Comrades Marathon

1 to 20 of 25 messages
17/12/2002 at 13:29
I'm "toying" with doing the Comrades
Marathon next year, and was wondering
if anyone had done it before and could
comment on the event. Also, any advise
on how to train for a 56
longest ever before was the Cross Wales
(48m) but that was years ago. I also
achieved a marathon pb this year of
3 hrs 50, so was thinking of using
a similar training schedule with longer
runs............I'm open to suggestions!
17/12/2002 at 14:55
I have not run it, although I used to life in Hillcrest, which is on the Comrades route. Next year is a down year, which is said to be harder on the legs because of the constant pounding. The furthest I have ever run is 26 miles, so I can't offer you any useful advice on training. However, if you go to there is a Comrades Calculator, which predicts a time of 9hrs 24mins based on your marathon time. On that site's home page there are also some links to South African sites, which might help you.
17/12/2002 at 15:08
Hi Karen.

Well that would be an excellent achievment Karen,probably no help what so ever, but ive just seen a movie on this called The Long Run, its out to buy or at your friendly Blockbuster store on dvd.

Might give you an idea on the route and the amount of peeople that take part.

Good luck!
17/12/2002 at 16:15
I've read about it and I would think it would be a fantastic thing to have completed. Way out of my league, but not yours by the sound of things, good luck if you go for it.
17/12/2002 at 18:32
Hi Guy,
thanks for the website - I quite liked the "walk strategy" bit. I also checked
out the Comrades website, but its "Training" section was pretty much empty.

I have to admit 56 miles does sound a tad scarey, even on a "down" run. By all accounts both directions are hard.
17/12/2002 at 19:46
Hi Karen,

There's an email list for Ultra runners. It's quite busy, and there's loads of advice there on how to train for this sort of event. Lots of inspiring accounts, too, of people running impossible races! You can find the web page here, and there'll be info there on how to subscribe to the email list, should you wish to do so. Good luck :)
17/12/2002 at 21:05

I forgot to mention that Tim Noakes' Lore of Running is well worth getting. He is a doctor from Cape Town, who has run the Comrades, and as well as being a very good book on running it has a lot of advice and information about the Comrades. Amazon is only showing the 1987 edition, and saying that it is not currently in stock, but when I was in Cape Town a few weeks ago I noticed that there was an updated version in the bookshops, so if you search around on the internet you can probably find it.
20/12/2002 at 17:24
Wee Piglet,
looks like I've come unstuck - I registered for the ultra running mail list, then went travelling for a couple of days only to come back and find 73 emails.......I think reading them could take more time than training for the comrades!

I've decided that I'll train towards Paris
via the Compton Downland Challenge - 40 hilly miles. If I survive that, I'll go for it with the Comrades.

27/12/2002 at 22:57
Karen, you could also try the official comrades website -:

I have participated in the race twice, but failed to finish in the allocated time on both occasions.

The atmosphere is great and the scenery very beautiful, and there is plenty of support along the route. The "down" run was much more difficult for me, but everyone has their own favourite. The walk/run method is used by the majority of the 12000+ field, with varied results.

I hope to run it again one day, when I return there, to visit family and friends.

Good Luck :-)
28/12/2002 at 09:39
Hi Dazzle,
hope you had a good Xmas.

I've looked at the website, but unfortunately the training section seems pretty empty - it may be a little early. This year they've extended the cut-off to 12 hours, so it may be a full 2 hours longer than when you last did it, so I'm hopeful that I stand some chance.

My main issue with the walk/run, is that (in my opinion), once you begin walking its very difficult to motivate yourself to run again, and the walk intervals tend to lengthen. Perhaps confining the walking to steep hills, or the latter part of the race so you've got a good start may work.

I've also heard that the "Down" run is no easier - it's a down run this year. Can you advise on how hilly it is? Are there flat bits at all!
31/12/2002 at 10:45
Hi Karen,

thanks, i did have a good Xmas, hope you had a good one too.

I have not used their website before, but must say that it is very poor when it comes to training info.

With regard to the run/walk issue, from my own experience the best way to tackle the route is to start off at an easy pace, and conserve energy by walking (briskly) up the hills and running the flat and downhill sections. There are a few flat sections, the longest being Harrison Flats which is about 15km from the start. This is also a very quiet section with very little spectators.

