I'm doing strength training this time around, and the exercises that Coach Parry suggests. I have also added sauna acclimatization - the research suggests just spending time in the heat will do it, you don't need to exercise. I'm doing that 4-5 times a week (if I had hot yoga close by I'd do it).
As for downhill running, I have a treadmill that goes to a 6% decline, and it downloads routes from the internet and emulates the elevation changes - so I run 8-14 miles of the Comrades route that includes some big downhills.
You'd think with this preparation I'd be better than I am!
Tattoos will be on their way next week. Still have hundreds, so anyone wanting some please pm me. Can be used in local races leading up to Comrades to "out" oneself to others who may be racing too, but you have not yet met.
Safety in SA: my wife and I are ex-SA, and have visited yearly for 20 years. All our family still live there. We are totally comfortable there. BUT, Durban is a place I feel less safe when alone. Last year mid-afternoon my wife was walking from the beachfront to the Hilton and was stopped by a cop, who pointed out the 3 young men waiting for her and her camera across the street. My goal is not to scare anyone, but to advise caution. I think it's fine to walk around in company, I don't advise it alone. for the first timers - rest assured you won't be alone. You'll have people around and with you all the time if you want to. Wear one of our tattoos or patches - someone here will spot you and you'll have a new friend.