Comrades Marathon: 15 June 2008
About 10 degrees at the start at 5:30am, rising to 26 degrees and sunny throughout the race. Pleasant but a little hot for the later stages of the race.
The biggest ultra in the world (11,000 entrants and 8,400 finishers this year) was spectacular like always. This year was the up-run, going from Durban to Pietermaritzburg in South Africa. It alternates direction from year to year and the up run ends up 650m higher than it starts, but with significant hills in-between along the roads.
The atmosphere is unparalleled by any other race in the world, from the pre-dawn start to the roaring crowds in the stadium at the finish. Without doubt it has better and more encouraging support than the big city marathons such as NYC or London since the entire country watches it avidly, making it front page news with day-long TV coverage.
A very tough course due to the distance, hills and heat, but immaculately organised with drink/food stations every mile or so along the course. It has to be seen to be believed and anyone who witnesses it has the urge to run it. As usual, the majority of the field came in in the last 2 hours before the 12 hour cut-off and all were treated as heroes.
In addition, the main nationality of foreign runners was British, with 140ish runners. I'll be back again next year for my 3rd Comrades without doubt.
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