Comrades marathon 2010: I will be there

My last few weeks and months were spent in learning about ultramarathons, reading stuff over the net, getting some good books to understand what makes a runner go from running marathons to distances beyond that. I deliberated on running the Nov 15th Bangalore ultramarathon, but it really looked difficult to fit in with my other personal commitments.

So, I took the next available option, to run the world’s biggest ultramarathonComrades Marathon, which is an 89KM run on May 30th, 2010 in South Africa.

The Comrades Marathon is the world’s oldest and largest ultramarathon run over a distance of approximately 90 km (55.9 mi) between Pietermaritzburg and Durban. The direction of the race alternates each year between the up run starting from Durban and the down run starting from Pietermaritzburg. About 14,000 runners take part in the ultra every year. 2010 will be a special year on account of the Football World Cup in June, and the entries have been extended to 20,000 runners. It will also be the first time that the down run will be held in two consecutive years, 2009 and 2010.

(Photo courtesy crgdtn)

Finishers in the run receive different kinds of medals based on their positions and finish times as follows:

  • Gold Medals: First 10 men and first 10 women.
  • Wally Hayward Medals (Silver centred medal circled by gold ring) : 11th position to sub 6hrs 00min
  • Silver Medals: 6hrs 00min 01sec to sub 7hrs 30min.
  • Bill Rowan Medals (Bronze centred medal circled by silver ring) : 7hrs 30min to sub 9hrs 00min.
  • Bronze Medals: 9hrs 00min to sub 11hrs 00min.
  • Vic Clapham Medals (Copper Medal): 11hrs 00min to sub 12hrs 00min.
Comrades has an interesting tradition about the race closure after 12 hours, when the finish line is abruptly blocked the moment 12 hours of the run are up, leaving runners coming after that completely unrecognized, as if they were not even present in the run. This makes for quite a sight, as seen on this youtube Comrades countdown video (5 mins).
It is too early to set targets right now, but I have located two good training plans to get things rolling.

I have a request for any runners from India who may be considering running Comrades to get in touch with me. Having a running mate would be double the fun, and would really be additional motivation, and surely I need large doses of both to complete this goal in 2010.
Know more about Comrades marathon history, traditions, and results on the Wikipedia page here.

Interesting videos about Comrades:
Promo video for Comrades 2009 (5 mins)
Essence of Comrades video (10 mins)

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