2016 - 2018

2nd screen

2016 Down (91st Race)
Date Sunday, 29 May
Weather Cool at start. Mild to warm sunshine throughout the day.

Temperature – Min/ Max:

PMB 6/27
DBN 12/25
Start Venue/Time Pietermaritzburg City Hall / 5:30
Finish Venue Kingsmead Stadium
Time Limit 12 Hours
Official Distance 89.208 kms

Winner’s Average Speed:

Men 16.830 km/hr (3m 34s /km)
Women 13.882 km/hr (4m 19s /km)
Entries 21569
Starters 16807
Finishers – Total 14433
Men 11474
Women 2959
Medals – Gold 20
Wally Hayward 16
Silver 607
Bill Rowan 2248
Bronze 6415
Vic Clapham 5127
% Finishers / Starters 85.8

THE MENS RACE

With the finish still 44 kilometres away, one aspect of the race was certain. It was not who would be handed the Mayoral Baton, as the race leader, upon entering Kingsmead Stadium. The vexing question was ‘would the Down Record be broken?’

In the end, the record was not broken… it was destroyed… shattered… trashed.

David Gatebe lowered the previous best, set by Russian, Leonid Shvetsov, by 2m 22s; an inordinate result in an age when records are broken by fractions of a second and, in doing so, he set the bar at a level that may prove to be many years ahead of the next generation of aspirant winners.

Once the city had been left behind, a large group, in which all the big names were present, had already assembled in the vanguard, for the dash across the rollercoaster section between the top of Polly Shortts, through Camperdown and Cato Ridge to the crest of Inchanga. The lead had been changing by the minute as the relentless pace continued down the hill to the halfway mark at Drummond. With three previous winners, Ludwick Mamabolo, Bongmusa Mthembu and Claude Moshiywa just strides behind the leader, Bernard Dandadzi, in the lead group through the midpoint, the only certainty was that anyone could win.

Gatebe ran, almost unnoticed, outside the top fifty as Inchanga loomed, but as he went over the top, he pressed the accelerator and went through the checkpoint in seventh position; 1m 45s adrift of the leader. Within two kilometers, he had moved into the lead and from that moment, the race was over. Such was his dominance, as he ran further away from his chief rivals with every stride, the ‘real race’ turned into the fight for the Silver Medal.

Spectators, at the finish in Durban, sat mesmerised in front of the big screen. Striding unchallenged through Hillcrest, the question at the finish was still ‘will he break the record?’ That question changed as Gatebe exited Field’s Hill and ran into Pinetown. It was now ‘by how much will he beat it?’

In little more than an hour, the question was answered. The record was ripped apart; a performance that, in the years ahead, is likely to be recognised as one of the great Comrades performances.

The fight for second place was a bitter struggle that remained unresolved until the final run into the city when Mamabolo broke away, finishing a shade more than two minutes ahead of Mthembu.

RESULT

1st David Gatebe * South Africa

5h 18m 19s New Best Time Down

2nd Ludwick Mamabolo South Africa 5h 24m 05s
3rd Bongmusa Mthembu South Africa 5h 26m 39s
4th Mike Fokoroni Zimbabwe 5h 35m 09s
5th Rufus Photo South Africa 5h 35m 40s
6th Claude Moshiywa South Africa 5h 36m 25s
7th Siphiwe Ndlela South Africa 5h 36m 56s
8th Max King USA 5h 37m 27s
9th Charles Tijane South Africa 5h 37m 40s
10th Mncedisi Mkhize South Africa 5h 38m 34s

* First Sub-5:20 Down Run

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

1st Claude Moshiywa (41) South Africa 5h 36m 25s
2nd Charles Tjiane (41) South Africa 5h 37m 40s
3rd Marko Mambo (44) Zimbabwe 5h 45m 08s


MASTERS (AGE 50 - 59)

1st Lazarus Seroka (51) South Africa 6h 42m 47s
2nd Shaun Meiklejohn (55) South Africa 6h 43m 29s
3rd Pienas Magashule (53) South Africa 6h 58m 33s

GRANDMASTERS (AGE 60 +)

1st Johan Nel (62) South Africa 8h 07m 41s
2nd Shalom Levi (61) Israel 8h 18m 21s
3rd Almon Zibuse (65) South Africa 8h 25m 21s
 

THE WOMENS RACE

There could only be one possible winner.

Caroline Wostmann’s near Up Record in 2015, on a course nearly 900 metres longer than the normal race route – the result of road construction work in Pinetown – and her back-to-back victories in the Two Oceans, made her one of the hottest favourites in a decade.

