2010 - 2015

2nd screen

2010 Down (85th Race)
Date Sunday, 30 May
Weather Cloudy early morning, warming to hot and cloudless at midday.

Temperature – Min/ Max:

PMB 6/21
DBN 15/25
Start Venue/Time Pietermaritzburg City Hall / 5:30
Finish Venue Kingsmead Stadium
Time Limit 12 Hours
Official Distance 89.208 km

Winner’s Average Speed:

Men 16.283 km/hr (3m 41s /km)
Women 14.360 km/hr (4m 11s /km)
Entries 23567
Starters 16482
Finishers – Total 14338
Men 11210
Women 3128
Medals – Gold 20
Wally Hayward 12
Silver 599
Bill Rowan 2304
Bronze 6563
Vic Clapham 4840
% Finishers / Starters 87.0


Stephen Muzhingi’s demolition of Leonid Shvetsov in 2009 prompted the question “Has the era of foreign domination ended?”

When the field of nearly 16 500 left the Pietermaritzburg City Hall, in perfect running weather at 5:30, by 11 o’clock the answer would be known.

Leading the field on its journey to Durban was the usual group of top standard marathon performers whose sole objective was the lure of the hotspot prizes on offer.

Behind them two groups, which contained all the main contenders, developed. Stephen Muzhingi was the pace-setter in the first group that included Peter Muthubi, Charles Tjiane and Lucas Nonyana. The following group had Vladimir Kotov as the driver. Hotspot chaser, Wellington Chidodo was timed through Drummond at 2h 37m 15s after which he soon faded to nowhere.

Tjiane, who had broken away from the main group, went through halfway with an advantage of eight minutes over the Muzhingi group. This was, perhaps, a wake-up call to those behind who probably realised that it was Tjiane who, in 2009, led all the way to Pinetown and was caught, as he tired, on the run-in to the finish, to eventually take third place. Maybe this was the year for him to last all the way.

Muzhingi, Claude Moshiywa, Bethuel Netshifhefhe and Fanie Matshipa set off in pursuit of the leader. Unlike last year, Tjiane unexpectedly faded and was walking as he neared Winston Park, but his lead was so great that the Muzhingi quartet finally reeled him in at Kloof.

Unknown to everyone, though, Ludwick Mamabolo and Bongmusa Mthembu, both lost in the main pack through halfway, were turning in a storming run over the final quarter of the race.

Moshiywa accelerated on the big drop down Field’s Hill where, firstly Netshifhefhe, and then Muzhingi drifted off the pace. The crowd at Kingsmead went into raptures on hearing that a South African was leading the race through Pinetown.

Moments later the raptures were silenced when the big screen at Kingsmead showed Moshiywa walking towards the foot of Cowies Hill. Muzhingi had recovered and went into the lead and stayed there, crossing the finish line more than six minutes before Mamabolo arrived, with Mtembu another two minutes adrift.

Returning to the question “Has the Russian strangle hold been broken?”

The first Russian home was Grigory Murzin in 21st place.

Apart from Muzhingi (Zimbabwe) and Noto (Lesotho, 9th) the remaining Gold medals fell into South African hands.

In positions 11 to 20, Prodigal Khumalo (Zimbabwe) finished 11th with South Africans filling out the rest.


1st Stephen Muzhingi Zimbabwe 5h 29m 01s
2nd Ludwick Mamabolo South Africa 5h 35m 29s
3rd Bongmusa Mthembu South Africa 5h 37m 49s
4th Fanie Matshipa South Africa 5h 39m 53s
5th Fusi Nhlapo South Africa 5h 40m 26s
6th Claude Moshiywa South Africa 5h 43m 04s
7th Petros Sosibo South Africa 5h 45m 58s
8th Peter Molapo South Africa 5h 46m 19s
9th Leboka Noto Lesotho 5h 48m 45s
10th Peter Muthubi South Africa 5h 49m 10s

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

1st Petros Sosibo (40) South Africa 5h 45m 58s
2nd Grigory Murzin (40) Russia 5h 59m 08s
3rd Elias Mabane (41) South Africa 6h 09m 57s

MASTERS (AGE 50 - 59)

1st Vladimir Kotov (52) Belarus

5h 51m 38s New Best Time Down

2nd Eloi De Oliveira (52) South Africa 6h 36m 33s
3rd Aubrey Watson (58) South Africa 6h 40m 56s


1st Jan Meyer (60) South Africa 8h 04m 01s
2nd Freddy Khashiri (63) Zimbabwe 8h 04m 59s
3rd Robert Edouard-Betsy (61) South Africa 8h 06m 52s


While great joy flowed from the result of the Men’s Race, there was little joy for local supporters in the Women’s Race with visitors taking seven of the Gold medals; five of them – including the top three positions – going to Russia. Again it was Farwa Mentoor who led the local challenge; finishing fifth.

