Comrades Marathon

The Comrades Marathon is the world's oldest and largest ultramarathon race, covering an 89km distance from Durban to Pietermaritzburg. Join thousands of athletes for this unforgettable race!


The Comrades Marathon is one of the world’s premier and challenging endurance events, held annually since 1921 in South Africa and providing athletes from all around the globe an ultimate test of physical and mental strength. Over ninety years, athletes from around the globe have come together to take on this arduous test for glory – pushing themselves beyond limits just so that they might earn themselves the prestigious title “Comrade”. This article will delve into what makes this marathon special, from its history through to today.

History of the Comrades Marathon

The Comrades Marathon is an iconic South African footrace held annually between Durban and Pietermaritzburg. Spanning an 89 km (56 mile), this annual ultramarathon dates back over 100 years – its inaugural run being attended by just 34 runners back in 1921! Now over one century later, thousands of runners take part every year.
Comrades Marathon’s roots date back to World War I when two soldiers from opposing sides — Vic Clapham from South Africa and William Mares from England — decided to organize a memorial race to remember fallen comrades by honoring them with a race named after them – hence its name “Comrades,” as a nod to camaraderie and brotherhood shared among all participants in that conflict.
From its inception, the Comrades Marathon has grown exponentially in size, popularity and prestige. Attracting over 25 000 runners annually from around the globe who gather each year to pay homage to war veterans while testing their own physical limits, the marathon also serves as an avenue for raising funds for various South African charities.
Today, the Comrades Marathon remains an extraordinary event that unites people of all backgrounds to recognize human achievement and perseverance. It truly stands alone!

Preparation for the Marathon

Preparation is key in order to complete it successfully; here are a few tips on how to prepare for and run this epic marathon:

1. Increase Your Mileage Step by Step – Gradually increasing your running mileage will help build strength and endurance as a means to prepare for marathon running. Start out with shorter runs before gradually increasing their distance each week.

2. Include hill training – Hill training can help build speed, stamina and leg strength that are key components to Comrades Marathon success. Try including hills into your weekly runs or join a local hill-running club for additional practice.

3. Cross Train – Cross training not only strengthens muscles that don’t get utilized when running, but it’s also great way to break up the monotony of long distance running each day. Swimming, cycling and weight lifting are great ways to cross train for a marathon race.

4. Get Adequate Rest – To maximize performance during a marathon, rest is of utmost importance. Make sure you are getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night and taking regular breaks from training so your body can fully recuperate before race day arrives.

By following these tips, you can ensure you’re adequately prepared for the Comrades Marathon and have a successful race!

Race Day Strategies

To ensure your success on race day and beyond, it is crucial that a strategy be put in place that can guide you towards reaching the finish line successfully. Here are some helpful hints for getting your best result at Comrades:

1. Pace Yourself – Pacing yourself during a marathon race is of vital importance, as it allows runners to avoid getting carried away by excitement of an event and running too quickly early on, only to tire later. Start slowly and maintain an even pace throughout your course for maximum effectiveness.

2. Hydrate and Refuel – To achieve peak performance at Comrades Marathon, proper hydration and nutrition are essential. Ensure you drink plenty of fluids prior, during, and post race as well as taking regular breaks to refuel with snacks or energy gels.

3. Dress Appropriately – Weather can have a direct impact on how well you run a marathon, so dress accordingly. Wear lightweight, breathable fabrics that keep you cool while providing additional wind and rain protection as needed.

4. Get Enough Rest – To optimize performance on race day and reduce injury or exhaustion risk during the marathon itself, ensure your body receives sufficient rest before race day arrives. Get plenty of rest before participating to ensure optimal performance on race day itself.

By following these tips, runners can optimize their performance at Comrades Marathon race day and confidently pursue their goals!