Despite the unquestioned, and proven, class of those she would be up against – women like Colleen de Reuck and Charne Bosman, the 2015 runner-up – the cognoscenti were adamant; Wostmann had to fail, rather than another having to run way above their known ability, to beat her.

Unlike the men’s race, where the traditional strategy is, for the fancied runners, to hang back and then attack from behind over the closing miles; the women’s race usually sees the leading contenders showing prominently in front, from the outset.

Once the scramble after the start thinned out, Wostmann, always an aggressive front-runner, led the procession out of Pietermaritzburg with Bosman trailing in an ever-lengthening second place. Wostmann’s overwhelming dominance reflected by a lead of 4m 11s, over Bosman, through halfway at Drummond, led spectators at the finish to believe that the winner was already known. This belief was further strengthened when her lead at Pinetown – 20 kilometres from Kingsmead – had stretched to 11m 26s. No one could possibly whittle away more than 30 seconds per kilometer, on the run-in, to cause a major upset; not with a smiling Wostmann flowing so freely.

Cowies Hill, the last major obstacle, loomed and, in the blink of an eye, the complexion of the race changed.

Wostmann was walking up the hill… cramp… the distance-runners number one enemy. She was in trouble, walking and jogging in a painful effort to keep moving. Bosman, on the other hand, was closing, although at Sherwood, a mere 7 kilometres from the finish, she trailed by 8m 23s, a margin that many maintained was still safe for the struggling leader.

Then disaster struck for Wostmann. On the approach to the city centre, in an altercation with a motorcycle-mounted traffic officer, she was knocked to the ground. She struggled to her feet and, on wobbly legs, continued towards Kingsmead.

A few hundred metres further on, Bosman, now in full flight, cruised past. At the finish, Wostmann revealed what a true champion she is. Admitting that the motorcycle incident was a setback, she acknowledged that, although she was still in the lead at the time, she was already beaten and that the mishap had no effect on the final finishing order.

Bosman ran, triumphantly, onto the Kingsmead turf; a clear winner in 6h 25m 55s, slightly less than five minutes ahead of Wostmann.

In the closing stages, away from the television cameras, and oblivious of the drama ahead, Swede, Kajsa Berg, and American, Sarah Bard, contested the Bronze Medal with Berg succeeding by 3m 31s.

RESULT

1st Charne Bosman South Africa 6h 25m 55s
2nd Caroline Wostmann South Africa 6h 30m 44s
3rd Kajsa Berg Sweden 6h 39m 04s
4th Sarah Bard USA 6h 42m 35s
5th Yolande Maclean South Africa 6h 43m 24s
6th Kerry-Ann Marshall South Africa 6h 48m 51s
7th Colleen De Reuck South Africa 6h 50m 21s
8th Fikile Mbuthuma South Africa 6h 56m 32s
9th Julanie Basson South Africa 6h 58m 10s
10th Salome Cooper South Africa 7h 01m 02s

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

1st Charne Bosman (40) South Africa 6h 25m 55s
2nd Julanie Basson (41) South Africa 6h 58m 10s
3rd Salome Cooper (40) South Africa 7h 01m 02s


MASTERS (AGE 50 - 59)

1st Colleen De Reuck (52) South Africa

6h 50m 21s

New Best Time Down

2nd Ricarda Bethke (52) Germany 8h 13m 02s
3rd Tia Jones (50) Australia 8h 14m 21s

GRANDMASTERS (AGE 60 +)

1st Val Watson (60) South Africa 8h 38m 13s
2nd Blanche Moila (60) South Africa 9h 12m 25s
3rd Nancy Will (63) South Africa 9h 31m 00s
2017 Up (92nd Race)
Date Sunday, 4 June
Weather Mild at start. Warm sunny day with light cloud in parts.

Temperature – Min/ Max:

PMB 8/23
DBN 11/27
Start Venue/Time Durban City Hall, West Street / 5:30
Finish Venue Scottsville Racecourse
Time Limit 12 Hours
Official Distance 86.730 kms

Winner’s Average Speed:

Men 15.509 km/hr (3m 52s /km)
Women 13.428 km/hr (4m 28s /km)
Entries 21494
Starters 17031
Finishers – Total 13851
Men 11151
Women 2700
Medals – Gold 20
Wally Hayward 8
Silver 433
Bill Rowan 1922
Bronze 6236
Vic Clapham 5232
% Finishers / Starters 81.3

THE MENS RACE

In the modern era, predicting the winner of the Comrades Marathon is more difficult than selecting the first six numbers to be drawn from the drum in the national lottery. The galaxy of potential winners that assemble on the start line every year, makes a mockery of pre-race predictions.

