Bike It

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Comrades 2015

Posted: 24/06/2014 at 14:37
Zuluboy - Chester marathon has been used as a qualifier by others recently. It's actually not a problem for any international to nominate pretty much any marathon.

Comrades 2015

Posted: 21/06/2014 at 11:47

Sounds like you have a good pedigree Zuluboy.  Sounds like your engine is pretty powerful if you've been elite cycling.  It shouldn't be too difficult to channel that into full-on running.  Certainly it sounds like you know the disciple and process of training - just you should become specificities of training to race the up run over 54 miles of hills and heat.


Comrades 2015

Posted: 11/06/2014 at 09:32

I'm in for 2015

I'll be going for my second Bill Rowan medal and third finish.

In 2013 I was in great shape for a Bill Rowan.  I got tonsillitis 42 hours before the start and spent most of the preceding hours in bed.  I was helped by a doctor with 8 finishes to get to the start. I was still ill when the gun fired and not sure if I could even get to the first cut-off.   The last 5 hours were the hardest run of my life in the 32C heat and 20mph headwind.  The inevitable collapse came at 4km to go and I had to walk home for 9:23. 

I just have to find out of I'll be an international runner or a local runner.  I have a first interview for a job in Durban tomorrow.

Comrades 2014

Posted: 27/05/2014 at 07:26

Stay upright

1) There is a lot of runners set off too fast and there can be a few collisions in the km, particularly on the downhill out of PMB

2) Watch out for runners discarding clothes as these get snapped up and spectators often run out in the road to get them

3) The cats eyes at the road lines are raised strips of aluminium - avoid at all costs!

My cooling strategy at Comrades:

At the aid station grab 2 sachets of water or 1 water, 1 sports drink.  Drink one (if its water throw the rest of it over your head) open the water and throw that over your head progressively.  Can cause chaffing though! If you are carrying your phone then you need a waterproof plastic bag (see below)


Packing list:

remember the plasters gentlemen!

sun cream

race hat from the runners pack

sunglasses for the second half perched on top of cap for first half

pick-up a zip-lock bag at departures for your phone if you are carrying that with you

timing chip from previous years

Comrades 2014

Posted: 24/05/2014 at 22:04

6)      After

Congratulations you are a Comrades finisher.  I hope you got what you deserved. If you came in just before (or after a cutoff) you will see a man with a gun.  He’s not there to end your suffering though.  Keep going and you will receive your medal, flower and ‘finish time card’ (which proves you finished at a certain time).  Collect your back-2-back medal if eligible.  Keep going left and you will come to the international athlete’s area. Chat to your fellow athletes, enjoy and bask in the glory of a Comrades finish.

Comrades 2014

Posted: 24/05/2014 at 21:58

5)      Bottom of Fields to Kingsmead Stadium - 21km to 0km to go (21km)

If you paced it right then you will discover that Comrades doesn’t start at 5:30 but in the last miles and if you paced it well this section is very hard due to the accumulated miles, hills and the rising heat.  Now is the time to be very tough and push on as best you can.  The grass of the stadium is soft, the finish awesome, you will feel like you won the Olympics and they have beer – you just need to get there.  At the bottom of Fields you turn left under the bridge and then start going up for a short distance – it’s hard with so much fatigue in the legs. Keep going as soon the gentle down starts again.  This section takes you to the foot of Cowies and is gentle down or flat after the initial rise under the bridge.  Cowies starts at 18km to go and is moderate, but at this stage of the game you may need to walk at least a bit (the TV camera at the top may catch you though).  Thankfully it is short.  The Durban side of Cowies is a moderate and runnable.  Again be tough – you are getting closer to the finish.  You are still progressing down and you will mostly be running on a motorway after Cowies before reaching Durban – in this section there is no crowd support when you need it most.  (Also somewhere there is the wicked up on a motorway off-ramp to run up). At 8km to go you reach 45th Cutting.  It is a small hill, but very, very tough at this stage of the game.  Progress as best you can – thankfully it is short.  There follows a little more gentle downhill until you reach Tollgate which has an uphill section too – again very hard.  Thankfully there is an aid station here so refresh yourself as much as possible for the final push.  It is really downhill or flat to the finish now and there are 5km to go and you can see the Hilton and Stadium lights.  You will be on an elevated section of motorway for some of it and then you hit the streets of Durban with about 3km to go.  Strangely there is only modest crowd support as they are all at Kingsmead.  There is no major obstacle now, just push on and enjoy the final moments as you will soon become a Comrades finisher.  In fact, if time allows, I may take a short walk break so that I feel refreshed and can enjoy the finish. You will now enter the last km with the Expo on your left then pass the Hilton on your right.  It is a straight road and you can see to the stadium.  Enjoy it as it has been a long journey to get to this point. Just before the stadium, you turn right, left and then left again in short succession. Then you turn to the right to enter the stadium through a gate and then under a covered area. You then run anticlockwise on 3 straights around the grass in the stadium.  Now is the time to start celebrating and appreciate the last moments – but note that it is bad form to walk on the grass unless after the final cut-off (collapsing or vomiting is OK though). The first section lasts about 50m and there are spectators on the right. Turn left onto a 100m straight.  The international area is on your left where your friend/family will/should be. Turn left again for about 30m to the finish line.  Celebrate - you have completed the world’s greatest race.


