Facebook group of Indian runners for Comrades 2010

Few days back, I launched a small initiative (actually, the idea is from my running friend, Aditya) to connect with Indian runners (or runners from India) who might be interested to run the Comrades Marathon on May 30th, 2010. The Comrades Marathon is the world’s oldest and largest ultramarathon run over a distance of approximately 89 km between the capital of the Kwazulu-Natal Province of South Africa, Pietermaritzburg, and the coastal city of Durban. The direction of the race alternates each year between the up run starting from Durban and the down run starting from Pietermaritzburg, 2010 being the “down run“.

Event website: http://www.comrades.com/

About 12-14,000 runners run the 89 KM run most of the years. 2000 was a special year and saw 24,000 participants running the 89K. That’s right, not the fun runs, not half marathon, not the 42K marathon, all 24,000 running the 89K. Year 2010 is the 85 anniversary of the run, and falls on May 30th, just before the Football World Cup kicks off in South Africa. 20,000 runners are expected to take part with increased quota.  The race has a 12 hour cutoff (with intermediate cutoffs too) in which you either finish the race, or you are royally escorted out, in a pickup bus!

As part of my learning about Comrades, I went through all the results pages from 1921 to 2009, that’s right, each and every results page, searching for runners (or rather finishers) from India. Surprisingly, I found none, not even one Comrades finisher from India in all these 84 years! That was really, really shocking! So, 2010 does present Indian runners with a wonderful opportunity to create history by being the first ever Indian finisher at Comrades!

So, I thought why not use this opportunity and combine the most popular social networking platform ‘Facebook‘ to create awareness, and help people get in touch. So, this Facebook group – titled – “Indian Runners for Comrades Marathon 2010” was launched. The intent is to support each other towards the final goal, in terms of information, training progress, logistics, etc. We are currently small team of 26 interested people, and the list is growing. If you are interested, please join the Facebook group (If you are not on Facebook, you will have to create an account first). The group website location is:

Facebook: Indian Runners for Comrades 2010

Does this interest you? Right now, I am not sure of how many people from this group will actually go to Comrades, but I am sure that something will be better than the nothingness of the last so many years, so even if there are a handful of participants finally, I would consider it a big success for all of us in India.


Comrades 2010 Training: June 2009, a month to forget

Well, the title of this post says it all. June was a not a great training month by any means. It started off well with me sticking to the scheduled targets till the middle of the month, and then, well, it was all downhill from there. I had this discomforting feeling in my lower back since the last few months (actually, maybe the last few years), and this seemed to have increased in the weeks gone by, so I though it was probably prudent to go to the doc and have it checked out.

Started it gradually with the X-rays (warmup), picked the pace up gradually with an MRI, and then was trying to sprint to the finish with some Physiotherapy (or so I thought). In the process, I went through three doctors, two of whom immediately ruled out running, one for 21 days, and the other one, for life. Haha! That son of a gun actually said that Indian roads are not good for running, for anybody, so this running business has to stop. So, I went to the third doctor, one who is an expert in Sports medicine. As expected (and probably to cheer me up), he did not rule out running for me (how could he though, he is a sports related injuries expert after all :). So, I returned pretty confident that with some physio, some core strengthening, I will be soon back on track.

Fortunately, none of the doctors considered whatever I have with my lower back as a serious situation, and did not seem too concerned with the X-rays and MRI reports. That was a good sign for me. The physio sessions lasted a week, mostly heat treatment and electrical stimulation of the affected parts. Well, I do not think that after all those sessions, I saw any improvement. What I found a bit helpful however were some core strengthening exercises, which I found while going through the latest issue of the Runner’s World.


Monthly Mileage
Target: 169 KM
Achieved: 92 KM

Key intermediate targets achieved was a 10K run where target pace of sub 5:30/km was comfortably achieved (actual 5:22/km). Towards the end of the month, I had already shifted from the Higdon’s plan, and as July started, Comrades organizers launched the official Comrades 2010 training plan from coach Lindsey Perry (starting July).

Next month: It is already a week into July, and today I seem to have really broken my back. For the last one week, I was trying to stick to the Perry plan. Today morning just as I was leaving for work, bent over to pick my keys, and felt a searing pain in my lower back, and since the morning,  have just been lying on my bed. Things like bending my back no longer look like a doable activity. I wonder if I will be able to get to the road running in a couple of weeks or not. Hoping for the best, and ready for the worst.