Mentoor was indisputably the top South African woman of the decade and, in all probability, the greatest ever. It is unfortunate that her peak – she earned nine Golds from nine starts – arrived during the wrong decade.

The race, as a spectacle was a disappointment, as it appeared that the Nurgalieva twins would, again, have things all their own way. They once again adopted their proven tactic of going to the front from there gun and staying there. At Camperdown, twenty-six kilometers into the race, they already held a four-minute lead over Marina Myshlyanova and that was how it remained the entire way into Durban. When they entered Kingsmead Stadium, the contrived result gave Elena a one-second victory over Olesya, the distance back to Myshlyanova had stretched to thirteen minutes.


1st Elena Nurgalieva Russia 6h 13m 04s
2nd Olesya Nurgalieva Russia 6h 13m 05s
3rd Marina Myshlyanova Russia 6h 26m 03s
4th Kami Semick USA 6h 32m 55s
5th Farwa Mentoor South Africa 6h 38m 41s
6th Lizzy Hawker England 6h 39m 43s
7th Irina Antropova Russia 6h 44m 27s
8th Lindsay van Aswegen South Africa 6h 46m 52s
9th Adinda Kruger South Africa 6h 51m 15s
10th Anna Pichtova Russia 6h 51m 34s

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

1st Marina Myshlyanova (43) Russia 6h 26m 03s
2nd Kami Semick (43) USA 6h 32m 55s
3rd Lindsay van Aswegen (41) South Africa 6h 46m 52s

MASTERS (AGE 50 - 59)

1st Angela Sadler (50) England

7h 50m 05s

2nd Wendy Fitzmaurice (56) South Africa 8h 11m 05s
3rd Marie Wolmarans (51) South Africa 8h 12m 43s


1st Jan Phelan (61) South Africa 9h 07m 57s
2nd Carrol Cronk (60) South Africa 9h 18m 30s
3rd Maria Bernardino (62) Brazil 9h 38m 05s
2011 Up (86th Race)
Date Sunday, 29 May
Weather Mild morning. Warm sunshine, but cooling to cold late afternoon.

Temperature – Min/ Max:

PMB 3/21
DBN 9/22
Start Venue/Time Durban City Hall, West Street / 5:30
Finish Venue Alexandra Park Oval
Time Limit 12 Hours
Official Distance 86.940 km

Winner’s Average Speed:

Men 16.218 km/hr (3m 42s /km)
Women 14.047 km/hr (4m 16s /km)
Entries 19591
Starters 12648
Finishers – Total 11054
Men 8870
Women 2184
Medals – Gold 20
Wally Hayward 4
Silver 445
Bill Rowan 1715
Bronze 5250
Vic Clapham 3620
% Finishers / Starters 87.4


Could Stephen Muzhingi become the first man to score a hat trick since Bruce Fordyce in 1983?

From the moment the gun sent the field away from the Durban City Hall, the pace was furious with the customary hotspot hunters to the fore. Wellington Chidodo and Samuel Pazanga were way out in front when they reached the first hotspot in Pinetown. Muzhingi was in the following group in which very few big names went with him. Fanie Matshipa and Butiki Jantjies were there, but the group was already five minutes behind the leading trio. The serious contenders, Bongmusa Mthembu, Fusi Nhlapo and Claude Moshiywa appeared to be playing a waiting game, hanging back at this early stage.

Pazanga left his companion and moved well clear as he accelerated up Field’s Hill. Also running very strongly, and moving ahead of the Muzhingi group was Point Chaza. He caught an exhausted Pazanga going up Botha’s Hill to lead through Drummond in a fast 2h 39m. Next through was Eltas Mabane in 2h 44m 34s with Muzhingi, looking comfortable, following in 2h 46m.

Inchanga is always the catalyst. Whoever comes over the top looking untroubled, is usually thereabouts when the dash for the line commences. When Muzhingi summited the climb, only Matshipa and Lesotho novice, Teboho Sello, where at his side. Chaza, meanwhile had further increased his lead. This was certainly the reason for the sudden injection of pace. Sello soon fell away when the chase commenced and, after more than 3h 30m on the clock, the flying duo hauled in Chaza along Harrison Flats.

Matshipa was moving more freely as they closed in on Pietermaritzburg and looked set to strike at any moment. But it was not to be. Despite his misleadingly uneconomical style, Muzhingi kicked on the climb up Polly Shortts. Matshipa could not respond. Muzhingi went away from him to score a deserved hat trick.


