Comrades 2011 attracts second largest field for an up run

2011-04-01 00:00

THE 86th edition of the Comrades Marathon has attracted 19 617 entries, the third largest ever and the second biggest field for an up run.

Only the 24 000 entries of the Millennium edition exceed thisyear’s field, which also enjoys greater international representation.

United Kingdom lead the international listing with 253 runners, followed by U.S. (179), Australia (152), and Brazil, which sees a massive increase from 78 last year to 115 this year. The battles to be amongst the top 10 gold medals looks to be even greater.

With Leonid Shvetsov retired and Stephen Muzhingi facing the pressure of earning a third successive win, there is every chance that the Comrades crown can change heads on May 29.

Regular international contenders Jaroslaw Janicki and World 100 mile record holder Oleg Kharintonov are back with their vast experience, while Ludwick Mamabolo, the find of the 2010 down run, will be hoping to go one better with the change of direction.

Other regulars include Lucas Nonyana, Peter Molapo, Fusi Nhlapo, Peter Muthubi and Bongmusa Mthembu. Local hopes will support Mthembu, who may have been a distant 52nd in the last up run, but placed a well-paced third last year.

The Russian twins, Elena and Olesya Nurgalieva, look to have the makings of another victory with the seasoned Marina Myshlyanova, Kami Semick from U.S., UK’s Lizzy Hawker and past winner Tatyana Zhirkhova leading the international contenders.

Hawker may again create an upset given her experience on hills and mountain running. Locally, few would look past Farwa Mentoor as first South African, with a very close finish possible between Lindsay van Aswegen, Leslie Train and Adinda Kurger.

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