Almost 4 000 to run in popular Comrades qualifier

2011-02-25 00:00

THE feature race this weekend is Sunday’s Witness Maritzburg Marathon, which has attracted almost 4 000 runners for the half-marathon and 42 km distances.

Interestingly, over 30% of race entrants are women, which is considerably higher than the average club races, and heads towards the sort of split achieved by the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon.

Over 900 runners are in the 40-49 age-group, making it the largest grouping in the race.

The race is the most popular Comrades Marathon qualifier in the country and also counts as a qualifier for the Old Mutual Two Oceans 56 km Marathon. Both of these events require entrants to complete a standard marathon in under five hours and this two-lap tour of the Victorian provincial capital is one of the easiest courses in Kwazulu-Natal.

Although there is a 110 m difference in altitude between the highest and lowest points on each lap, the predominance of downhill on the second half of each lap makes for the faster times, but runners need to apply restraint in their pacing.

The start for both distances is at 5 am and the winner can be expected to cross the finish line at the Drill Hall in Gere Street at around 7.15 am.

Runners can collect race numbers and bar codes from the Drill Hall tonight between 5 pm and 9 pm, tomorrow from 9 am to 5 pm and on race morning from 4 am to 4.45 am.

The race is pre-entry only so no entries will be taken over the weekend.

Up north, the Vryheid club are hosts to the annual half-marathon, which starts and finishes at Cecil Emmett Park tomorrow at 6 am.

This is an out-and-back route on the Natal Spa road, so the first half is quite challenging, but the return can be swift.

There is also a 10 km distance and entries for both events are taken on race morning from 5 am.

Ingrid Kusel has more details at 073 867 5712.

Athletes and clubs are reminded that proposals and agenda items need to be in by tomorrow for the KZN Athletics AGM on March 26.

With Simon Dlamini now officially sanctioned from the sport for three years, it is expected that there will be a call for the election of a replacement vice president for the province at the AGM. This post will only stand until late in 2012 when new elections take place.

The second leg of the Yellow Pages track and field series moves to L C de Villiers Stadium in Pretoria tonight.

The R200 000 Pot of Gold incentive for South African senior records is intact and although the times in the short events could be fast, the altitude will prevent them impacting on the national records.

Cindy Stewart, who has been unbeaten in 14 races in the 100 metres, will be wanting to maintain the streak, while Caster Semenya and 2010 national champion Mapaseka Makhanya will again dice the 800 m distance.

The real chance of making a mark for the national records comes in the third event in Bellville on March 10.

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