Notable Finishers and Records

The Comrades Marathon boasts an impressive list of notable finishers. Vic Clapham was the first person ever to complete it in 1921 in 8 hours 59 minutes 42 seconds; other notable finishers include Bruce Fordyce who holds the record for most wins with nine; Frith van der Merwe is only woman ever to win consecutive years (1992-1993); Leonid Shvetsov from Russia has set an all-time men’s fastest time record with 5 hours 20 minutes 41 seconds set back in 1921 by Bruce Fordyce in 8 hours 59 minutes 42 seconds!
Participants of this race have accomplished remarkable feats despite the odds they faced, such as Oscar Pistorius’ impressive 10-hour marathon run with carbon fibre prosthetic blades in 2008; an achievement which won him worldwide recognition and admiration from fellow runners.
These inspiring stories serve as a powerful reminder that anything is possible when one commits themselves fully – including finishing one of the toughest marathons on Earth!

Charitable Impact of the Comrades Marathon

Since 1921, the Comrades Marathon has raised millions for various charities through fundraising initiatives and sponsorship from participating runners. Many local businesses also come forward to support this race by providing resources or services free of charge or at discounted rates to ensure all funds raised go directly to those in need.
Comrades Marathon provides an inspiration to other who strive to make an impactful difference in their communities. By showing the impactful collaborations possible between people, this race encourages even more donors to give time and money towards charity organizations that are creating positive change across South Africa.
The Comrades Marathon exemplifies how sport can bring about positive change by unifying people around a common goal and inspiring a spirit of service that will positively influence lives for many years to come.

Course Challenges and Highlights

The Comrades Marathon is an iconic ultramarathon held annually in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Renowned for its challenging course and breathtaking scenery, runners begin in Durban and finish up in Pietermaritzburg over an 86 km (53.5 mile) route that includes some of South Africa’s most picturesque scenery and along which runners may encounter obstacles such as hills, heat, wind or even snow!
Participants have long recognized completing the Comrades Marathon as one of their greatest achievements, not only due to its physical challenges but also for its rewards – from running through fields full of wildflowers in spring or along misty valleys during cool winter mornings, but also enjoying being amongst fellow competitors as they provide plenty of camaraderie and support along the journey.
The Comrades Marathon has been held annually since 1921 and continues to draw thousands of participants from around the globe each year. A test that requires dedication and perseverance but can bring immense satisfaction upon completion.

Tips for Future Runners

Those new to ultrarunning may find this event intimidating; with proper preparation and dedication anyone can achieve their goal of completing this marathon race.

1. Prepare Your Body: To prepare your body for running races, train regularly prior to participating. This means running long distances consistently so your body gets used to long periods of running and rest properly between training sessions for proper recovery before returning for more physical exertion.

2. Eat Well: Fuel up on healthy foods during training and on race day to make sure you have enough energy for a successful run. Ensure you consume enough carbohydrates and proteins before the race, in addition to plenty of fluids during your run.

3. Pace Yourself: Pacing yourself during the Comrades Marathon is essential – don’t attempt to start too fast as doing so could result in you burning out before reaching the finish line! Start slow and gradually increase your pace over time as you become more comfortable with distance running.

4. Acquaint Yourself With the Course: Explore your route ahead of race day by studying maps or running parts of it before race day if possible, to familiarize yourself with its route and reduce anxiety while staying motivated throughout. Knowing what’s ahead can help reduce anxiety while keeping you going when things become challenging during an actual race.

5. Have Fun: Above all else, remember that running should be enjoyable! Experience South African culture through one of its premier events–the Comrades Marathon!


The Comrades Marathon is an iconic race that has been held annually for more than 100 years. A race with rich history, breathtaking scenery, and an active running community supporting each participant; taking part is sure to provide an unforgettable experience!

Race day is an incredible test of endurance and determination; each participant must overcome both mental and physical obstacles to reach the finish line. Participants and volunteers alike contribute their energy towards making this an exceptional event that goes far beyond simply racing to celebrate human accomplishment.

For those who have yet to experience this breathtaking event, we urge them to do so! You will be rewarded with stunning views along your route and memories that will stand the test of time. Whether looking for a challenge or wanting to enjoy its vibrant finish line atmosphere – everyone has something unique in store at Comrades Marathon!

