Murray & Roberts top runners ready for Comrades after testing the route
As the 28th of August draws ever closer, the country top ultra distance runners are doing their final preparations ahead of the Comrades Marathon. Defending champion Edward Mothibi and the rest of his Nedbank Running Club teammates are in Dullstroom for a final high altitude long run, while the Murray and Roberts Running Club top runners spent last weekend training on parts of the 91km route from Pietermaritzburg to Durban. And after running on the brutal course for the first time since 2019, The Murray & Roberts Running Club’s top contenders are ready for race day.
“We gave all our runners a chance to have a look/see on the route and judging by all the feedback, this was a very necessary tester in creating some confidence. Knowing where the small hills and down hills (without names) are that can derail a down run is vital. We believe that this weekend’s experience will provide an extra string to our bow," explained Club chairman Ed Jardim.
Because of the Covid-19 lockdown, the last Comrades Marathon took place in 2019 when Mothibi and Gerda Steyn came out on top in the Up-Run from Durban to Pietermatirzburg. It means that this year will see the first Comrades Down-Run since 2018 and athletes were quick to point out how easy it is to forget the amount of climbing that must be done on a Down Run.
“Our team found this to be very illuminating, especially in the light of the fact that we have not been on the course since 2019. I’ve run 20 and even I was amazed at how much you forget about the route and how much uphill there is in the first of the so-called ‘Down Run,’” said club manager Dana Coetzee.
The runners who included three time Comrades gold medalist Rufus Photo also spent some time visiting the Ultimate Human Race's museum at Comrades Marathon House in Pietermaritzburg. ‘Man, I can’t believe the shoes from those days. Not to mention the vests. Don’t know how the early Comrades did it.”
Boasting top runners such as Photo and Thabo Nkuna in the men's race as well as Om Die Dam winner Anele Broodryk and 2016 Comrades champion Charne Bosman in the women's race, Murray and Roberts are one of the teams that are expected to contest strongly for the team prizes.