The Comrades Marathon between Pietermaritzburg and Durban in South Africa began as the tribute to South African soldiers who fought in World War I that had died. Since it has gone onto become a race of legends for South African long-distance runners and its popularity in the version of an ultra-
marathon has reached countries from all over the world.
The Comrades Marathon is held each year in the province of KwaZulu-Natal between two cities known as Pietermaritzburg and Durban. This run alternates between a “down” and “up” run from inland to the coast and vice versa. Most people name it the greatest ultra-marathon in the world. The first marathon was held in the year 1921 and with only a 5-year period break that occurred during World War II, this has been an event held annually ever since.
To begin with, women were permitted to run but it was recognized as unofficial. In 1923, when Frances Hayward won she was awarded a silver-tea service and a rose bowl opposed to the Comrades medal. Today the female runners play just as an important role as the male runners do in this 90km marathon.
One of the funniest tales in association to the Comrades Marathon involves Bill Payne one of the South African, Springbok rugby players who arrived at the race wearing rugby boots. On the way, he ate an English breakfast, which was followed by a chicken curry along with a few beers at a Country hotel. He also drank a considerable amount of peach brandy and still finished the race in an outstanding 8th position.
The next day he went onto play a rugby game, but due to the blisters on his feet from the day before he decided to use his running shoes over his rugby boots. The modern legends of this ultra-marathon include the 9-time winner
Bruce Fordyce along with a contingent of various super-runners from Russia along with her prior satellite states.
Planning Information And Travel Tips
For those interested in participating in this legendary race, they should contact the Comrades Marathon Association on their email address at firstname.lastname@example.org or call them on +27 (0)33 897 8650.
How To Get There?
You will need to fly to the King Shaka International Airport in Durban and then hire a car or taxi to get to Pietermaritzburg which is an hour away from Durban if the race is a “down” run. Each 2nd year the race begins from Durban which is the “up” run. The Comrades is an event held every year in either May or June.
The roads along this route are either closed off or marked with detours, which means if you want to be a spectator you need to get close enough to the action early enough along the specified route. If you decide to participate in this truly epic race you need to be aware that it will take up nearly an entire day. Once your race is finished you will probably want to relax by enjoying various scenic destinations available in KwaZulu-Natal. Durban features outstanding beach fronts or enjoys the Midlands Meander which begins near Pietermaritzburg.