The stampede out of Durban provided adequate confirmation that any runner could emerge as the one to beat on the day. This was further confirmed by an apparent shift in tactics, particularly among the ‘big’ names. In past years, the TV runners were permitted to go ahead and, ultimately, be swallowed up as the race progressed. That strategy no longer seems to be in vogue. The ‘big’ names prefer to remain in closer contact with the early pacesetters.

First through Pinetown, as the mass of runners swept off the foot of Cowie’s Hill, was Charles Dibate and Mosongo Mokoatsi, together in 1h 12m 25s, with Charles Segalo next in 1h 12m 58s. Following the three leaders, in 1h 13m 15s, was a group of 25, in which all the fancied runners were interspersed. Prominent among them, were former winners Stephen Muzhingi, David Gatebe, Bongmusa Mthembu, Gift Kelehe and Ludwick Mamabolo. With less than a quarter of the distance completed, an epic battle was developing.

Field’s Hill was taken with comparative ease. Dibate still held a slender lead as he went through Winston Park in 1h 57m 11s. Segalo and Marko Mambo were next in 1h 57m 54s, but right on their heels, trailing by 2 seconds was a pack of 12 chasers who, themselves, were covered by only 2 seconds.

Across the hills to the halfway point at Drummond, Segalo found the pace too hot and drifted out of contention, leaving Mambo alone in 2nd place, while Timothy Munzhelele was making a determined surge near the top of the field. The lead positions at Drummond were Dibate (2h 47m 29s), Mambo (2h 49m 07s) and Munzhelele (2h 49m 14s). A mere second behind, in joint 4th position, were all the main contenders, who were destined to contest the major medals, including Mthembu, Nyamande, Mike Fokoroni, Muzhingi, Kalehe and Gatebe.

Gatebe raised the bar, considerably, going up Inchanga and, when the field checked in at Cato Ridge, he had moved into 2nd place (3h 43m 27s) behind a fading Dibate (3h 40m 48s), who still clung, tenaciously, to a diminishing lead. Five metres adrift, in joint 3rd place, the big names were positioning themselves for the final shoot-out. Muzhingi, Nymande, Kelehe and Mamabolo were all, strategically, placed to strike. This group swept past Gatebe and Dibate on the approach to Umlaas Road where the order was Mthembu and Kelehe running side by side (4h 21m 36s), Nyamande (4h 21m 37s) and Mamabolo (4h 22m 09s).

With two major hills looming, and little more than seconds separating the first four, the outcome was in the balance.

Crossing the Mpusheni Stream, Mthembu struck. On Ashburton Hill, the group stretched into a single line as the chasers endeavoured to match Mthembu’s injection of pace and, when the crest of Polly Shortt’s was reached, the finishing order had been settled. Mthembu went over Polly’s in 5h 07m 32s. He was followed by Nyamande (5h 08m 44s) and Kelehe (5h 10m 13s).

The flying Mthembu increased his lead over final few kilometers and entered the finish arena, at the Scottsville Racecourse, to record his second victory.

RESULT

1st Bongmusa Mthembu South Africa

5h 35m 34s

2nd Hatiwande Nyamande Zimbabwe 5h 38m 48s
3rd Gift Kelehe South Africa 5h 41m 48s
4th Ludwick Mamabolo South Africa 5h 42m 40s
5th Charles Tijane South Africa 5h 45m 26s
6th Siphiwe Ndlela South Africa 5h 45m 57s
7th Teboho Sello Lesotho 5h 47m 02s
8th Prodigal Khumalo Zimbabwe 5h 47m 11s
9th Steven Way England 5h 49m 40s
10th Fritjof Fagerlund Sweden 5h 49m 54s

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

1st Ludwick Mamabolo (40) South Africa 5h 42m 40s
2nd Charles Tjiane (42) South Africa 5h 45m 26s
3rd Steven Way (42) England 5h 49m 40s


MASTERS (AGE 50 - 59)

1st Reginald Ngobese (51) South Africa 6h 46m 07s
2nd George Mooi (51) South Africa 7h 00m 25s
3rd Ronald Shibirib (51) South Africa 7h 01m 39s

GRANDMASTERS (AGE 60 +)

1st David von Senden (61) Australia 7h 52m 11s
2nd Josiah Makoro (50) South Africa 7h 58m 14s
3rd Errol Shear (61) South Africa 8h 07m 32s
 

THE WOMENS RACE

With South African women victorious in the previous two Comrades Marathons (Caroline Wostmann – 2015 Up – and Charne Bosman – 2016 Down), sentiment was growing that the foreign stranglehold, over the previous 10 to 12 years, was over.

