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Comrades Marathon, Durban

31/05/2015

The Comrades, known as the biggest and oldest ultramarathon in the world, is an annual road race between Durban and Pietermaritzburg in South Africa. The race alternates in direction year by year, usually measuring about 87km in an "up year" and 89km in a "down year". There were 3 Dumfries Running Club members amongst the 22,000 registrants for the 90th edition of this iconic race. 2015 was an up year, but roadworks meant a diversion was in place so the actual distance run was over 88km...

The weather had been unseasonably warm, with no evidence of the encroaching South African winter, and overnight cloud cover meant that it was 21 degrees at 5:30 when the race started. Luckily the early cloud cover meant that the temperatures didn't rise too much too soon, though long stretches in the open sunshine of the afternoon meant that it felt hotter than the official mid-20s.

Jo Zakrzewski wasn't sure if she was going to be able to toe the startline due to an injury picked up at Kirkcudbright the week before, but a last minute removal of the back of her shoe meant she set off to try and bring a silver medal home (given to those finishing under 7 hrs 30). She gradually worked her way up through the field from 15th at the first timing checkpoint with a strong finish seeing her win one of the coveted 10 gold medals, as she finished 8th in 7:00:45.

Craig Malcolmson is becoming a familiar face at this event, with 2015 being his 5th Comrades run (so he is halfway to his "permanent" green number - awarded to those with 10 finishes). He found that coming from a cooler climate than those running near him rather a disadvantage but bravely dug in deep to dip under the 10 hour mark, so gaining a bronze medal in 9:58:58.

Ian Anderson, running his first Comrades, and his first run as member of DRC, also earned a bronze medal, sneaking in just ahead of the 11hr bronze cut-off in 10:57:14. He finished with a huge grin on his face and is already planning to return for the 2016 "down run" to earn a "back-to-back" medal, though he does say that after running Comrades, he will never complain about a hill at home again.

Jo.

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