Comrades 2014

Posted: 24/05/2014 at 21:56


3)      Foot of Inchanga to Bothas Hill Village – 50km to 39km (11km)

At this point you will start to see why it is absolutely necessary to take the first 2 sections very easy and conserve your resources.  This section is very hard with high gradients up and down.  At the end of this section you will probably be in a much different state to when you entered it.  Firstly is the around 2km climb of Inchanga, be moderate in your pace.  I also take a walk break halfway up.  Next is the 2km downhill of Inchanga.  Once you crest Inchanga and go a little way down you can see the radio mast at Alverstone, which is where you are going.  It is intimidating to see all the down you have to do and then all the up you still go to do.  Inchanga downhill has steeper sections and these can get your quads so take it easy and walk if it gets too steep for you – you still have a lot of downhill running to do so conserve the quads.  The road will flatten and you will see the Drummond sign and look at your watch and celebrate halfway.  Except that it is another 800m up the road and marked by an arch and the celebration was premature.  Recover a bit as you run through Drummond.  Then you will start to climb up to Bothas Hill Village and there will be 3 distinct sections up and 2 sections down.  The first hill after Drummond is very steep initially so walk if you need to.  As you climb see the Wall of Honour on your left and then the hopefully you could get a flower to deposit at Arthur’s Seat on the right.  Keep climbing as best you can all the way up to Botha’s Hill Village, and walk if you need to.  The last 11km may have extremely fatigued you.  If you are running for a particular medal, then this is the point from which you need to push on.  There are few aid stations in this section due to logistics so grab ample supplies at each one.  In particular, Bothas Hill Village has a very long aid station so grab things here to try to recover

4)      Bothas Hill Village to Bottom of Fields - 39 to 21km to go (18km)

Now you have a good opportunity.  From Bothas Hill Village to the top of Field there is some nice gentle downhill running of 15km (I will take a walk break halfway through this 15km).  Bothas hill is not that steep and can be run down.  However, at Bothas Hill village you may be extremely fatigued so if you need take the first few km easy before trying to get to a good pace. Probably your splits are getting a bit slower now, but be tough and keep going.  If you are going for a performance or particular medal then be tough here. At the top of Fields hill there are 2 bridges going across in short succession.  From the second bridge the downhill gets steep – go very easy here as otherwise you will destroy your quads.  In fact I will take 2 walk breaks on Fields.  Also the camber is wicked (probably you didn’t notice on the up) and also the ‘cats eyes’ are very high so avoid the lines particularly here.  Again Field Hill can be very fatiguing.  Fields lasts about 3km and at the bottom your legs will be sore and your fatigue level high.

Comrades 2014

Posted: 24/05/2014 at 21:55

Here is a link to my full down run route description:

and here I'll post it part-by-part:

I divide the route into 5 sections as follows:

1)      The PMB Town Hall to High Point (Umlass Road) – 89 to70km to go (19 km)

You start downhill of about a 1.5km.  Concentrate on staying upright and getting space.  After that there is a gentle climb of 7km.  When the climb starts be running at a very gentle pace.  You run though urban and industrial streets and it is dark. You arrive at the top of Pollys.  Instead of being the formidable barrier separating you and the finish in the UP, it is a tempting 1.8km downhill.  Take it easy and do not be tempted to race down, unless you have prepared for hard downhill running and are going for Silver.  Personally I take my first walk break to conserve the quads.  The sun will be rising now and you can see Little Pollys.  Take the up and down of Little Pollys easy and progress easily.  For now you start the gentle uphill running to the High Point.  It is all runnable and there are only a few steeper sections prior past the chicken farm on the right and just before the High Point.  I take my second walk break just before HP.  The end of this section is marked by an innocuous sign on the right hand side in the sugar cane.

2)      High Point to the foot of Inchanga – 70 to 50km to go (20km)

Now you have you first good opportunity of some nice clean running.  Generally the gradients are modest except at a few points after Camperdown.  Firstly after the High Point you have a nice downhill which is very runnable and you can bank a bit of time – just not too much.  From the HP run 6km to Camperdown.  This is the first point where the support will be fantastic – soak it up. It is around another 5km before you reach Cato Ridge.  The road in this part is undulating and there are a few steeper sections but they are short and generally you can progress at a reasonable pace.  Again at Cato Ridge you would get good crowd support.  After Cato Ridge there is a bit of a hill, but it is reasonable and then you run the long but gentle uphill of Harrison Flats.  In this part you would have to slow down a bit.  In Harrison Flats there is a huge industrial unit on the left and then about 500m after that the road begins to go gently down again for 5km – again you can speed up a little bit, but take it easy as you need to conserve yourself for the next section.  In this 5km section you will come across Etembeni School for disabled kids.  It is heart-warming to see these kids and I high-5 as many as possible.  In this section I’ve taken 2 walking breaks at 6mile intervals.

Comrades 2014

Posted: 24/05/2014 at 10:17
I'll repost the down run route description later when I'm back home

Comrades 2014

Posted: 23/05/2014 at 07:50

Morning All,

Sorry I could not make it to the start this year.  Periostitis (that I got at Comrades 2013) re-occurred and I'm in a protracted rest at the moment.  Which coincides with unemployment as I lost my job in March and its a bit difficult to justify spending so much to go to SA even if I could run.

I'll try and follow on-line and by the streaming broadcast on the day.  I sure there will be tears as you sing Shozoloza and that cannon fires.

Happy running all

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