Fast pace will now make the wallets of Comrades flashers bulge


With the distance of the Comrades changing every year – this year’s route from Durban to Pietermaritzburg, for example, is 85.91 km – organizers have confirmed that it will rather be a lightning-fast average pace that can boost the top athletes’ bank balance.

Cell C has made a prize money of R1 million (R500 000 each) available for the man and woman who can run the fastest average pace in the up race on Sunday.

“Rather than rewarding the record for the fastest time – regardless of the distance – a pace-related performance is now encouraged,” the Comrades Association (CMA) said in a statement on Monday.

According to The Running Mann’s (Stuart Mann) calculator, in 2000 the Russian, Vladimir Kotov, ran the fastest pace ever in the race when he maintained an average pace of 3:43.75 minutes per kilometer.

Bruce Fordyce, the legendary South African long breather is also on the list with his pace of 3:44.71. He achieved this feat in 1988.

Among the female athletes, Gerda Steyn’s winning run in 2019 is the fastest.

The Bothaville native then improved the up-race record time to 5:58:53 and she ran at an average pace of 4:07.99 min.

She will compete again on Sunday morning at the start in Durban.

According to Mqondisi Ngcobo, chairman of the CMA, the new incentive measure fits the Comrades like a good pair of draft sneakers.

“In this way, an attempt is made to encourage our leading men and women in terms of performance, as opposed to an incentive that is purely based on time,” he said.

  • The 97th version of the Comrades marathon – and the 49th up race – starts at 05:30 on Sunday at the Durban City Hall and will officially come to an end 12 hours later at the Scottsville Racecourse in Pietermaritzburg.