This weekend saw close to 150 athletes from the three biggest athletic clubs in the city finalising their preparation for the 2015 Comrades Marathon, set to take place on Sunday.
Members of Run/Walk for Life, Polokwane Athletics Club (PAC) and Pietersburg Road Runners (PRR) received on Saturday and Sunday their customary goody bags ahead of departing for Durban from where this year’s uphill race will start.
Among those who joined fellow runners during the weekend were some of the city’s best runners this past season as well as long-time achievers who have over the years made an impact on the race.
These athletes are expected to hold high the name of the City of Stars and bring home the medals. All eyes are on master athlete Jane Mudua from PRR who will be running her 11th Comrades.
Last year she finished 12th overall and is hoping for a spot in the top ten this year. Rufus Photo continues to improve his Comrades performance annually and if his fifth position finish in 2014 event is anything to go by fireworks can be expected from him this year. Colinda Potgieter hasn’t missed a single Comrades since she first began and is proud to run her 15th this year.
The blue and yellow colours of PAC will be everywhere with 108 athletes setting off to Durban for the 87,72 km run from Pietermaritzburg. This marks a record number of entries in the club’s history.
Pienas Magashule who has won 17 silver, one Bill Rowan and one bronze medal in previous Comrades marathons, is running his 20th Comrades this year.
Martin Potgieter is taking on the ultimate race for the 14th time and having bagged five bronze medals and seven Vic Clapham (11 to sub 12 hours) medals.
Run/Walk for Life Chairperson Kobie Marais said the club’s 11 athletes who entered have been training hard since the beginning of the year and qualified with excellent times. First time Comrades runner Brenda Bopape said she was encouraged by her team members to enter. Siblings Johan and Laetitia Geldenhuys will be also be running the race together for the first time.
This year will see 22 370 athletes tackle the 87,72 km up run to Pietermaritzburg. Race Director Rowyn James in a recent press release announced that roadwork on the GO!Durban Integrated Rapid Public Transport Network in Josiah Gumede Road (Old Main Road), Pinetown necessitated a slight deviation of the route. The race will start at 05:30 with cut off time at 17:30.