From its modest beginnings in 1921 to today’s global event attracting thousands of runners from across the world each year, the Comrades Marathon holds an important place in many people’s hearts. Nelson Mandela said it best: “Sport has the power to change the world…it inspires and unites people like nothing else can.” This phrase perfectly sums up why so many people love this incredible event so much!

So whether you are an experienced veteran tackling Comrades Marathon for the first time or taking on this daunting challenge for yourself – good luck!

Frequently asked questions

What is the Comrades Marathon?

The Comrades Marathon is an annual ultramarathon event hosted in South Africa since 1921 and widely considered one of the toughest and most prestigious foot races worldwide. Athletes from across the globe participate in this 90 km (56 mile) footrace between Durban and Pietermaritzburg cities; traditionally taking place on the first Sunday in June each year.

Where is the Comrades Marathon held?

The Comrades Marathon is an ultramarathon held annually in South Africa. It connects Durban and Pietermaritzburg – two cities approximately 87 kilometers (54 miles apart on the N3 highway within KwaZulu-Natal province – along the route.

How long is the Comrades Marathon?

The Comrades Marathon is an ultramarathon held annually in South Africa that covers an approximate distance of 89 kilometers (55 miles). Completion generally requires between 5 and 12 hours.

When does the Comrades Marathon take place?

The Comrades Marathon takes place annually in South Africa on either the last Sunday in May or first Sunday of June.

Who can participate in the Comrades Marathon?

Anyone in physical shape and who has completed adequate training may compete in the Comrades Marathon. Participants must be 18 years or older and complete it within 12 hours; furthermore, participants must either present an official qualifying marathon completed within a specific time period prior to entering.

How do I register for the Comrades Marathon?

Registering for the Comrades Marathon requires joining the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA). As a CMA member, you can then register online via their official website; or alternatively at one of their offices or authorized agents.

What are some of the safety precautions taken during the race?

Safety measures taken at the Comrades Marathon include:

-Having a medical team available throughout the race should it become necessary, with ambulance and first aid stations strategically placed along each water point along its course.

-Implementing stringent vehicle regulations around the course, and making sure all drivers follow them.

-Providing runners with tracking technology like RFID tags that allows emergency personnel to quickly locate them should an incident arise.

-Limiting participant numbers to ensure sufficient space for safe running.

-Strictly enforcing cut off times at checkpoints so as to protect runners from overexerting themselves or becoming injured from fatigue.

Is there a time limit to complete the race?

Yes, there is a time limit on completing the Comrades Marathon. For official finisher status to be awarded, competitors must finish within 12 hours from when their race started and before 5:30 PM cut-off time (score your official finisher t-shirt here!). This deadline applies whether running solo or with others.

Are there age restrictions for participating in the race?

Yes, there are age requirements to participate in the Comrades Marathon. On race day all participants must be 18 or over; runners between 16-18 may take part with written permission from a parent or guardian.

Are there any other races associated with the Comrades Marathon?

Yes, several other races are associated with the Comrades Marathon. These include Two Oceans Marathon – an annual 56km run held annually in Cape Town South Africa; Ultra-Trail Drakensberg is an 80km trail race held in KwaZulu-Natal South Africa; in addition to shorter-distance companion races such as 5 km UpRun, 10 km DownRun and 21.1 Half Marathon events that accompany it.

What kind of terrain should I expect on the course?

The Comrades Marathon course is well known for its varied terrain. Each year is different, but typically includes hills, flats, and downhill sections as well as sections featuring mud or rocks depending on which route runners take. Tarred roads may also present obstacles from time to time – so be prepared for conditions that can change drastically from kilometer to kilometer!

Is it possible to train for and compete in this marathon without having prior running experience?

Yes, it is certainly possible to train for and compete in the Comrades Marathon without prior running experience. It is essential to remember, however, that training for such an ambitious event takes dedication and hard work, so starting slowly with shorter distances and gradually building them up over time is recommended. Furthermore, proper nutrition and recovery strategies should also be implemented during training in order to ensure you arrive at race day with optimal health and readiness. Finally, always consult your physician prior to initiating any new exercise regimens.

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