1st Stephen Muzhingi Zimbabwe

5h 32m 46s

2nd Fanie Matshipa South Africa 5h 34m 30s
3rd Claude Moshiywa South Africa 5h 42m 06s
4th Jonas Buud Sweden 5h 42m 45s
5th Gift Kelehe South Africa 5h 44m 00s
6th Chasara Masiyatsva Zimbabwe 5h 44m 34s
7th Ludwick Mamabolo South Africa 5h 50m 18s
8th Charles Tjiane South Africa 5h 50m 47s
9th Brian Zondi South Africa 5h 51m 09s
10th Mncedisi Mkhize South Africa 5h 51m 18s

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

1st Elias Mabane (42) South Africa 6h 00m 50s
2nd Butiki Jantjies (40) South Africa 6h 05m 55s
3rd Richard Dlamimi (41) South Africa 6h 08m 49s

MASTERS (AGE 50 - 59)

1st Vladimir Kotov (53) Belarus 6h 24m 24s
2nd Eloi De Oliveira (53) South Africa 6h 39m 25s
3rd Stuart McColl (51) South Africa 6h 46m 34s


1st Bernd Juckel (61) Germany 7h 23m 10s
2nd Keith Mckay (61) Australia 8h 08m 59s
3rd Freddy Khashiri (64) Zimbabwe 8h 15m 56s


It was the Nurgalieva show again. And again they adopted their standard strategy; going to the front from the gun… and staying there… while the rest raced for the Bronze medal.

The only difference was that this year it would be a lot closer and they would, finally, have to run hard for their victory. They led through the checkpoint at Pinetown with a string of unknown visitors – Kami Semick, from the USA, and Lizzy Hawker and Eleanor Greenwood from England – not too far adrift. They climbed Field’s Hill with ease but passing through Kloof, at the top of the hill, Elena was bowled over by a runner from behind. Rising, with blood streaming from both knees as she did a few years before, she carried on and soon drew level with her sister.

They went through Drummond on record pace in 3h 04m, with Elena 2 strides ahead of Olesya. Hawker followed four minutes later. As it does so often, Inchanga plays a major role in the final standings and going up the hill, the first chinks in the Nurgalieva armour appeared. They were followed closely by Hawker, who was overtaken by Semick, before the summit arrived.

Despite the near record pace to halfway, and perhaps because of it, all prospects of a new record disappeared during the second half of the race. The twins hung on while Semick tried desperately to reduce the distance between them. The lead was, in the end, just too great.

Elena breasted the tape twenty-five seconds ahead of Olesya, while Semick failed by less than two minutes to annex the Silver Medal.

Once again, it was Farwa Mentoor to lead home the local hopes, finishing fifth. Like Gordon Baker in the Mens Race during the 60s and 70s, she is undoubtedly the best ever runner, unfortunatel, destined never to win the world’s greatest ultra.


1st Elena Nurgalieva Russia 6h 24m 11s
2nd Olesya Nurgalieva Russia 6h 24m 36s
3rd Kami Semick USA 6h 26m 25s
4th Eleanor Greenwood England 6h 32m 47s
5th Farwa Mentoor South Africa 6h 35m 50s
6th Irina Antropova Russia 6h 42m 08s
7th Lizzy Hawker England 6h 48m 29s
8th Adinda Kruger South Africa 6h 49m 02s
9th Kerry Koen South Africa 6h 56m 21s
10th Riana van Niekerk South Africa 6h 56m 39s

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

1st Kami Semick (44) USA 6h 26m 25s
2nd Michelle Kellock (40) South Africa 7h 27m 28s
3rd Lucie Hardiman (40) Australia 7h 28m 01s

MASTERS (AGE 50 - 59)

1st Sue Harrisberg (51) South Africa

8h 06m 29s

2nd Val Watson (55) South Africa 8h 36m 02s
3rd Juliette Savini (53) South Africa 8h 36m 25s


1st Elaine Greenblatt (62) South Africa 9h 33m 02s
2nd Maria Bernardino (63) Brazil 9h 42m 38s
3rd Tina Torpy (66) Australia 9h 53m 03s
2012 Down (87th Race)
Date Sunday, 3 June
Weather Cold at start. Mild to warm with scattered cloud in parts. Cool pleasant breeze early afternoon.

Temperature – Min/ Max:

PMB 6/22
DBN 13/24
Start Venue/Time Pietermaritzburg City Hall / 5:30
Finish Venue Kingsmead Stadium
Time Limit 12 Hours
Official Distance 89.208 km

Winner’s Average Speed:

Men 16.182 km/hr (3m 42s /km)
Women 14.587 km/hr (4m 07s /km)
Entries 19545
Starters 16613
Finishers – Total 11887
Men 9553
Women 2334
Medals – Gold 20
Wally Hayward 21
Silver 617
Bill Rowan 2021
Bronze 5352
Vic Clapham 3856
% Finishers / Starters 71.6


It was expected to be a shoot-out from the moment the first shot was fired at 5:30 that morning. No prisoners were going to be taken; no mercy was anticipated from any of the protagonists. The slightest sign of weakness would be exploited and the vanquished left withering, forlornly on the roadside.

All the elements were in place for an expected classic scrap… Muzhingi vs Shvetsov.

Stephen Muzhingi from Zimbabwe; defending champion… with a hat trick of victories in the previous three years.

Leonid Shvetsov from Russia; back-to-back Up and Down Best Times, in 2007 and 2008, made him the fastest man ever in either direction.

