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Marathon #100 Preview - Comrades Marathon (2012/06/02)

Pictured: Comrades House (Comrades Museum) in Pietermartizburg (PMZ)

Social Networking sites:
Another great site is "North Americans Run Comrades" group on facebook.

Recommended Hotel
Durban Hilton

Bonitas-Comrades Expo
Thu 5/31, 9am-7pm
Fri 6/1, 9am-7pm
Sat 6/2, 9am-5pm

Live TV Coverage
Sun 6/3, 5:10am on SABC (national live coverage for the entirety of the race!!!)

Bus Tour
Today, the day before the race, we took the Course Preview Tour Bus from 8am on Sat. We made a stop at Comrades House (Museum). Lunch is provided along with a bottle of Energade.

90K Pietermartizburg
82K Polly Shorts, 732m
78K Ashburton, 671m
Highest Point, 824m
64K Camperdown, 732m
59K Cato Ridge, 732m
50K Bayat's Store, 704m
Inchanga Hill, 762m
Halfway Drummond, 640m
39K Botha's Hill Hotel, 747m
31K Winston Park, 616m
22K Field's Hill, 518m
17K Cowies Hill, 366m
14K Westville Shopping Centre, 229m
8K 45th & Cutting, 152m
Finish Durban, Sea Level

Runner Tracker
My bib #: 17100 (C corral, for sub-3:40 marathoners)
For South African mobile phones only: Text the runner's bib # (race number) to 38132. It costs R10. One race number per SMS. You will receive 5 SMS messages with your runner's splits.

6 official charities
The Community Chest - support 145 welfare and development societies,
PinkDrive - breast cancer awareness,
Sports Trust - invests in 5 schools to promote sport and running,
Starfish - supports children orphaned and/or made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS in South Africa,
Wildlands - establishes "green jobs", restores ecosystems, supports conservation and protection of biodiversity,
World Vision - tackles root causes of poverty and injustice that affect children in South Africa,

87th Comrades, race started in 1921, women allowed to run in 1976
2011 Starters: South Africans 11,818 / Rest of Africa 146 / International 684 / Total 12,648
2011 Finishers: South Africans 10,290 (87.1%) / Rest of Africa 122 (83.6%) / International 642 (93.9%) / Total 11,054 (87.4%)
2011 Novice Starters: South Africans 2,143 / Rest of Africa 56 / International 417 / Total 2,616
2011 Novice Finishers: South Africans 1,820 (84.9%) / Rest of Africa 46 (82.1%) / International 400 (95.9%) / Total 2,266 (86.6%)
2012 International Runner Entrants: 1,378 (Male 1,043 / Female 335) / UK 238 / USA 236 / Australia 185 / Brazil 122 / Zimbabwe 76 / Germany 56 / Lesotho 37 / Canada 35 / Japan 35 / Namibia 34 / India 31 / Switzerland 25 / UAE 22 / Botswana 20 / 66 countries / China 0

500 runners end up at the medical tent.
Only 1.5% of the field runs a negative split (called a "positive" split).

Course Records
Down: 2007 - Leonid Shvetsov, 5:20:49 / 1989 - Frith Van Der Merwe, 5:54:47
Up: 2008 - Leonid Shvetsov, 5:24:47 / 2006 - Elena Nurgalieva, 6:09:24
Most Wins - Bruce Fordyce, 9
Longest Gap between 1st & Last Wins - Wally Hayward, 1930 & 1954, 24 years (5 time Winner: 1930, 1950, 1951, 1953, & 1954)
Notable Americans - 1994 Winner Alberto Salazar (winner of Boston & NYC multiple times), 5:38:39 Up / Ann Trason 1996 Up & 1997 Down

2012 Notable Runners
Stephen Muzhingi (Winner 2009-2011, 5:32:46 Up in 2011)
Leonid Shvetsov (Winner 2007-2008, Up & Down Course Record Holder)
Elena Nurgalieva (Winner 2011, 6:24:11 Up, 9 finishes, 6 Wins in 2003-2004, 2006, 2008, 2010-2011, Up & Down Course Record Holder)
Olesya Nurgalieva (2nd place 2011, 6:24:36 Up, Winner 2007 & 2009)
Kami Semick
Zola Budd
Michael Wardian
Marshall Ulrich

Race Day
Breakfast at the Durban Hilton begins at 12:30am. We had to board our buses between 2am & 2:30am.

The race began at 5:30am at the City Hall of PMZ. The finish line cutoff is 5:30pm at The Sahara-Kingsmead Cricket Stadium in Durban, 89.28K (56mi) away. The "down run" is longer than the "up run".

There are 8 corrals ("seeding batches"), letters A to H.

Race Day Schedule
5:30am Comrades Marathon start
10:40am (5hr 10mins) Cut-off at Cato Ridge
10:55am (5hr 25mins) Expected arrival of Male winner
10:25am (5hr 55mins) Expected arrival of Female winner
11:30am (6hr) Wally Hayward Medal cut-off at finish
11:40am (6hr 10mins) Halfway cut-off
1pm (7hr 30mins) Silver Medal cut-off at finish
1:30pm (8hr) Prize-Giving Ceremony (Awards Ceremony)
2pm (8hr 30mins) Cut-off at Winston Park On-Ramp
2:30pm (9hr) Bill Rowan Medal cut-off at finish
3:30pm (10hr) Cut-off at St. Johns Avenue Pinetown
4:30pm (11hr) Bronze Medal cut-off at finish
4:50pm (11hr 20mins) Cut-off at 45th Cutting - Sherwood
5:30pm (12hr) Last Gun: Race Ends
5:35pm Closing Ceremony

The "mile" markers were in KM to go, not KM run so far.

Aid Stations
47 aid stations (table refreshment stations). They contain some combination of Energade, water, Pepsi, chocolate, oranges, bananas, potatoes, biscuits, vaseline, Amica Ice, Mageu Number 1, Mega Load (our tour bus guide warned us this is nasty, it's commonly eaten by the Blacks [term used by the guide] in South Africa), among other treats. Drinks are served in "sachets".

The 1st aid station doesn't appear until 4.8km, and the last one is at 86.2km (2.8km to the Finish). Most have its own corporate sponsor. The tables are 600m long, and are on avg 1.8km apart, with the closest being 1km apart, and the longest being 2.7km apart. There is aid everywhere! There were portable toilets are every station.

Reebok finisher's jackets are given only to those who finish the race in Reebok running sneakers. The race shirt given at the Expo is by Reebok, as is the hat given to the 1st 16,000 registrants.

NED Bank is a major sponsor, and sponsors many of the elite athletes. If you wear a non-NED Bank or official Comrades hat, are the only official branded head gear you are allowed to wear. The race marshals may ask you to remove it while on the course.

Bib must be worn on both the front and back of your jersey, not your shorts.

Drop Bags are called Tog Bags.

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