Local hopes, naturally, rested heavily on the shoulders of Wostmann and Bosman. With no acknowledged top performers from abroad in the line-up, another local victory was anticipated. The announcement by Wostmann, shortly before race day, that an injury prevented her from defending her Up title, left Bosman as the outright favourite.

First to show, as the field passed through Pinetown, was Camille Herron (USA) in (1h 18m 24s). She had built a reasonable lead over Jasmin Nunige (Switzerland – 1h 22m 51s). The rest of the top ten positions were Bosman (1h 23m 20s), Sarah Bard (USA) and Coleen De Reuck together (1h 23m 22s), Danette Smith (1h 23m 24s), Alexandra Morozova (Russia – 1h 23m 25s), Stephanie Smith (1h 23m 49s), Devon Yanko (USA – 1h 25m 11s) and Gerda Steyn (1h 25m 42s).

Herron ran untroubled up Field’s Hill and reached Winston Park in (2h 07m 55s), increasing her lead to nearly 7 minutes from Bosman (2h 14m 38s), who had moved into 2nd place. Nunige (2h 14m 42s) was lying 3rd with Morozova (2h 14m 54s) in 4th place. De Reuck followed a few seconds later in 2h 15m 07s.

Herron maintained her 7-minute buffer, over the hilly section, to Drummond and led through the Valley of a Thousand Hills in 3h 07m 23s. Nunige (3h 14m 32s) had reclaimed 2nd place, with Morozova 3rd in 3h 14m 38s. Bosman (3h 14m 57s) and De Reuck (3h 16m 25s) were next through the checkpoint.

On the climb up Inchanga, and across the hills to Cato Ridge, Morozova put in a storming run. At Cato Ridge, she had moved into 2nd position. The order at the Subway was Herron (4h 10m 11s), Morozova (4h 16m 55s), Nunige (4h 18m 26s), Bosman (4h 18m 35s) and De Reuck (4h 23m 27s).

As Umlaas Road approached, Herron’s lead over Morozova was 6 minutes. Bosman was back in 3rd place, a further 3 minutes in arrears. Steyn, who had run conservatively from the start, through Pinetown and over Inchanga, had shifted up a gear and overhauled many ahead of her, came past in 4th place.

The big test now lay ahead; Ashburton and Polly Shortt’s Hills in quick succession. On these two monster obstacles, Herron maintained her pace, but Morozova was closing in. When she went over the top of Polly’s, she was less than 5 minutes behind Herron, who was timed at the top of the hill in 5h 54m 00s. Bosman was 3rd in 6h 05m 34s.

With the finish drawing ever closer, it was clear that Morozova’s gallant dash would not succeed. The distance to Herron was just too great.

Herron crossed the line at the Scottsville Racecourse, a worthy victrix, in 6h 27m 35s. She was followed by Morozova, Bosman and Steyn.

RESULT

1st Camille Herron USA 6h 27m 35s
2nd Alexandra Morozova Russia 6h 31m 45s
3rd Charne Bosman South Africa 6h 39m 51s
4th Gerda Steyn South Africa 6h 45m 45s
5th Jasmine Nunige Switzerland 6h 46m 21s
6th Sarah Bard USA 6h 49m 30s
7th Colleen De Reuck South Africa 6h 55m 36s
8th Dinette Smith South Africa 6h 58m 38s
9th Stephanie Smith South Africa 7h 00m 30s
10th Devon Yanko USA 7h 05m 55s

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

1st Charne Bosman (41) South Africa 6h 39m 51s
2nd Jasmine Nunige (43) Switzerland 6h 46m 21s
3rd Salome Cooper (41) South Africa 7h 22m 30s


MASTERS (AGE 50 - 59)

1st Colleen De Reuck (53) South Africa

6h 55m 36s

New Best Time Up

2nd Tia Jones (51) Australia 7h 56m 57s
3rd Jane Mudau (54) South Africa 8h 33m 51s

GRANDMASTERS (AGE 60 +)

1st Val Watson (61) South Africa 9h 24m 15s
2nd Lynne Semple (60) South Africa 9h 53m 08s
3rd Blanche Moila (61) South Africa 9h 58m 24s
2018 Down (93rd Race)
Date Sunday, 10 June
Weather Cold at start. Bright early morning sunshine, warming to mild, becoming overcast at midday. Muted sunshine late afternoon.

Temperature – Min/ Max:

PMB 8/21
DBN 15/23
Start Venue/Time Pietermaritzburg City Hall / 5:30
Finish Venue Moses Mabhida Stadium
Time Limit 12 Hours
Official Distance 90.184 kms

Winner’s Average Speed:

Men 16.571 km/hr (3m 37s /km)
Women 14.623 km/hr (4m 06s /km)
Entries 21272
Starters 19047
Finishers – Total 16482
Men 13110
Women 3372
Medals – Gold 20
Wally Hayward 10
Silver 588
Bill Rowan 2495
Bronze 7453
Vic Clapham 5916
% Finishers / Starters 86.5

THE MENS RACE

“It’s a two-horse race” opined the cognoscenti. “Gatebe or Mthembu? It has to be one of that pair. No one else is in with a realistic chance.” 

