Comrades 2013

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

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24/07/2012 at 15:53

Hi Possum Hopper. You can book transport back to Durban from the finish...there are options at the expo when you collect your race packs and people are very friendly in helping each other out with transport. The buses are human pace setters (e.g. someone you can run around with to do say 10hrs 30mins). These are available right up to just below 12 hours. There is plenty of water and Poweraid (just like the UK drink). These are in small plastic pouches you have to bite with your teeth to make holes. There are also large water troughs for your own bottle and biscuits on some stations. The stations are every few kilometers + plenty of supporters handing out salted oranges. It all works well....just remember to eat something along the way....or it becomes a tougher race :0) If you can do can do 56!!!

24/07/2012 at 15:54

Hey Warren. That is pretty impressive. Congraulations

24/07/2012 at 18:26

Hi Possum Hopper,

You are a bit faster than me (my pb is just under 4h and on  a v. flat course) but it's not that big a deal where you start. As Carmen can tell you (having trundled past me every year ).

As STFC said you don't really need to carry food & drink. Maybe a water bottle at the start, as the first few aid stations are a bit mad. But bear in mind there are no portaloos IN the start pens (where you'll be spending 30 mins to an hour). So keep it for if you're thirsty - don't end up like me with cross eyes in the start pen and searching desperately for the loo in the first few miles!

All the aid stations - which are less than 2 miles apart on average - have water and Energade (not Powerade iirc) in the biteable sachets. (Don't squirt the former on you to cool down, it's sticky!). They give out free Energade in the international athlete's corral at the expo so you can try it ahead of time.

Also there are little cups of cola (Pepsi I think).

On the later stations (half way ish and onwards) food starts to appear. Orange segments (not salted!) - sadly I find these don't agree with me when running though they are yummy. Salted boiled potatoes - om nom - and bananas, and biscuits. It's easy to blag other stuff off the spectators and there are "unofficial" aid stations too (e.g. iirc sandwiches, and salt on its own). I could not find lemonade or barley water for love nor money but did manage to sneak a swig of beer off one chap

Don't dip your water bottle in the troughs - not hygienic - they are for dipping sponges etc in. Lumps of ice are also given out - can be stuck inside lycra gear to cool you down (worth the slight chafing that may result).

Definitely worth experimenting with which of the above you can eat on a (Comrades pace, much slower!!) run. Sickness gets lots of people (inc. me in 2011, v. grim). It is way way different from a marathon, apart from that thing of the first one being a big learning experience.

For each headline time there are several buses. I seem to recall at least 3 for 11 hours. But the thing is that you will have good patches and bad patches and trying to keep up with a bus in a bad patch, or wasting time slowing down to stay with one in a good patch when you could comfortably go a wee bit faster, well, neither is ideal. Better to use them as indicators and not worry too much about them unless you find the last 12 hour bus at your heels!! Remember they are "driven" by humans too, and are not foolproof.


Best of luck. It is a compelling event and a great challenge. I had a lousy time for some of my first (the middle 30k was fun, mind!) and still came back for the down run the next year. Down run much easier if you like downhills - which I do!


24/07/2012 at 20:03
Bike It wrote (see)

...I thought it was the next Comrades that was always the most difficult...

Hahaha - Bikeit, you're right the most difficult is your next one...

24/07/2012 at 20:09

Possum Hopper (and anyone else) - as Fido has already said - DO NOT DRINK THE WATER IN THE TROUGH - it is for sponging and not drinking.  It will be obvious enough if try to drink it...

24/07/2012 at 20:11

I've had plenty of salted potatoes but never salted oranges...

24/07/2012 at 23:16

I have had salted pickled cucumbers in a race, in Helsinki. Very refreshing!

24/07/2012 at 23:17
Salted oranges were one of the spectator giveaways. That first time you have the salted orange...expecting a straight orange an interesting experience :0)
24/07/2012 at 23:26
Fido2Dogs wrote (see)

I have had salted pickled cucumbers in a race, in Helsinki. Very refreshing!

Fido - I remember them well from Helsinki - they were surprisingly nice!

25/07/2012 at 09:13

When I entered Comrades, I had 1 x 1/2 Marathon, 1 x Marathon, 0 x Ultra.

Possum Hopper, just enter for next year and don't worry about if it's an up or down or if you're good enough, you will finish it and you will love it.

25/07/2012 at 09:42

But you're a legend Stevie!