The "Down" run does have uphills too. Most of them will be encountered in the first half of the race. Motivation to get going again should not be that hard as the field of runners are very supportive and the supporters along the course help to get you going again. Even if you can maintain a pace of around 7 minutes per kilometret you should still finish in the 12 hours.

If I come accros any other info I will pass it on to you.

Good luck and enjoy the experience.
31/12/2002 at 15:27
Thanks Dazzle,
very helpful information. Is Harrison flats 15km from the start on the down run? Also, its good to know that the majority of the hills are in the first half - I think that will help as you get more tired.

My aim at present is to focus on the Paris marathon in which I'd like to do sub 3h 45 to stand a chance of a "good for age" entry to London next year. I did 3 hr 50 in October, so feel this is feasible.

I thought I'd modify my training this time by ramping my long run - I only did one 20 miler last time and really feel that you need to feel comfortable at that distance. Because of Comrades, I plan to go to the other extreme by ramping from my current 16m run now, to do the Compton Downland challenge - 40 miles at the end of March.

The closing date for Comrades is May, so I think I can be relaxed and wait to see how Compton and Paris go. If they go well, and I'm injury free I'll enter and spend the
remaining 10 weeks working on increasing the
distance - I think I'll aim to peak at 50 miles about 4-6 weeks before.

To be honest, I'm just focussing on the next
3 months first, so it seems less daunting!

Any hints, advice, information will be gratefully received!
03/01/2003 at 16:22
yes Harrison Flats is 15km from the start on the "down" run. I have just been onto the comrades site again and the following link will take you to a page on the site which describes the down run in detail.

The link is:-

Still looking for other helpful info.
03/01/2003 at 16:38
I haven't done the Comrades marathon but I have done London to Brighton (54 miles). The training programme I followed was on the Road Runners Club website
I finished in 9:13:57. I found the first 30 miles were OK - not much worse than a marathon - but then I was still knackered with 24 to go! Anyway, after 40 miles it doesn't get any worse and its just a question of keeping going. I would suggest trying a 'short' ultra first such as the Dartmoor Discovery (34m) or the Two Bridges (36m).
03/01/2003 at 16:51
oops, lets try that again.

03/01/2003 at 19:16

Having lived for years in both of the start and end cities I have probably run every part of the route, but have never entered the race. To answer an earlier question, no, there are absolutely no flat bits whatsover, none, zilch, nil.

Being a sad git I subscribe to the SA Runner's World. They have a very excellent training programme in it specifically for Comrades, much the same as our FLM one. It really is a highly recommended programme, most Comrades novices swear by it. If you want to e-mail me your address (I'll go and check my profile to see if I'm e-mailable) I will very happily post you a copy of the programme each month when it comes out. I have just received the Jan edition, which is where the programme starts, so you wouldn't be behind.

11/01/2003 at 09:31
thanks for your advice - I have in my
mind doing the Compton Downland Challenge
which is at the End of March. It comes
in two "flavours" 20 and 40 miles. I've
done the 20miler before, and there's a
decision point at 19.5 miles, so it seems like a good choice. It's also quite undulating, so if I do the 40 miles then, I think I should be well placed to increase to 50+ by the middle of June.

Thanks also for the London to Brighton website, it looks really useful. I think this weekend should be my time to sit down and re-view my schedule for the next few weeks. I'm also interested to see what Ratcatcher's schedule looks like, so I may end up with a hybrid.
11/01/2003 at 13:23
Good luck to anyone who is doing the Comrades Marathon, its on my list of 'like to do's'.

Anyway, i was reading the posts on run/walk strategy's and wondering do all participants use this method, or is it possible to run this distance without stopping?
11/01/2003 at 14:46
Hi Mr Silly,
welllll......the winner last year was
Vladamir Kotov of Belarus, who shot across the line in a mere 5:30:49! My guess is,
that at an estimated average pace of 5.9 minute miles he didn't follow the run/walk method! Quite incredible isn't it? I couldn't do that pace for 1 mile, let alone 56 hilly ones! The winning ladies time was 6 hour 14 - again pretty impressive

Me? I think the run/walk approach sounds admirable, and beating the 12 hour cut-off will be sufficient!
11/01/2003 at 17:34
Hi Everybody

I am looking to do the comrades marathon in 2004,this gives me just over a
year to get my running together. i havnt run since london 97 and have set myself
(maybe foolishly,lol) this goal.does anyone know of any running clubs /agents who organise
trips. I know steve cram,s coco charity does it,but i would rather raise money for a local charity
near home.

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