Comrades Marathon

The official route distance of Sunday, 9 June’s 97th Comrades Marathon from Durban to Pietermaritzburg will be 85.91km. Image: RAJESH JANTILAL/AFP

Comrades Marathon records likely to fall on Sunday: Here’s why

The official route distance of Sunday, 11 June’s 96th Comrades Marathon from Pietermaritzburg to Durban will be 87.701km.

Comrades Marathon

The official route distance of Sunday, 9 June’s 97th Comrades Marathon from Durban to Pietermaritzburg will be 85.91km. Image: RAJESH JANTILAL/AFP

The official route distance of Sunday, 11 June’s 96th Comrades Marathon from Pietermaritzburg to Durban will be 87.701km.

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Upon completion of the official route course measurement conducted by the Comrades Marathon Association’s (CMA) Route Portfolio, Department of Transports Road Traffic Inspectorate and Msunduzi Traffic, CMA Race Director, Rowyn James has confirmed that the official race distance of this year’s Comrades Marathon ‘down’ run will be nearly 2.2km shorter than last year’s 89.885km ‘down’ run.

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In addition, it’s 500m shorter than the previous shortest ‘down’ run in 1973 of 88.2km.

Graphic courtesy of The Running Mann Facebook page

It’s worth adding that the last time that the race had finished at the HollywoodBets Kingsmead venue in 2016, the race distance was 89.208km.

And in that year, South Africa’s David Gatebe set the current ‘down’ run record of 5:18:19.

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Meanwhile, when Frith van der Merwe still holds the women’s best ‘down’ run time of 5:54:43 which she set 34 years ago in in 1989 when the distance was 89.6km.

The difference in distances over the years is mainly as a result of roadworks and varying routes taken on the run out of Pietermaritzburg.

So don’t be surprised to read about new records being set around lunch time on Sunday!

Comrades Marathon cut-off times

As reported by The South African website, organisers have offered R500 000 for a new record in both the men’s and woman’s races this year.

That money is in addition to the R500 000 on offer for the men’s and women’s winners of the race.

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The second and third-place finishers will also have more reason to console themselves in defeat, with their prizes now R250 000 and R180 000, respectively.

On top of that, should the winner be a South African and from the KwaZulu-Natal province, they will be paid an additional R200 000 and R60 000, respectively.

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Meanwhile, James has also confirmed the five cut-off points for this year’s race.

CUT – OFF | RUNNING TIME | TIME OF DAY

Cato Ridge (N3 Subway) | 04:30:00 | 10h00
Drummond (Halfway) | 06:10:00 | 11h40
Winston Park (Caltex Garage) | 08:10:00 | 13h40
Pinetown (St. Johns Avenue Subway) | 9:20:00 | 14h50
Sherwood | 11:00:00 | 16h30

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The 96th Comrades Marathon will be run on Sunday, 11 June 2023, starting at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall at 05:30 and ending 12 hours later at the Hollywoodbets Kingsmead Stadium in Durban.

The race will be the 48th Comrades ‘down’ run.

James advised runners to make their way to the start of the race early saying, “Due to the ongoing N3 roadworks, we ask that all of our athletes make their way to the Pietermaritzburg City Hall early to avoid the traffic congestion and potentially miss the start of the race.”

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