The anticipation was palpable… hanging heavily on the air, it could be felt pressing down on your shoulders. In the distance, a cock was heard crowing… a gunshot echoed across the city… and a huge cheer erupted from the masses that waited patiently for the bloodbath that was imminent.

There were other major players waiting anxiously in the wings in the pre-dawn chill. If the two big guns misfired, they were sure to pounce. The heavy artillery, running alongside Muzhingi and Shvetsov in the early stages, carried names such as Ludwick Mamabolo, Claude Moshiywa, Gift Kelehe, Petros Sosibo, Fusi Nhlapo and Bongmusa Mthembu. That array of talent, as it drifted out of Pietermaritzburg, was capable of turning any expert predictions upside down.

Once out of the city, the lead group, which included all the main contenders, remained in close contact, despite swapping positions within itself, over the first half of the race. Climbing out of Drummond, Mamabolo strode to the front. A few minor challenges were mounted but were easily repulsed. Mthembu gradually worked his way past the Gold Medal contenders, moving into second position on the ascent of Cowie’s Hill. The Best Time for the Down Run was not in danger and Mamabolo, running a tactical, controlled pace, retained a 100-second lead over Mthembu while the rest of the chasers steadily dropped further behind.


1st Ludwick Mamabolo South Africa

5h 31m 03s

2nd Bongmusa Mthembu South Africa 5h 32m 42s
3rd Leboka Noto Lesotho 5h 33m 31s
4th Marko Mambo Zimbabwe 5h 33m 40s
5th Leonid Shvetsov Russia 5h 35m 20s
6th Adoro Lephetesang Lesotho 5h 38m 05s
7th Stephen Muzhingi Zimbabwe 5h 38m 06s
8th Gift Kelehe South Africa 5h 38m 39s
9th Claude Moshiywa South Africa 5h 39m 11s
10th Petros Sosibo South Africa 5h 40m 37s

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

1st Leboko Noto (41) Lesotho 5h 33m 31s
2nd Marko Mambo (41) Zimbabwe 5h 33m 40s
3rd Leonid Shvetsov (43) Russia 5h 35m 20s

MASTERS (AGE 50 - 59)

1st Vladimir Kotov (54) Belarus

5h 48m 12s New Best Time Down

2nd Shaun Meiklejohn (51) South Africa 6h 33m 54s
3rd Stuart McColl (52)) South Africa 6h 47m 05s


1st Peter Camenzind (61) Switzerland

6h 52m 08s New Best Time Down

2nd Bernd Juckel (62) Germany 7h 08m 33s
3rd Freddy Khashiri (64) Zimbabwe 7h 38m 33s


The foreign juggernaut was expected to continue, with the East Europeans, in the form of the Russian contingent, leading the charge.

When the Gold Medals were, subsequently, allocated a Russian quartet had claimed four of the ten on offer.

The twin threat posed by the Nurgalieva sisters, however, was blunted when Olesya, who had shortly before given birth to a daughter, could not run. Knowledgeable opinion soon speculated that, without her twin sister at hand, Elena might not be the force that she was in recent years.

That theory was blown away almost from the moment the field set off for the coast. Elena went to front, and stayed there, and broke the tape at Kingsmead Stadium with her fastest time for the Down Run. Her 6h 07m 12s secured her 7th victory in the ten years since she ran, and won, as a novice in 2003.

She was, however, pushed to her limit by Eleanor Greenwood, of Great Britain. This was, no doubt, a contributory factor for Nurgalieva’s fast time and, despite a concerted push towards the death, Greenwood failed by little more than three hundred metres to reel in the flying winner.

Such was the pace of the two front-runners; the remaining chasers were never in contention. Perennial Gold Medalist, Marina Zhalybina – who collected her eleventh Gold – trailed in more than 22 minutes behind the runner-up.


1st Elena Nurgalieva Russia 6h 07m 12s
2nd Eleanor Greenwood England 6h 08m 24s
3rd Marina Bychkova Russia 6h 30m 54s
4th Joasia Zakrzewski Scotland 6h 33m 41s
5th Devon Yanko USA 6h 39m 59s
6th Kerry Koen South Africa 6h 45m 45s
7th Irina Antropova Russia 6h 47m 20s
8th Natalia Volgina Russia 6h 51m 07s
9th Melanie van Rooyen South Africa 6h 52m 36s
10th Julanie Basson South Africa 7h 00m 46s

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

1st Emma Gooderham (41) England 7h 01m 00s
2nd Michelle Mee (40) South Africa 7h 26m 14s
3rd Carmen Voget (40) South Africa 7h 36m 45s

MASTERS (AGE 50 - 59)

1st Karin Galpin (50) England

8h 09m 25s

2nd Val Watson (56) South Africa 8h 16m 28s
3rd Julie Shadwell (50) South Africa 8h 20m 56s


1st Norah Doherty (63) South Africa 10h 02m 23
2nd Barbro Nilsson (63) Sweden 10h 14m 24
3rd Maria Bernardino (65) Brazil 10h 24m 41
2013 Up (88th Race)
Date Sunday, 2 June
Weather Mild at start with strong breeze. Very hot later with hot gusting wind the entire day.

