be amazed (and envious) about all the great events you're all doing.  It looks as if Comrades 2020 should be a doddle after all that ongoing fitness building.

    Lowrez, roll on your appointment and may there be good outcomes.

    My own health news is that yesterday I was back at Papworth for catheter ablation surgery to sort out my tachycardia issues.  Success this time😊.  The cardiologist found the right spot and zapped it.  He says he has 90% confidence that the problem is fixed (although it can "sometimes recur, but probably not"). That doesn't solve my 'leaky valve' issue and aneurysm but at least I'll be able to do a bit more running again. Sadly nowhere near Comrades qualifier level - but good for the North Beach Parkrun 🤣.
  • Becca7Becca7 ✭✭✭
    That's great news Terry.

    Baldstan and Peter, well done on Race to the Stones.  

    Get well soon lowrez.  I hope the phys can sort you out.

    Marty, that's pretty much the same as me, it was mostly Comrades training got me to 100 marathons.  I think Beachy Head 2017 was my #97.

    Good luck for your race Mac.
  • baldstanbaldstan ✭✭✭
    Hope you're feeling better today lowrez, that manflu can be a real pain.
    Peter R, I think you passed me at the start, and I wouldn't have caught up with you again, I got to Comrades distance in 11'41", but my finish time was 12'51".
    I agree marty74, there were so many race signs, as well all the official Ridgeway Path signs, and all the side paths had signs saying "Not this way", I don't know how you'd not realise within a 100 metres that you must have made a mistake. But he did go through the 50K point in 3'48" so perhaps he'd gone out too hard. Looking through the results for RTTS I didn't see anyone who managed a negative split and there were a lot of blow ups to varying degrees (just over 5 hours for the first 50 and then 7 to 8 hours for the second half). As usual it seems to be mostly men who detonated. According to the final results which adjusts for all the different starting times, I overtook almost 200 guys in the second 50K, but was overtaken by over 80 women. 
  • Great news Terry,  see you on North Beach!

    Good luck with your race Mac ( famous indeed)

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