Comrades 2013

For all Comrades, south Africa 2013 runners & those wanting to know more

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13/09/2012 at 13:30

Possum - 3.51 should see you well clear of the 12 hr bus but other than that I think you are right to forget about times. I spent quite a lot of time thinking about that, but until you actually get there and see what its like its all a bit irrelevant - and there is a risk that trying too hard is what actually makes it all go wrong...

SD / anyone - I think I read that a few people used Malta as a qualifier last year, but I've just stumbled across the fact that its not an IAAF course. And it seems that quite a few of the smaller marathons might not be either.... I heard that Comrades are only likely to check people wanting fast seeds ( A or B ?) but is there a meaningful risk that could be a problem ? Most of us are probably running a few, but it might be worth making sure one is IAAF - which would be most of the bigger events.

13/09/2012 at 13:52

I think the Comrades people are fine so long as your course is certified in whatever country the race takes place in. I just sent in my time from Lochaber, which is a real small town race, and got my A seed. Don't know if they would check that your name popped up with some other similar times on a basic search?

We spent a couple of days in Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park before last years race. Hilltop was a very pleasant camp (thought the buffet might was better than the usual food) and it is easy to get around in a rental car, but you might get a bit bored over 4 days with the same range of animals. St Lucia was a good place nearby to see hippos. I went up to Royal Natal Park in the northern Drakensberg after the race, stunning scenery and a good place to recuperate!

13/09/2012 at 14:34

PH - 3:51 PB and you're worrying about the 12 hour bus?!!! You'd have to have a bad day (admittedly, quite possible - really it's true that you don't know what to expect until after you've run Comrades) to miss the 11 hour cutoff!!

13/09/2012 at 15:24

Fido - it's just fear of the unknown really.....never run over 30 miles and 56 such a big old step. I think I'd be more worried if I wasn't worried.....even now I get pangs of anxiety before a marathon and that's not a bad thing in my mind.

Running so many marathions I've kind of got 'comfy' and I know I will finish even if I crawl....unless I fall in a hole or something, and whilst some have had a cut off it's just the thought of all the training, the expense, the expectation of Comrades...and I have told any poor git who will listen that I have entered so lots of extra pressure on this run for lots of completely different reasons.

Having said all DEAD excited about the challenge ahead.  

13/09/2012 at 19:14

Kevin - I think the CMA are pretty relaxed regarding the IAAF stuff for Internationals - I would just run whatever races that suit your training schedule and not worry too much about it - and remember that on the up run the seeding is not as important as it is for the the roads at the start are much wider...

PossumH - just to set your mind at rest - when the cut-off was 11 hours you needed to run a 4:30 marathon to qualify - so with a 3:51 you should be thinking about a safe bronze (sub-11) medal.

13/09/2012 at 19:18

@PH I ran my first comrades last year on a 3h56 qualifier and finished in 10h41. I took a conservative approach having a fear of the big unknown. Your experience should carry you to a bronze safely, barring any unexpected catastrophe.


13/09/2012 at 20:35

PH - Another one here who can tell you that a 3:51 should be plenty good enough for a safe bronze. I had a 4:05 PB in 2003 and ran 10:33.

13/09/2012 at 21:02
Trawling back though notes I had scrawled from previous years forums (sad I know) I saw something about running to half-way in a slow marathon time (PB + 45 mins maybe) and then same again plus one hour for the 2nd half.

I like the simplicity of this rule of thumb but wondered if it is realistic.

What I would to know from, vets of the up run especially, is this too quick a pace as does seem quick to me with CFB hills all in the first half.

Guessing this may depend on how many of the hills you run vs walk ?

PH - Well put, you sum up why we all want to run - to reach out of the comfort zone and challenge yourself again.
14/09/2012 at 09:53

Stevan - I think MP +90s to +120s is typical for Comrades over the whole distance.

The terrain of Comrades is so complex that it makes the discussion of pacing difficult.  I expect people to take walk breaks and there are uphills and downhill.  In general I would advise to pace to a level of effort - run the flats and downhills and walk parts of the hills.  In a marathon runners think on maximising pace to the finish.  In Comrades I think it is better to think about minimising the deption of resources - minimise fatigue, retain energy/fluid/salts, include recovery - for at least the first half.