Temperature – Min/ Max:

PMB 15/30
DBN 16/27
Start Venue/Time Durban City Hall, West Street / 5:30
Finish Venue Alexandra Park Oval
Time Limit 12 Hours
Official Distance 86.863 km

Winner’s Average Speed:

Men 15.692 km/hr (3m 49s /km)
Women 13.460 km/hr (4m 27s /km)
Entries 19907
Starters 18578
Finishers – Total 10232
Men 8271
Women 1961
Medals – Gold 20
Wally Hayward 3
Silver 305
Bill Rowan 1374
Bronze 4417
Vic Clapham 4113
% Finishers / Starters 55.1


The heat and wind combined to make running conditions the second most difficult in the 88-year history of the Comrades Marathon. Only in 1965, when the rain bucketed down for the entire day, were the contestants faced with a tougher challenge.

It has certainly been hotter in some years and the wind has blown more forcefully in others, but the combined effects, this year, suppressed anticipated performances at all levels throughout the field.

The major concern facing the echelon of top contenders, however, was not the weather. The real problem was that there were only ten Gold Medals on offer.

There were twelve or thirteen men who were all aspirant claimants to these few precious metal discs.

Justin Chitake, Charles Soza and William Chinyanga had established the lead through Pinetown. They were followed closely by Claude Moshiywa, Ludwick Mamabolo, Marko Mambo and Mike Fokoroni. Not too far adrift of this quartet was Moses Njodzi and David Gatebe. Approaching Hillcrest, it was clear that Chitake had over-extended himself and he surrendered the lead to Gatebe and Njodzi who seemed to be running at a speed that, in the conditions, was unwise. Gatebe submitted before halfway. Njodzi was timed through Drummond in a very fast 2h 40m 02s but he, too, capitulated to the Moshiywa group – which was, itself, also in a state of disintegration – while walking on the climb up Inchanga.

Going over the top, the lead group comprised Moshiywa, Fokoroni, Johannes Kekana and Rufus Photo but, at short intervals, on the roller-coaster section to Cato Ridge, Photo, and then Fokoroni, dropped off the pace, leaving Moshiywa and Kekana to contest the lead to Pietermaritzburg.

The big hills into the city were, however, the final arbiters. Sweden’s Jonas Buud and Lesotho’s Mpesela Ntlosoeu were, meantime storming through the remnants of the early pace-setters. Both hauled in Kekana on Polly Shortts and held on to take the Silver and Bronze Medallions. But Moshiywa was much too far out of reach.


1st Claude Moshiywa South Africa

5h 32m 09s

2nd Jonas Buud Sweden 5h 41m 21s
3rd Mpesela Ntlosoeu Lesotho 5h 43m 38s
4th Ludwick Mamabolo South Africa 5h 45m 49s
5th Johannes Kekana South Africa 5h 46m 27s
6th Henry Moyo Malawi 5h 46m 52s
7th Joseph Mphuthi South Africa 5h 48m 00s
8th Mike Fokoroni Zimbabwe 5h 50m 11s
9th Rufus Photo South Africa 5h 51m 52s
10th Stephen Muzhingi Zimbabwe 5h 52m 38s

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

1st Johannes Kekana (41) South Africa 5h 46m 27s
2nd Henry Moyo (40) Malawi 5h 46m 52s
3rd Ephraim Xaba (41) South Africa 6h 05m 26s

MASTERS (AGE 50 - 59)

1st Shaun Meiklejohn (52) South Africa

6h 46m 43s

2nd Stuart McColl (53) South Africa 6h 57m 53s
3rd Edward Sibanda (54) South Africa 7h 22m 19s


1st Cornet Matomane (61) South Africa

7h 57m 16s

2nd Bonolo Mofokeng (61) South Africa 8h 34m 28s
3rd Frans Moraba (61) South Africa 8h 50m 34s


It seemed as if there was no way of stopping it. The Russian steamroller steamed through again. The Nurgalieva twins were back… with a vengeance, despite there being other top performers in 2012 Runner-Up, Eleanor Greenwood, and regular Gold Medalist, Farwa Mentoor, in the line-up. Either was capable of causing an upset and taking line-honours.

The twins set out from the start, seemingly, to break the opposition. They were never in any kind of trouble and led from gun to tape.

Passing through halfway at Drummond, where they held a 9-minute advantage over South African novice, Charne Bosman, it appeared they were aiming at a new record, despite the uncompromising weather.

Over the second half, maybe because of the weather, they slowed considerably; subsequently recording their slowest-ever Comrades times. Fellow Russian, Irina Antropova, came through strongly, at the death, to finish third.

