And here we go again. Comrades Number 7 for me and the 94th edition of the greatest Ultra Marathon.
Comrades training and race strategy for 2019 Comrades
- 1313 km of running and
- 21 strength sessions at the gym.
Fundraising for the CHOC cows
New Comrades recruit from Germany
One of them was Gert Fischer, an outstanding marathon (PB: 2h 39) ultramarathon runner as well as an Ironman (I mean serious Kona-level). He heard me speak about Comrades and was hooked. Just like me in 2007, when I got bitten by the Two Oceans-bug.
Registration and Expo
Saturday – pre-race day
Cappuccino (with almond milk, I can‘t digest cow‘s milk, even if I run as a cow)
Two slices of brown toast with peanut butter/jam
Approx. 200 ml of almond milk with soaked chia seeds and some jam (soaked them over night)
Porta Loo Queue
The race: First third
The following picture is taken at Fields Hill, the 2nd of the 5 major hills (not to mention the 100 small ones). A 3 km incline.
Salt, salt, salt
The next picture is taken at Winston Park, just before I was going to meet my wife.
The race: second third
Happy to go through halfway mark
The last third of the race…
…is where you will notice if your endurance training pays off or not.
Since I did not feel any cramps, checked my heart rate carefully to stay in the 155 BPM range, taking in all the salt, and eating on a regular basis, I felt strong for the final 30 km.
Can you believe that I was looking forward to running up Polly Shorts?
I was really looking forward to Polly Shorts for two reasons:
- After getting over Polly Shorts the final stretch would be (almost) completely downhill, yeah
- Going up Polly Shorts means the permission 😉 to walk, and I was looking forward to some walking
The mental part of the race
For the last third, running is much more a mental than a physical game.
There were many situations where my mind wanted to trick me into walking. But I won the fight and kept running.
Receiving the new Robert Mtshali Medal
For the first time in the history of Comrades the Robert Mtshali medal was handed out to runners finishing between 9 and 10 hours.
In the past, all runners between 9 and 11 hours received the bronze medal. From this year on, you receive the Robert Mtshali medal for a 9-10 hour finish, and the traditional bronze medal for 10-11 hours. I feel honored being one of the first to receive this medal! Robert Mtshali was the first, inofficial, black person to run and finish the Comrades Ultra Marathon in 1935. His time was 9h 30 min. It took until 1975, when the race finally was opened officially to men and women of all races.
The biggest downside of this years race was the traffic madness my wife encountered after our second meeting. It took her 4.5 hours to cover 30 km on the road because of an extremely busy national road, packed with TRUCKS and spectators. She missed my finish by 1 hour! This had never happened before.
The Comrades Marathon Organisation has to take action on this traffic problem and 1.) cap the number of runners allowed for the up run to 17,500 runners and 2.) block the national road for trucks on race day.
Ice bath, dinner, and recovery
After a 1 hour drive back from the finish to our hotel in Durban I jumped into my traditional ice bath again.
This year it went much smoother than in the past. Maybe because I prepared myself for the last 6 months or so by taking ice cold showers… This ice bath felt really good.
My wife, Gert from Germany, and I enjoyed our dinner at the hotel restaurant until we called it a day.
Thanx Axel for your delicious story, we met last year by the two oceans, is was there with Marco and Ed. Respect for your fund rasing and the way yoy enjoyed the race.
I hope you will recover well.
Thank you so much, Igna, of course I remember. Would be great to see you again at one of the races. Recovery went very well 🙂
Good day Axel! Thanks for your well worded and to the point race reviews and general ultrarunning advice. I started reading your blogs when training for my first OMTOM 2018, with hopes of sub-5hr. I found your insights extremely helpful, more importantly, I could relate to all your topics covered. Was a happy surprise to share with you a couple of km’s (thanks for the Fields Hill photo!!). I ran a perfectly flawed novice run – overcooked it in the first half, and scrambled home for my first medal (09h50min). Keep up the good work! Happy Miles!! W
Thanks for your comment, Willem.
Very happy to hear my posts were so helpful for you. Congrats on your Comrades and, for overcooking yourself in the first half, that’s still an awesome time! And a Robert Mtshali medal!
Hope to see you at another race again!
All the best,