Carl Peters
Sport Editor
2 minute read
28 Jun 2022
06:01

Runners eager for Comrades

Carl Peters

Official Comrades Marathon coach Lindsey Parry says there is great excitement building for the big race in August for a number of reasons, but there are also some precautions for runners to take.

Official Comrades Marathon coach Lindsey Parry says there is great excitement building for the big race in August for a number of reasons, but there are also some precautions for runners to take.

Parry has been running coaching clinics and roadshows ahead of the ultra marathon between Pietermaritzburg and Durban on Sunday, August 28, and has picked up “huge excitement” among runners because Comrades is bouncing back from a two-year hiatus, and also due to Covid-linked rules having been dropped.

Speaking from his home in Johannesburg, he said:

“Runners are definitely happy to be taking part in Comrades again and especially with Covid testing and things no longer a requirement. It is huge, and we are going to have a good race on August 28, I am sure.”

 He said there are nevertheless two important things that runners should be aware of — race day could be warmer than usual, and Covid will still be around. He said that because the race is taking place later in the year than usual, the weather could be one or two degrees warmer and a little bit of rain might appear.

“The best case scenario is the weather on August 28 will be similar to the usual June race day.

“The worst case scenario is two degrees hotter than normal and a bit of rain, considering it’s so close to spring.

He said he encouraged runners to do some training in warmer weather and to sauna twice a week during August. “We are probably worrying about nothing in terms of the weather, but it is better to be prepared for a change than not.”

Weather and tactics will decide the winner

He said the weather and tactics chosen by individual runners will typically decide the winner, but he advises people who contract Covid in August to get medical approval to run Comrades.

“This is because we know that apart from respiratory problems, Covid can affect a person’s heart,” he said.

Some 16 000 runners will be taking part in this year’s Comrades, with the start at Pietermaritzburg City Hall at 5.30 am and finish at Moses Mabhida Stadium 12 hours later in a “mat to mat” situation. The race distance is approximately 90 kilometres.

The defending champions are Edward Mothibi (male) and Gerda Steyn (women). Mothibi won in a time of five hours, 31 minutes and 33 seconds in the last race in 2019, while Steyn clocked 5:58:53 to eclipse the 13-year-old best up run time of 6:09:24 set by Elena Nurgalieva.