Elena Nurgalieva recorded a fourth successive win and Olesya was runner-up for the third time in the last four years. If it was not for the birth of her child during 2012, it might have been four in a row.

Bosman soldiered on but the distance, ultimately, defeated her and she also experienced the extreme disappointment of losing fourth position at the final moment; being overtaken in the home straight and finished fifth.


1st Elena Nurgalieva Russia 6h 27m 09s
2nd Olesya Nurgalieva Russia 6h 28m 07s
3rd Irina Antropova Russia 6h 44m 36s
4th Joasia Zakrzewski Scotland 6h 53m 29s
5th Charne Bosman South Africa 6h 53m 35s
6th Marina Bychkova Russia 6h 56m 55s
7th Holly Rush England 7h 04m 21s
8th Melanie van Rooyen South Africa 7h 08m 09s
9th Kerry Koen South Africa 7h 15m 07s
10th Julanie Basson South Africa 7h 21m 02s

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

1st Carien Visser (45) South Africa 7h 27m 23s
2nd Belinda Waghorn (40) South Africa 7h 28m 38s
3rd Ursula Turck (41) South Africa 7h 54m 21s

MASTERS (AGE 50 - 59)

1st Jane Mudau (50) South Africa

8h 06m 44s

2nd Mari Bruwer (50) South Africa 8h 32m 26s
3rd Val Watson (57) South Africa 8h 46m 19s


1st Gloudien Spies (60) South Africa 10h 18m 27
2nd Pamela Rasmussen (60) South Africa 10h 37m 23
3rd Patricia Shaw (60) South Africa 10h 38m 03
2014 Down (89th Race)
Date Sunday, 1 June
Weather Mild cloudless morning. Very hot at midday.

Temperature – Min/ Max:

PMB 9/30
DBN 11/30
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 16.304 km/hr (3m 41s /km)
Women 14.162 km/hr (4m 14s /km)
Entries 20104
Starters 14693
Finishers – Total 12037
Men 9597
Women 2440
Medals – Gold 20
Wally Hayward 13
Silver 494
Bill Rowan 1810
Bronze 5121
Vic Clapham 4579
% Finishers / Starters 81.9


In 1979 and 1980 Bruce Fordyce finished 3rd and 2nd… and we know what happened after that.

In the build-up to race-day someone, or everyone, overlooked the two previous year’s results. Bongmusa Mthembu had ‘done a Fordyce’ in 2012 and 2013 and in the pre-race hype, his name was barely mentioned when ‘those in the know’ made their forecasts. The talk was all about Mike Fokoroni, Ludwick Mamabolo, Prodigal Khumalo and Marko Mambo.

In warm pleasant weather, all the early running was done by two rabbits who were never going to be around when the real race started. They were after the hotspot money and nothing more. They led the main group through halfway at Drummond by 6 minutes.

A massive group of thirty, which included all those who were destined to feature in the cut-and-thrust, two-and-a-half hours later, on the approach to Durban, passed through Drummond in 2h 42m. Within minutes, the rabbits were swallowed up.

Entering Hillcrest, Mambo made his break and his flowing, elegant style indicated that this might be his day. It wasn’t. His hamstring seized on the drop down Field’s Hill… and he never went any further. Rufus Photo went to the front as they exited the hill. He was followed through Pinetown by three-time winner, Stephen Muzhingi, Mamabolo, Gift Kelehe and Mthembu.

With Cowies Hill looming, Mthembu went past those around him and set his sights on Photo. A few strides into the last major climb of the day, Photo went backwards, leaving Mthembu alone out in front; a position from where he consolidated his supremacy and moved further out of reach with every step. Mamabolo and Kelehe moved into the Silver and Bronze Medal slots, but the flying Mthembu was gone; running alone into Kingsmead Stadium, putting gaps of five and six minutes between him and his two chasers. 


1st Bongmusa Mthembu South Africa

5h 28m 34s

2nd Ludwick Mamabolo South Africa 5h 33m 14s
3rd Gift Kelehe South Africa 5h 34m 39s
4th Stephen Muzhingi Zimbabwe 5h 35m 18s
5th Rufus Photo South Africa 5h 35m 30s
6th Mnsedisi Mkhize South Africa 5h 36m 06s
7th Jonas Buud Sweden 5h 38m 17s
8th Mokwalakwala Mmanokon South Africa 5h 39m 29s
9th Prodigal Khumalo Zimbabwe 5h 39m 36s
10th Latudi Makofane South Africa 5h 40m 41s

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

1st Jonas Buud (40) Sweden 5h 38m 17s
2nd Leboko Noto (43) Lesotho 5h 54m 51s
3rd Bethuel Netshitenzhe (42) South Africa 5h 56m 47s

MASTERS (AGE 50 - 59)

1st Shaun Meiklejohn (53) South Africa

6h 39m 15s

2nd Reform Ndlovu(52) South Africa 6h 45m 44s
3rd Vladimir Kotov (56) Belarus 6h 47m 20s


1st Peter Erasmus (61) South Africa

8h 08m 36s

2nd Almon Zibuse (63) South Africa 8h 36m 59s
3rd Buks Swanepoel (61) South Africa 8h 38m 10s


Was it going to be another one-two for the Russians?