Uploaded both runs to Garmin Connect- I remember you asking. Usual user id. Any probs give me a shout. I've favourited both runs for searching. Second one has no hr data.

Loving the talk-

Edited: 25/07/2012 at 09:42
25/07/2012 at 13:38

Possum Hopper - and September 1st entry date.

I'm in for next year for my Comrades debut, so just mentally commit to the race this year and the rest will follow (sympathies on the achilles front as I'm slowly recovering from niggles on this front too)

I trawled the threads for the last couple of years and the experience of those running varies greatly (from a couple of marathons, like me, to uber experienced ultra marathoners).

25/07/2012 at 16:33

Wow...thanks guys...brilliant stuff there and lots to think about. I will be a woman travelling alone - possibly - so also have that to factor in. My other half is a non runner but he is just the most fantastic support person ever....he does however draw the line at an 11 hour flight to SA to wait hours for me to finish a 


25/07/2012 at 18:09

PH, this year just gone Carmen & myself went out by ourselves and last year Carmen & SloTwin (my OH, like SlowDuck's, went out once, and then said, "Hey, isn't it streamed on the internet?... ").

Basically the journey is

  1. fly out (planes, airports, nothing to worry about there)
  2. shuttle from Durban airport to hotel or hostel (again no worries)
  3. getting from accommodation to Expo for a) Expo b) start of coach tour - walk if close enough (e.g. Hilton or City Lodge) or taxi (about a fiver) from hostel. Hostel/ hotels will call a taxi for you if you ask  (I even got a cafe to do this for me by looking pathetic and asking what the country code for SA was) which is good if, like me, you are unable to muster up the correct pronounciation of where you are going!
  4. Getting from Expo back - as above except the chap (doorman?) outside the Hilton will whistle up a taxi and the Hilton is next door to the Expo
  5. Getting to start of race in Durban. Where you are staying (&/or the other runners staying there) will advise but if needed, yes you can book a taxi to take you to the start at oh-my-god-o'clock in the morning. Our hostel was full of runners and so they just totted up the heads and rang up the taxi company and said, "3 cabs please at 1:30 to take people to where the coaches for PMB leave" (was it really 1:30 Ode? Or does my memory deceive?).
  6. Bus from PMB back to Durban - buy tickets at Expo - I hear it smells interesting! LOL
  7. And I *think* that arrives close enough to the Hilton for (see 4) to then apply
  8. Shuttle bus can be booked to pick you up from accommodation to take you to airport (this, I rang up and did myself, go me!, but the hostel would have helped out otherwise I'm sure).
  9. The hotel I stayed in last year (Durban City Lodge) and the hostel this year (Gibela's) were both secure. The hostel showed me on a map where things were and said where it was OK to walk at what times, so I went out shopping in various directions for food and a SIM card, and went down to the beach to meet people on Monday.

Basically although I am a timid traveller and like places like... Japan... the Netherlands... Switzerland.... you get the drift - the trip for Comrades need not be anything a lone lady has to worry about.

25/07/2012 at 18:32

Fido ... I get this sneaking suspicion that all this time on the Forum means number 3 is on the cards!!??    and I dont mean third dog.

Welcome to the newbies ... wont repeat what the others have put on here, except its a fantastic experience and extremely addictive.

In Baku at the moment, different but have managed to get out running a few times but its very hot.

26/07/2012 at 14:02

Peter: Not this year. That way you end up on the green number trail, and eight years is a significant proportion of the rest of my life! But perhaps coming back for one of the big-number anniversary runs though.


26/07/2012 at 22:06

Slow comeback from dodgy knee continues. Right now running next year seems a long way off seeing as the knee seems to not want to go further than about 14 miles. Still, I am trying to convince myself that running at 7:45 a mile for 6 hours and 59 minutes up a lot of hills is a realistic ambition for 2013. 

Running in this heat has been quite a change. I have even managed to scare the locals by running without a shirt for the last few days. 

06/08/2012 at 12:47

Who's had their badges in the post yet? I recall one of us... haven't had mine & was wondering whether to pipe up yet.

06/08/2012 at 13:39
Nope nothing for me. As a first timer supposedly should get one automatically but I did send an email too. Might have to send another........
06/08/2012 at 14:17

No I haven't had mine.  I'm waiting for the results booklet and it is supposed to be included in that.  I haven't sent any specific email

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