Sunday, June 15, 2008

Comrades Marathon.

About 25km down, only 62km to go, but obviously still enjoying the run.

This year 11191 people started the 87km up run, with 8699 people completing the run. 2188 were from Kwa-Zulu Natal, 2230 from Gauteng, many more from all over the rest of South Africa, and a few hundred from other Africa countries, as well as other continents. This has now become an international event, and was won by the Russians.

The Comrades Marathon is an annual event run between Durban and Pietermaritzburg. The direction alternates, with this year being an "up" run. Even though it takes place in the middle of winter, every year spectators come out in their thousands to line the route and encourage the runners.

For the first time the "no assistance" rule was enforced. Marathon rules require that no runner be assisted during a race, and until now, this has been overlooked in this race, with runners assisting each other to complete the course. This was a hallmark of the race, and you'd often see runners carrying other runners over the finish line.

At first we all thought this would dampen he spirit in this race, but there's a really good reason for enforcing this rule. When the body can no longer go on, the runner is now forced to bail out and be collected by the rescue car, so they can receive medical attention. This will prevent the serious injury, and the deaths which have overshadowed some of the previous runs.

Well done to everyone who took part this year, and a big Well Done to those who actually completed the run in the specified time.

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