Two South African runners took the respective titles at the 90th edition of the Comrades Marathon on Sunday (31 May). The gruelling ultra, which spans 56 miles from Pietermaritzburg to Durban, saw Caroline Wostmann and Gift Kelehe take comprehensive victories; the first time in 23 years that two South Africans have prevailed at the event.
Regarded as one of the toughest ultras in the world, the race began at sea level in the centre of the harbour city of Durban and climbed to an altitude of 650 m at the Cricket Oval in Pietermaritzburg. On the way, a field of almost 22,000 runners encountered 5 major hills, popularly known as the 'Big Five' runners will also pass other landmarks and points of interest.
Kelehe was first to cross the finish line in 5:38:35, almost eight minutes ahead of second placed Mohammed Husein (5:46:14) with Hatiwande Nyamande in third (5:48:19). Kelehe’s victory was made all the sweeter for the fact his brother, Andrew, won the race in 2001.
In the women’s competition, Caroline Wostmann secured a comfortable victory in 6:12:22, with Charne Bosmon and Elena Nurgalieva following in 6:33:24 and 6:40:36 respectively. British runners faired particularly well in the female field, with last year’s winner, Ellie Greenwood sixth in 6:44:03 (a little slower than her 2014 performance) and Joasia Zakrzewski in 7:00:45.
Tom Williams, managing director of parkrun UK, was at the event in support of his wife Helen Williams, who competed in the event. Williams posted a series of live tweets from the race and will be including a round-up in the upcoming @marathontalk