What sets the comrades apart?

Apart from being the world's oldest and largest ultramarathon, the marathon’s rich history is intertwined with South Africa's history. Created in 1921 as a tribute to South Africa’s World War I veterans, the race stretches 87 kms through KwaZulu-Natal between Durban and Pietermaritzburg, crossing five grueling hills.

While you’re there, the Comrades Museum is a great place to visit to learn more about its history.

The Route This Year

While it is the same stretch, the UP RUN is a very different race profile compared to the DOWN RUN. The route goes through the Valley of a Thousand Hills in KwaZulu-Natal, which makes the Comrades Up Run so challenging.

The road that gets you to the starting point in Durban isn’t considered to be the safest and you’re advised to move with a group of other runners. You’ll find plenty of groups in Durban on race day.

Race Route
Profile Map

and Rest

Runners typically start tapering their training around 15 to 20 days before the race day. Tapering involves gradually reducing the intensity and volume of training to ensure the body is rested and fully recovered for the big day.

Practice runs, side
events and bib collection

The Durban beach side promenade that stretches from North Beach Pier to Blue Lagoon Park is about 5 miles long and the safest place to do your shake down run the day before the race. If you’re traveling solo to the race, this is a good location to find fellow Comrades runners. Try to get your practice runs in early in the morning, as it tends to get crowded as the day progresses.

On Thursday, 6th June there is an International Runners' Day where participants from all countries come together for a run. The preferred location for this run is along the beachfront at the promenade, offering scenic views and a great environment in preparation for the upcoming race.

Two days before the race, many Indian runners participate in a group run organized by the Indian Consulate in South Africa, followed by yoga. This is scheduled to happen on 7th June this year. Later at the expo, there's an organized Indian runners group picture session, where most runners collect their bibs. While these aren’t must dos, they do make up for a large part of the festive experience that Comrades provides.


For HER and HIM

During the

Try and get to the starting point outside Durban City Hall ahead of time. This will give you enough time to use the bathroom if you need to and get yourself into your assigned starting pen based on your qualifying time. The organizers have now started disqualifying runners who change their starting pens at the start. At Comrades the clock starts ticking at gun time as opposed to the chip time when you set off. Don’t try to jump pens to save time and risk being disqualified.

As far as pacing is concerned Pinto’s advice is to take it easy in the first half, which is mostly uphill this year. Considering the chilly weather, it is easy to not feel the strain of a fast pace initially, but the fatigue tends to kick in, during the second half.

& Nutrition

Rarely do runners get to Comrades without a training plan that includes race day hydration and nutrition. But things can change during a race, so listen to your body on the day. Drink, eat and walk when you want to and don’t wait until your body is desperate for water, no food and rest.

For first-time Comrades runners, both Satish and Pinto advise starting easy, avoiding wasting time at hydration points, and conserving energy for the tough second half. There are about 42 hydration points, so don't linger—grab what you need and keep moving.

Archana chose to pay for Consport’s Race Day Support Gazebos to store all her additional gear, hydration and nutrition. This lets you run free without having to carry everything you have in a bag. You can find more details including the support points and their tariff here

We hope these tips help you make the most of your Comrades Marathon experience. Soak it all in and enjoy this experience of a lifetime.