The 93rd annual Comrades Marathon is less than a week away, and just as it did before the previous 92 editions of the celebrated ultramarathon, the excitement is building.
This year’s “down” race is set to start at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall at 05:30 on 10 June, and will end 12 hours later at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, which is replacing the Kingsmead Cricket Stadium as the finish venue for the marathon of roughly 89.2 kilometres.
The race, characterised by emotional scenes at its finish line, is always popular among local and international long-distance runners, and after unprecedented demand, Comrades organisers increased the entry cap by 1500 for this year’s edition. This brings the total number of runners taking part to 21,500.
Like every year, there are a few runners with interesting stories to keep your eye on. One such an athlete is Daniel de Wet from Carletonville. After running the Comrades Marathon six times, De Wet was involved in a mining accident in which he was impaled by a 1.8-metre metal industrial crowbar in 2015. The accident happened while De Wet was working 3.5km underground at a mine in Carletonville.
The metal bar entered De Wet’s body through his groin and came out of his back, just below his shoulder blade. While De Wet did suffer significant damage to his small bowel and numerous blood vessels, and also lost a kidney, he will be taking part in his first Comrades Marathon since the accident on 10 June. Keep an eye out for race number 49470.
The 60-year-old Wietsie van der Westhuizen will take part in his 41st consecutive Comrades, and is well on his way to achieving his goal of running 50 consecutive Comrades Marathons. Van der Westhuizen ran his first Comrades when he was a student at the Potchefstroom University in the North West Province, and hasn’t stopped since.
A number of Compressport and On Ambassadors will also be participating in the ultramarathon this year, and we wish the very best of luck to Franco Oosthuizen, Noel Young, Reinhard Otto and Wandisile Nongodlwana – we’ll be watching and cheering you all on from the sidelines!