Road, Ultra (89K), point to point
Two courses – Up run (Durban to Pietermaritzburg) and Down run (Pietermaritzburg to Durban) – generally alternate year on year. Both hilly. There is a strict 12 hour cut-off and other intermediate cut-offs on route.
Big, busy but special arrangements for International runner’s bib pick-up and refreshments.
Start Line / Aid Stations
The start line in Pietermaritzburg especially can be cold. Buses leave Durban early (2-3 am) to get there ahead of road closures. Take warm clothes and something to sit on. Its better to drop bag off day before at the expo. It will be waiting for you at the finish. Remember to put warm clothes in for after the race. Only toilet facilities so take snacks drinks etc. to keep you going until the 5:30 am start time. Aid stations are frequent (2K) and brilliant. Iced water and sports drinks in polythene packs, plenty of food later on – salted potatoes and oranges, dry sweet biscuits, gels and a whole host of other stuff. Plenty of medical provision and massage facilities too.
Smallest medal ever but one you will definitely want to keep. Good quality t-shirt and string goody bag containing Comrades cap and other goodies.
Accommodation, in general, is good value. Many runners choose to stay in the hotels on the coast – walking distance to start/finish/expo and buses. For the Down run some book accommodation up in Pietermaritzburg for the night to avoid a very early start. This is limited so needs to be done well in advance and comes with its own logistical problems. We have stayed at The Hilton and Belle Aires Suites.
Again food and drink tends to be good value and good quality. The Butcher Boys on Florida Road is a runners favourite but not for vegetarians! The Mugg and Bean Cafe on North Beach is another hang-out.
This is another bucket list race (or two – you have to complete the Up and Down run to get your back to back medal and truly have run Comrades). A qualifying race of 4hour 50min must be run within a stated time window from August to May. This can be done after entry.
Embrace the whole experience. Link up with other runners and make friends for life. Take part in one of the nearby parkruns on Saturday morning. Learn the words to the Shosholoza so you can join in the singing at the start. You are in for an amazing time.