Everyone in the media felt that was the way it would likely pan out when the field closed in on Durban shortly after 12:30 on race-day, although 2012 runner-up, Eleanor Greenwood was given, at best, only a very outside chance.

It certainly appeared to be heading in that direction when the race got under. The Nurgalieva sisters went straight to the front and seemed bent on destroying the rest of the contenders who trailed forlornly in their wake.

They powered through halfway in 3h 3m having put more than four minutes between themselves and Greenwood and fifteen minutes ahead of Charne Bosman, the leading South African.

From that point, it merely became more depressing for the rest of the field as the Nurgalievas drew ever further ahead. So fast were they running, over the short, taxing trip to the crest of Botha’s Hill, the gap to Greenwood stretched to 8m 29s.

As the weather warmed up, so did the action behind the flying leaders. Bosman surrendered in Pinetown, while Zola Budd came into the frame only to falter and allowing Caroline Wostmann to take up the South African challenge.

Perhaps their murderous early pace did the damage because, going through Westville, first Olesya, then Elena, revealed that they were in serious trouble. Walks became frequent… looking over the shoulder… body language that all was not well. Roadside spectators told Greenwood that the twins were in trouble. At Mayville, 7 kilometres from home, Greenwood shifted up a gear into overdrive. Passing through Tollgate, she saw the lead vehicle in the distance.

With just three kilometres to run, Greenwood hit the front.

The Russian juggernaut had, finally, been subdued.


1st Eleanor Greenwood England 6h 18m 15s
2nd Elena Nurgalieva Russia 6h 23m 18s
3rd Olesya Nurgalieva Russia 6h 24m 51s
4th Irina Antropova Russia 6h 34m 08s
5th Jo Meek England 6h 47m 02s
6th Caroline Wostmann South Africa 6h 51m 43s
7th Zola Pieterse USA 6h 55m 55s
8th Frida Södermark Sweden 6h 57m 33
9th Julanie Basson South Africa 7h 02m 50s
10th Salome Cooper South Africa 7h 06m 03s

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

1st Zola Pieterse (48) USA 6h 55m 55s
2nd Tina Major (40) Australia 7h 12m 04s
3rd Lesley Austin (40) South Africa 7h 15m 55s

MASTERS (AGE 50 - 59)

1st Motlatsi Mohlamonyane (51) South Africa

8h 30m 27s

2nd Jane Mudau (51) South Africa 8h 33m 26s
3rd Rita van Wyk (51) South Africa 8h 39m 09s


1st Jacqueline Millett (61) England 9h 57m 34s
2nd Patricia Shaw (61) South Africa 9h 57m 52s
3rd Gloudien Spies (61) South Africa 10h 33m 08
2015 Up (90th Race)
Date Sunday, 31 May
Weather Mild at start. Warming to hot late morning to mid afternoon.

Temperature – Min/ Max:

PMB 8/26
DBN 16/26
Start Venue/Time Durban City Hall, West Street / 5:30
Finish Venue Alexandra Park Oval
Time Limit 12 Hours
Official Distance 87.720 kms

Winner’s Average Speed:

Men 15.545 km/hr (3m 52s /km)
Women 14.134 km/hr (4m 15s /km)
Entries 22402
Starters 16517
Finishers – Total 12799
Men 10295
Women 2504
Medals – Gold 20
Wally Hayward  -
Silver 404
Bill Rowan 1671
Bronze 5441
Vic Clapham 5263
% Finishers / Starters 77.5


There was no clear favourite this year. Any one of a highly talented half-dozen could produce the performance that would take him to line honours.

On a balmy Durban morning, one could have been forgiven for thinking that summer was around the corner… yet it was still a few weeks short of mid-winter.

Soon after the start, a huge group, of nearly a hundred, formed behind the two early leaders, Gilbert Mutandiro and Thobani Chagwe. The speed that these two were running, indicated that they were never in the race proper. They were, in fact, out of contention long before halfway.

The main group, in which former winners Bongmusa Mthembu, Claude Moshiywa, Stephen Muzhingi and Ludwick Mamabolo were prominent, ran through Drummond in 2h 50m.

Inchanga, always a catalyst when the accelerators were depressed, soon initiated the disintegration as the no-hopers fell away and the real contenders emerged at the front. Once over the summit, the serious racing began with eight men left to do battle into Pietermaritzburg. Mthembu, Moshiywa, Muzhingi and Mamabolo were joined by Gift Kelehe, Lebohang Monyele and Hatiwande Nyamande, both from Lesotho, and Ethiopian, Mohammed Husien. 