I think the paces you mention are a typical outcome of the pace for many runners - the fatigue builds up which reduces the pace you can run in the second half.  I don't think many people intend to run that schedule as a plan.  I would really recommend running in a smart way in the first half to conserve resources and to minimise the accumulation of fatigue.  The pace you can manage in the second half depends when and by how much the level of fatigue starts to impact your pace.

Of course good training for both endurance and strength would delay the onset of fatigue.

I recommend you look at and then 'Lindsay Weight - How to run Comrades' which downloads a word document.


14/09/2012 at 12:13

More great stuff....thx v. much.

Have ordered a copy of How to make sure of your Comrades medal - from relloes in SA. 

14/09/2012 at 13:52

Likewise - thanks Bike It.

14/09/2012 at 14:08

Just one thing Bike It - where is the Lindsay Weight article (did a quick search but can't find it) ?

I've seen the alsoranrunners website before - very good source of info.

14/09/2012 at 14:12

Thanks SD. I'm no longer worried about the seeding for start pen purposes, as a C was absolutely fine. However, for both fitness and psychological reasons I think I have convinced myself that I would need a base PB of sub 3.20 in order to have a good chance of getting a BR. I know the stats don't necessarily agree with that, but thats my gut feel of 'me' and my generally flat land training....  So I'm going to delay entering Comrades as long as possible and see whether I can get my marathon time heading in the right direction. I need about a 20 minute improvement, so lots of work to do - I better put the beer down and go for a run...

Bike it - That article would be very comforting. If I was a woman....

14/09/2012 at 14:28

Stevan - you can download that file directly through the following link:

Kevin - my second half was longer than the first by 15m50s, which is curiously close to the typical woman's additional second half time


14/09/2012 at 14:36

Great resources above - thanks for the links.

A couple of naieve questions:

  1. what kind of shoes do most people wear for Comrades?  I assume a bit more cushioning is needed than for a standard mara?  I currently use Adidas Boston 3 for training (which is at the low end of cushioning) and Adidas Adizero 2 for racing (I'm 65 kg, neutral shoe (thanks to orthotics) and a fairly efficient runner).  I'd love to think I can use one of those but instinct tells me that would be wrong
  2. most of the pictures I've seen show the runners running without a pack - is that right?  Are the feed stations that good/regular?

Fingers crossed going to use Berlin in a couple of weeks as my qualifier and hoping for an 'A' seeding - however I've never gone further than marathon distance before (yet anyway) so an 'A' seeding even if achieved may not translate into anything meaningful!

14/09/2012 at 15:36


1) re shoes, I didn't really notice. 

2) The tables are very frequent, around every 2m or 3km.  They've got water, sport drink and pepsi as well as some food - salted potato, sweets, biscuits, sandwiches, oranges.  I think they would be adequate unless you want anything very specific.  Hardly anyone carries a pack.  You would need to take your own gels

It's no problem to go further than marathon distance once you've accepted you need to slow down to cover the extra distance.  Accepting walking breaks are a plan for success is also necessary.

14/09/2012 at 15:58
Thanks Bike It. Really helpful as now no longer need to worry about fuelling logistics.

As my training runs get longer I'll get to know what level of cushioning I need i suspect and will also experiment with run/walk.

14/09/2012 at 17:21

baljc .. last year a South African ran past several of us wearing golf shoes, spikes and all!!  I just use my normal marathon shoes .. everywhere hurts by the time you start to wonder whats what!

Went to physio again this morning .. another 4 weeks off running aaarrrggghhh but at least there has been an improvement.  Tendon in the hamstring has gone ... frustrating but at other niggles are healing too so I can start training (hopefully) for Comrades at the end of this month fully fit.  In the meantime its lots of cycling for me to keep my fitness levels at a reasonable level.

14/09/2012 at 17:38

Dear Lord!!!  Right I'll 'man up' and quit worrying!

Hope the rehab goes well Peter - sounds nasty.  Small consolation but at least you can get out on the bike. 

15/09/2012 at 08:36

Morning all

Anyone been able to find confirm entry yet? Not worried but want to be sure my 30 miler has been accepted for pen D so I can have a go for C in mablethorpe (although unlikely)

Bit late now but agree possum you will be good for a bronze. My longest run before 2010 was 35 and ran a 10.23 with a 5hour/5.23 split Marathon pb 3.48

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