British runner Ellie Greenwood broke the Russian stronghold of Elena and Oleysa Nurglaieva to take top place at the gruelling Comrades Marathon in South Africa. Greenwood, now based in Canada, finished the 55 mile event in 6 hours 18 minutes and 15 seconds and became the first ever British female to win the event.
The Comrades is the oldest ultra in the world having being established in 1921 and attracts up to 18,000 runners per year. Competitors are given a 12 hour cut-off for a course that follows the undulating roads in the KwaZulu Natal region of South Africa.
The Russian twins Elena and Oleysa Nurglaieva, had won the previous 10 races and were the clear favourites once again. Greenwood, however, overtook both runners in the closing miles to secure victory. No stranger to the ultra-marathon scene, Greenwood completed the 100 mile Western States Endurance Run in 2011, breaking an 18-year-old course record in the process.
Despite admitting she had a 'pretty terrible race', Greenwood recently posted on her Facebook page: “A dream I never dared dream became a reality today!” Fellow Brit Jo Meet secured fifth place while Zola Budd, who competed for Great Britain in the 1984 Olympic Games, was an impressive seventh. Now 48, Budd finished in 6:55:55. South African runner Bongmusa Mthembu took first overall, coming home in 5:28:34.