Can Gatebe reproduce his fabulous 2016 Down Run best time performance? Can defending 2017 champion, Mthembu join the elite ranks of those with a third victory? Those were the vexing questions that were about to be resolved.   

Race strategy appears to be undergoing a major change from the accepted tactics of the Eighties and Nineties when the ‘big names’ were content to sit back and watch the race develop before striking decisively for the final onslaught.

The only similarity with those bygone times is that the huge stampede out of the starting city, by the no-hopers, continues. However, the charge from the start now contains a new element. The ‘big names’ don’t allow the early pacemakers get too far ahead; they now go with them.

When the huge field of 19000 stormed out of Pietermaritzburg, the lead group was unable to break free from the top contenders. On the surge down Polly Shortt’s, a sole runner, Khoarahlane Seutoali from Lesotho, slowly edged away from the packed field and held a slender advantage at the first checkpoint at the Lion Park turn-off; sixteen kilometres from the start.

He passed the checkpoint in 57m 29s; a mere 15 seconds ahead of the avalanche that followed in 57m 44s. In the next 16 seconds, 43 runners stormed through. The chasing group included nine runners who would emerge as Gold Medallists a little more than four-and-a-half hours later. The soul Gold Medallist not in the lead batch was Teboho Sello who trailed by 66 seconds.

The fourteen-kilometre stretch to Cato Ridge developed into a wait-and-see exercise for the real contenders, while a few unknown runners made their presence known. Richard Mavuso led the field through the Cato Ridge subway in 1h 50m 13s. Then followed Thandokwakhe Ngcobo and Zimbabwean, Marko Mambo in 1h 50m 33s. They were followed by a small group comprising Calvin Matekola, Bongmusa Mthembu, Philan Nkomo and Charles Tjiane (all 1h 50m 34s) with Graham Malinga (1h 50m 35s), Joseph Mphuthi (1h 50m 36s) and Edward Mothibi (1h 50m 37s) closing out a congested first ten.

Mavuso hung on gamely across the hills to the midpoint at Drummond passing the checkpoint in 2h 41m 27s with slim lead of 23 seconds over Mike Fokoroni (2h 41m 50s) who had moved into contention on the drop into the Valley of a Thousand Hills. Close behind, in a procession with runners just strides apart, came Mambo and Mothibi (2h 41m 51s), Mphuthi, David Gatebe and Ethiopian, Kabede Dinke together (2h 41m 52s), Mthembu (2h 41m 53s), Sello (2h 41m 54s) and Gordon Lasetedi (2h 41m 55s). Many other perennial top performers had assembled within strides of the lead group. The closely-packed, congested field promised a thrilling second-half dash into Durban.

On the climb to Alveston, it became clear that Mavuso’s challenge was over. As he faded, the chasing pack swarmed past and as the Winston Park checkpoint approached, it became clear that the ‘big guns’ had positioned themselves for the final gambit. The heavy artillery was about to be unleashed.

Going through Winston Park in 3h 31m 07s, Mambo, looking impressive, had moved into a tenuous lead. He was followed by the quartet Mthembu, Mphuthi, Mothibi and Gatebe (all 3h 32m 10s) with Sello and Dinke a stride back in 3h 32m 11s. Lesetedi (3h 32m 20s), the improving Gift Kelehe (3h 32m 23s) and Fokoroni (3h 32m 53s), drifting back, completed the first ten.   

The shoot-out commenced, as it often has in the past, on the monster drop down Field’s Hill, on the approaches to Pinetown. The first to be greeted by the massive crowd in Pinetown was the threesome of Gatebe, Mthembu and Mothibi. They passed the Crompton Street intersection together in 4h 09m 50s. Next came Mambo (4h 10m 11s), Mphuthi (4h 10m 20s), Sello (4h 12m 35s) and Lesetedi (4h 13m 14s). The Englishman, Steven Way (4h 14m 58s) made a definitive move down Field’s; entering the Gold Medal brigade. He was followed by Kelehe (4h 15m 37s) and a game Fokoroni (4h 15m 57s) who was clearly struggling to remain in the top ten.  Just outside the Gold Medal positions, Nkosinathi Duma, moving effortlessly, was next through in 4h 18m 46s.