Monyele tried to break away with a few intermittent surges but Husien responded to every attempt and immediately after Camperdown, the Ethiopian became the first North African to lead a Comrades Marathon. A short distance behind, Kelehe made the move that, with nearly 24 kilometers still to run, saw him wrest the lead from Husien and ultimately carry him to a comfortable victory by almost 8 minutes. Husien hung on desperately to his second position, denying the determined drive by Nyamande, getting home 2 minutes ahead of the runner from Lesotho.  


1st Gift Kelehe South Africa

5h 38m 36s

2nd Mohammed Husien Ethiopia 5h 46m 14s
3rd Hatiwande Nyamande Zimbabwe 5h 48m 19s
4th Lebohang Monyele Lesotho 5h 52m 32s
5th Tebeho Sello Lesotho 5h 54m 03s
6th Joseph Mphuthi South Africa 5h 54m 29s
7th Claude Moshiywa South Africa 5h 55m 17s
8th Stephen Muzhingi Zimbabwe 5h 56m 36s
9th Thuso Mosiea South Africa 5h 59m 08s
10th Vasily Larkin Russia 6h 00m 56s

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

1st Claude Moshiywa (40) South Africa 5h 55m 17s
2nd Johannes Kekana (43) South Africa 6h 24m 04s
3rd Judas Ntuli (44) South Africa 6h 28m 53s

MASTERS (AGE 50 - 59)

1st Shaun Meikljohn (54) South Africa

6h 39m 56s

2nd Stuart McColl (55) South Africa 6h 45m 19s
3rd Lazarus Seroka (50) South Africa 6h 48m 28s


1st Francis Mukuka (60) Zambia

7h 49m 14s

2nd Nicholas Dlamini (60) South Africa 8h 14m 23s
3rd Almon Zibuse (64) South Africa 8h 18m 46s


Seventeen years is a long time.

Who can remember Rae Bischoff when she won the 1998 Up Run, ironically, from two Russian women who were both in the vanguard of the foreign invasion that was to include four Russians, two Germans and a lone Brit for all of that seventeen-year drought in which South Africa yearned for a home victory.

The Nurgalieva twins were among the starters that filed out of Durban. So was a university lecturer, a 32-year-old mother of two who was only able to run and train for the Comrades outside of working hours and home duties. Caroline Wostmann had, in the past few years, crept almost unnoticed into the reckoning. Was she the catalyst destined to wrench the title away from the invaders?

As the huge field plunged into the pre-dawn gloom, after passing under start banner, the next six hours would reveal the answer.

Adopting their proven success strategy, the Nurgalievas attacked immediately. Surprisingly, so did former Gold Medallist, Yolande Maclean, who held a short lead, after 16 kilometres, at the crest of Cowies Hill, but surrendered it soon after . Wostmann, running unhurried, trailed by fifty-one seconds as she commenced the drop into Pinetown. Running steadily, she caught, and overtook the Nurgalievas on the ascent of Botha’s Hill where she immediately lost it when she stopped to walk. After a few strides, she commenced running again and stormed passed them and built a lead of 1m 37s through the midpoint at Drummond.

Across the exposed hilltops to Pietermaritzburg, Wostmann simply ran away from the field while the Nurgalieva twins fell away, losing their position to Charne Bosman who came through to finish 21 minutes behind Wostmann.

The course, this year, was nearly 900 metres longer than that of previous Up Runs; the result of road works in central Pinetown

Wostmann pursued this walk-run strategy a few more times during the morning. It was, doubtless, a pre-planned tactic. She finished less than three minutes adrift of the Best Time for the Up Run. One wonders, if it was not for the extra distance and… if she had run the entire way… what time she would have recorded.


1st Caroline Wostmann South Africa 6h 12m 22s
2nd Charne Bosman South Africa 6h 33m 24s
3rd Elena Nurgalieva Russia 6h 40m 36s
4th Olesya Nurgalieva Russia 6h 41m 18s
5th Nina Podnebesnova Russia 6h 41m 48s
6th Eleanor Greenwood England 6h 44m 03s
7th Emmerentia Rautenbach South Africa 6h 45m 22s
8th Joasia Zakrzewski Scotland 7h 00m 45s
9th Simona Staicu Hungary 7h 01m 14s
10th Yolande Maclean South Africa 7h 01m 49s

VETERANS (AGE 40 – 49)

1st Simona Staicu (44) Hungary 7h 01m 14s
2nd Lesley Austin (41) South Africa 7h 09m 08s
3rd Adele Waldron (41) South Africa 7h 37m 19s

MASTERS (AGE 50 - 59)

1st Lelanie van Zyl (50) South Africa

8h 19m 18s

2nd Jane Mudau (52) South Africa 8h 33m 19s
3rd Val Watson (59) South Africa 8h 35m 57s


1st Nancy Will (62) South Africa

8h 53m 31s New Best Time Up

2nd Linda Icely (63) South Africa 10h 33m 19
3rd Irmgard Uhlig (62) Germany 10h 33m 35