Five things to know about the 2023 Comrades Marathon | The Citizen

The 96th edition of the Comrades Marathon, South Africa’s oldest road running race, will be held in KwaZulu-Natal on 11 June.

Here’s all you need to know about the annual contest, which has attracted more than 20,000 entrants this year, retaining its place as the world’s largest ultra-marathon.


The race will start outside Pietermaritzburg City Hall at 5.30am and the 87.701km route will end at Kingsmead Stadium in Durban.

Provided the conditions are suitable, this year’s contest could be an ideal chance for athletes to target their best Comrades Marathon times, with the course being more than two kilometres shorter than last year’s race.


As always, there will be a range of medals on offer for participants.

In total, based on position and time, eight different options are available to finishers who complete the event before the 12-hour cut-off.

– Gold (top 10 men and women)

– Wally Hayward (men between position 11 and sub-6:00:00)

– Isavel-Roche Kelly (women between position 11 and sub-7:30:00)

– Silver (men between 6:00:00 and 7:30:00)

– Bill Rowan (7:30:00 to sub-9:00:00)

– Robert Mtshali (9:00:00 to sub-10:00:00)

– Bronze (10:00:00 to sub-11:00:00)

– Vic Clapham (11:00:00 to sub-12:00:00)

READ MORE: Gerda Steyn likely to shatter ‘unbreakable’ Comrades record

Top contenders

All eyes will be on Gerda Steyn in the women’s race.

Steyn has been in superb form this year, breaking her own record at the 56km Two Oceans ultra-marathon in Cape Town last month.

Having shattered the ‘up’ run record when she clocked 5:58:53 in 2019, she is expected to give Frith van der Merwe’s 34-year-old ‘down’ run record (5:54:43) a shake.

Gerda Steyn
Gerda Steyn celebrates with spectators on her way to a new record at the Two Oceans ultra-marathon in Cape Town last month. Picture: Peter Heeger/Gallo Images

In the men’s race, he’ll have to be at his best against a bag full of rising stars, but 39-year-old Bongmusa Mthembu will still be the athlete to beat.

A three-time Comrades winner, and a two-time medallist at the 100km World Championships, Mthembu carries a tremendous amount of experience and he has all the class to deliver once again.

Prize money

Elite athletes will be chasing a cut of the massive R4.31-million prize purse, with R500,000 on offer to the men’s and women’s winners.

ALSO READ: Shorter distance races need to close the gap on Comrades prize purse

In addition, R500,000 bonuses will be up for grabs for the winners if they break the men’s ‘down’ run record held by David Gatebe (5:18:19) or the women’s mark held by Frith van der Merwe (5:54:43).

The first South African men and women home will receive R200,000 each, while the first KZN athletes will pocket R60,000 from the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sport, Arts and Culture.


Over R4-million was raised for charity during last year’s race, and millions are again expected to be gathered in support of the event’s official causes.

The Comrades Marathon Amabeadibeadi Campaign consists of five charities which will benefit from next month’s race – Childhood Cancer Foundation of South Africa (CHOC), Community Chest Durban & Pietermaritzburg, Hillcrest Aids Centre Trust, Rise Against Hunger and Wildtrust.

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