As the Armada sailed into Durban, past the Mayville checkpoint, with a shade over 30 minutes running ahead of them, all the final Gold Medallists had assembled themselves in the top ten places. All ten were clearly ‘on the move’ and heading the charge through Mayville was a fired-up Mthembu in 4h 53m 32s, followed by Mothibi (4h 58m 13s), Mphuthi (4h 59m 26s), Mambo (5h 00m 39s), the flying Way (5h 01m 50s), Gatebe (5h 02m 38s), Lesetedi (5h 03m 00s), Sello (5h 05m 11s), Kelehe (5h 08m 32s) and Duma (5h 08m 38s). Leading the pack, en route to the Moses Mabhida Stadium, Mthembu showed his class as a true champion. With just 8 kilometres remaining, a mammoth effort would be required by his chasers to reel him in.

The rapturous applause he encountered along the final few hundred metres, to Moses Mabhida Stadium, erupted into a continuous roll of thunder as he entered the new finish arena to complete a superb performance for his third victory.

RESULT

Current Best Time : 5h 18m 19s

David Gatebe – 2016

1st Bongmusa Mthembu South Africa

5h 26m 34s

2nd Joseph Mphuthi South Africa 5h 35m 09s
3rd Steven Way England 5h 35m 27s
4th Edward Mothibi South Africa 5h 36m 32s
5th Marko Mambo Zimbabwe 5h 37m 49s
6th Gordon Lesetedi South Africa 5h 39m 32s
7th Teboho Sello Lesotho 5h 42m 21s
8th David Gatebe South Africa 5h 42m 43s
9th Gift Kelehe South Africa 5h 46m 50s
10th Nkosinathi Duma South Africa 5h 47m 09s

 

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

Current Best Time : 5h 27m 22s

Vladimir Kotov (Berlarus) – 2001

1st Joseph Mphuthi (41) South Africa

5h 35m 09s

2nd Steven Way (43) England 5h 35m 27s
3rd Marko Mambo (46) Zimbabwe 5h 37m 49s

 

MASTERS (AGE 50 - 59)

Current Best Time : 5h 48m 12s

Vladimir Kotov (Belarus) – 2012

1st Ronald Shibiri (52) South Africa

6h 33m 42s

2nd Solomon Khumalo (52) South Africa 6h 39m 41s
3rd George Mooi (51) South Africa 6h 41m 26s

 

GRANDMASTERS (AGE 60 +)

Current Best Time : 6h 52m 08s

Peter Camenzind (Switzerland) – 2012

1st David Von Senden (62) Australia

7h  37m 40s

2nd Errol Shear (61) South Africa 7h 37m 56s
3rd Francis Mukuka (63) Zambia 7h 57m 24s

 

GUNGA DIN TROPHY

Current Team Best Time : 22h 19m 29s

Liberty Nike Athletic Club – 2003

First Mens Team Total Time
Nedbank Running Club GN 24h 36m 29s
Edward Mothibi 5h 36m 32s
Professa Mthethwa 5h 57m 11s
Sam Munyai 6h 09m 17s
Lovers Hlatshwayo 6h 53m 29s

 

ARTHUR NEWTON MEMORIAL TROPHY
Second Mens Team Total Time
Nedbank Running Club KZN 26h 11m 50s
Thanda Mthembu 6h 26m 08s
Nkosinathi Mthalane 6h 26m 08s
Xolani Bunge 6h 32m 01s
Albert Phungula 6h 47m 33s

 

VIC CLAPHAM MEMORIAL TROPHY

Current Team Best Time : 25h 27m 48s

Rand Athletic Club – 1986

First Veteran Mens Team Total Time
Nedbank Running Club KZN 27h 43m 17s
Richard Dlamini 6h 30m 26s
Zenzele Ngwazi 6h 38m 21s
Nicholas Gumede 7h 14m 25s
Sipho Majola 7h 20m 05s

 

NO TROPHY
First Elite Mens Team Total Time
Entsika Athletics Club CG 23h 18m 15s
Gordon Lesetedi 5h 39m 32s
David Gatebe 5h 42m 43s
Gift Kelehe 5h 46m 50s
Siya Mqambeli 6h 09m 10s

 

HARDY BALLINGTON TROPHY

Current Best Time : 5h 26m 29s

Leonid Shvetsov (Russia) – 2001

First Novice – Men Time
Edward Mothibi 5h 36m 32s

 

SOUTH AFRICAN LEGION TROPHY

Current Best Time : 5h 27m 22s

Vladimir Kotov (Belarus) – 2001

First Veteran Man Time
Joseph Mphuthi 5h 35m 09s

 

PREMIER’S TROPHY

Current Best Time : 5h 26m 39s

Bongmusa Mthembu – 2016

First KZN Man Time
Bongmusa Mthembu

5h 26m 34s 

New Best Time Down

 

THE WOMENS RACE

Disappointment ruled in the days leading up to race day.