Training progress from last month: Comrades 2010 Training: May 2009


Comrades 2010: Official training plan published

Right on cue, the official training plan from Coach Lindsey Parry was published on the Comrades website. Following training plans are available

  • Sub-9 hours
  • Sub-11 hours
  • Finishers plan
The training plans start July 1st! Thats right, officially, training for Comrades 2010 has begun, today (though the first run happens tomorrow). At this point, I intend to go ahead with the Sub-11 hours plan, and will later decide if I continue with this plan or move to some of the others, like those from Don Oliver or Norrie Williamson.

Comrades 2010: Official announcement

Below is the official announcement of the 2010 Comrades marathon (an 89 KM ultra, and the world’s biggest ultramarathon, between Peitermaritzburg and Durban in South Africa) from the latest Comrades newsletter. I am already looking forward to pressing the buttons for registration on my PC on Nov 1st, actually the day on which I will be running my 5th consecutive Airtel Delhi Half Marathon as well. Looking forward to the day already.

Race Day for 2010 Comrades Marathon is Sunday 30 May.


The overwhelming response for entries for the 2009 Comrades Marathon is hopefully a sign of the excellent interest in the Comrades Marathon. The 17% increase in race entries this year must be attributed to the extensive marketing campaign undertaken by the CMA, both locally and abroad.

The 2010 Comrades Marathon also coincides with the 85th anniversary of The Ultimate Human Race. 2010 will see the race run from Pietermaritzburg to Durban, a down run. The CMA will enter into an extensive marketing campaign, through various mediums, as well as road shows across South Africa. The CMA has also put in place a comprehensive international marketing campaign, the first step of which has been achieved with the appointment of International Ambassadors across Europe, South and North America, and Australia.

Entry numbers for the 2010 and 85th anniversary of the Comrades Marathon will be capped at 20000 runners, and no extensions will be entered into. Thus making the 2010 run a special event as the CMA has never had a cut off number in the past. We are confident that this number will be achieved very quickly as in 2000 we received 24000 entries. Therefore we urge all runners and potential runners that wish to run in 2010 to take careful note of the entry process and the closing dates. We therefore request that you enter early to avoid disappointment. Entries will be done in 2 phases.

Phase 1

1 September 2009 entries will open to all previous Comrades Runners. Phase 1 will be capped at 15000 entrants and will close on 31 October 2009, or whichever comes first (eg. if we receive 15000 entries by the 10 October 2009 then no further entries will be accepted).

Phase 2

1 November 2009 entries will open to all Novices and will be capped at 5000. Entries will close on 30 November 2009, or whichever comes first (eg. if we received 5000 novice entries by 15 November 2009 then no further entries will be accepted).

Total number of entries will be capped at 20000.

Qualifying period for 2010 will be from 24 May 2009 to 26 April 2010. Runners who finished the 2009 Comrades Marathon can use their finishing time as a 2010 qualifier.

As in 2009, runners will be able to enter before they qualify. This means while all entries will have to meet the entry criteria above, runners will still be allowed to qualify in official qualifying races up until the month of April, with the 26th April as the final closing date. Upon qualification, runners simply need to give the time and details of the qualifying race through to the CMA office. Upon receiving the qualifying information the runner’s entry will be confirmed.
Failure to meet or submit your qualify details will result in your entry being rejected and your details will be removed from our database, which means that you will not receive a postcard, goodie bag or runners t-shirt. Under no circumstances will refunds be made.


Comrades marathon 2009: Finisher stats

The most interesting stat from Comrades marathon, 2009 (picked up from Comrades forums). This displays the medals people received versus the actual seeding/group with which they started the race. The box in green below looks most attractive to me for the best chance to do a bronze. That is the D seeding (sub 4 hour marathon qualifier), and the next best one is the F (sub 4:20 marathon qualifier).

Gold Wally Hayward Silver Bill Rowan Bronze Vic Clapham DNS DNF
A 18 11 453 393 108 21 77 74
B 2 84 694 324 35 81 58
C 12 636 973 93 157 70
D 1 165 1492 284 179 140
E 7 358 386 99 146
F 30 887 497 152 156
G 3 429 755 164 259
H 1 6 134 714 240 596
20 11 551 1934 4705 2785 1149 1499

For reference, below are the medal cutoff times for the event:

 Gold Medals
 First 10 Men and Women 
 Wally Hayward Medals
 Position 11 to sub 06:00:00
 Silver Medals
 sub 06:00:00 to sub 07:30:00
 Bill Rowan Medals
 sub 07:30:00 to sub 09:00:00
 Bronze Medals
 sub 09:00:00 to sub 11:00:00
 Vic Clapham Medals 
 sub 11:00:00 to sub 12:00:00

Below are the marathon qualifying times required for the group seeding.

  42.2 km
  Green Number Club Members