In the middle of May, former winner, Caroline Wostmann, announced that a persistent injury was not responding to treatment and that, reluctantly, she could not risk running.

Then, a week before race day, defending champion, 2017 winner, Camille Heron of the USA, advised that an injury forced her to withdraw from the race.

This news threw the race wide open. It certainly offered opportunities to Alexandra Morozova of Russia and local hope, Charne Bosman, second and third respectively in 2017, to claim the laurels. Gerda Steyn, fourth in 2017, was regarded as having an outside chance.

The competitiveness of the women’s race was clearly gaining momentum and race strategy was changing. In past years, the main contenders were markedly superior, with the result that positions were established early on and very few changes occurred during the remainder of the race.

That changed dramatically this year. The race developed along lines similar to the strategies of the men’s race with the potential Gold Medallists remaining in close contention, early on, and keeping a watchful eye on moves by their major opponents.    

Charne Bosman, led the charge out of Pietermaritzburg, but she was never allowed to venture too far ahead. She reached the Lion Park turn-off in 1h 05m 13s; a lead of a minute over Gerda Steyn (1h 06m 22s), with the Russian, Alexandra Morozova next (1h 06m 32s). Following the leading three were Nina Zarina of Russia (1h 06m 33s), Tanith Maxwell (1h 06m 52s), Ann Ashworth (1h 07m 03s), Carla Molinaro of England (1h 07m 57s), American, Sarah Bard (1h 08m 16s), Tendaye Tibane (1h 08m 32s) with Monica Kativhu of Zimbabwe (1h 08m 33s) in tenth position.

The unknown Zarina drew level with Bosman a kilometre before Cato Ridge, passing through the village together in 2h 07m 16s. Morozova (2h 07m 17s) and Steyn (2h 07m 18s) were next through. Mere metres separated the leading quartet, Then, in close order were Ashworth (2h 08m 22s) and Maxwell (2h 08m 24s). The first ten were closed with Molinaro (2h 10m 50s), Bard (2h 12m 23s), Yoland McLean (2h 14m 03s) and Devon Yanko of the USA (2h 14m 29s).

Shortly after Cato Ridge, Zarina revealed her intentions with a determined surge and led the field into Drummond at the halfway mark, arriving in 3h 05m 59s. Bosman appeared uncomfortable as she approached the midpoint with Morozova (3h 06m 12s), Steyn (3h 06m 25s) and Ashworth (3h 06m 33s) going through Drummond ahead of her. Bosman was clocked at (3h 06m 41s), with Maxwell (3h 06m 42s) on her heels. The trip between Cato Ridge and Drummond appeared to have troubled most of the pursuers. An appreciable gap had opened before the next group arrived. Next through were Molinaro (3h 13m 12s), Bard (3h 14m 42s), Yanko (3h 16m 11s) and Sophia Sundberg, from Sweden (3h 16m 45s).

With the race now moving into the critical second half, the main contenders were maneuvering themselves into strategic strike mode, while the pretender’s first signs of weakness were surfacing. Over the difficult hilly section to Winston Park, Zarina lost ground as the pace picked up. Ashworth made a surprise early attack and reached the checkpoint in 4h 01m 25s with Steyn and Morozova passing together in 4h 02m 07s. Bosman was holding on in 4th place in 4h 04m 53s with Maxwell five metres adrift in 4h 04m 55s. Zarina, struggling, had fallen back to 6th position, passing by in 4h 08m 52s, but her race was clearly over. She would soon fade away to eventually finish in 22nd place. Chasing Zarina through Winston Park, at regular intervals, came Molinaro (4h 16m 03s), Bard (4h 17m 17s), the improving Sundberg (4h 18m 15s), Yanko (4h 20m 13s) and McLean (4h 20m 20s).

Dropping down Field’s Hill, Morozova trod on the accelerator, drew away from Steyn and, as she came off the bottom of the hill heading into Pinetown, went ahead of Ashworth.

The order at the Crompton Street checkpoint was

1st           Morozova       4h 45m 39s

2nd       Ashworth        4h 45m 41s

3rd        Steyn               4h 46m 31s

4th        Maxwell          4h 49m 39s

5th        Bosman           4h 53m 08s

6th        Zarina              5h 05m 56s

7th        Sundberg         5h 05m 58s

8th        Molinaro         5h 06m 30s

9th        Bard                5h 07m 55s

10th      Yanko             5h 09m 43s

Unnoticed at this late stage, Salome Cooper was running a stormer; slicing through those ahead of her as Durban appeared on the distant horizon. Entering the city, Ashworth moved into top gear and put 3 minutes between herself and Steyn by the time she reached Mayville in 5h 35m 11s. Steyn was next in 3h 38m 03s. Morozova was holding steady in 3rd place in 3h 39m 47s. Then followed Maxwell (5h 42m 30s), Bosman (5h 51m 47s), Sundberg (6h 04m 15s), Molinaro (6h 07m 11s), Yanko (6h 07m 25s), Bard (6h 08m 21s) with Cooper, making her first appearance among the Gold Medallists, in 6h 10m 13s.

Over the final 8 kilometres there was no stopping Ashworth. She stormed away from her pursuers, entering the finish in 6h 10m 04s, three-and-a-half minutes ahead of Steyn. Cooper’s valiant late effort, however, cost her dearly as she was overtaken by McLean three kilometres from the finish.

RESULT

Current Best Time : 5h 54m 43s

Frith van der Merwe – 1989

1st Ann Ashworth South Africa

6h 10m 04s

2nd Gerda Steyn South Africa 6h 15m 34s
3rd Alexandra Morozova Russia 6h 20m 21s
4th Tanith Maxwell South Africa 6h 20m 35s
5th Charne Bosman South Africa 6h 33m 08s
6th Sophia Sundberg Sweden 6h 45m 24s
7th Devon Yanko USA 6h 47m 44s
8th Sarah Bard USA 6h 49m 05s
9th Carla Molinaro England 6h 50m 31s
10th Yolande McLean South Africa 6h 52m 16s

 

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

Current Best Time : 6h 18m 33s

Maria Bak (Germany) – 2003

1st Tanith Maxwell (42) South Africa

6h 20m 35s

2nd Charne Bosman (42) South Africa 6h 33m 08s
3rd Yolande McLean (40) South Africa 6h 52m 16s

 

MASTERS (AGE 50 - 59)

Current Best Time : 6h 50m 21s

Colleen De Reuck – 2016

1st Jana Trojan (50) South Africa

8h 17m 49s

2nd Jane Mudau (55) South Africa 8h 19m 13s
3rd Julie Shadwell (56) South Africa 8h 43m 23s

 

GRANDMASTERS (AGE 60 +)

Current Best Time : 8h 24m 00s

Jenny Allebone – 2005

1st Elizabeth Waywell (60) Canada

8h 12m 36s

New Best Time Down

2nd Val Watson (62) South Africa 9h 14m 08s
3rd Adri van Jaarsveld (61) South Africa 9h 40m 06s

 

COMRADES MARATHON ASSOCIATION SHIELD

Current Team Best Time : 27h 50m 03s

Born 2 Run Atletic Club – 2016

First Womens Team

Total Time

KPMG Running Club AGN 31h 44m 57s
Franza Landman 7h 30m 41s
Lesego Hlako 7h 52m 52s
Michelle Stassen 8h 10m 17s
Marcelle Coetzee 8h 11m 07s

 

75th ANNIVERSARY SHIELD

Current Team Best Time : 31h 37m 53s

Durbanville Athletic Club – 2001

First Veteran Womens Team

Total Time

Rand Athletic Club 34h 17m 51s
Martine Baker 7h 52m 16s
Nicki Ryder 8h 37m 30s
Claire Anderson 8h 52m 32s
Tracey Akeroyd 8h 55m 33s

 

NO TROPHY
First Elite Womens Team

Total Time

Massmart Athletics Club CG 28h 08m 41s
Ann Ashworth 6h 10m 04s
Mia Morrison 7h 16m 01s
Enie Manzini 7h 21m 03s
Nandi Zaloumis 7h 21m 33s

 

SOUTH AFRICAN LEGION TROPHY

Current Best Time : 6h 18m 33s

Maria Bak (Germany) – 2001

First Veteran Woman

Time

Tanith Maxwell 6h 20m 35s

 

PREMIER’S TROPHY

Current Best Time : 6h 45m 45s

Kerry Koen – 2012

First KZN Woman

Time

Fikile Mbuthuma 6h 54m 36s

MISCELLANEOUS TROPHIES

FOUNDER’S TROPHY
Oldest Finisher

Age on Race Day

Time
Alf Burgess 79 11h 57m 41s

 

MASTERTON-SMITH MEMORIAL TROPHY
Youngest Finisher

Date of Birth

Age on Race Day Time
Ruan Britz 30 Apr 1998 20y 42d 11h 57m 13s

 

GERALDINE WATSON TROPHY
Last Runner to Finish

Time

Lunga Roshe 12h 00m 00s