Tue. Sep 29th, 2020

2019 Comrades Marathon: The contenders for the men’s race crown

The Comrades Marathon will be run from Durban to Pietermaritzburg on Sunday 9 June with prize-money in excess of R4-million up for grabs.

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A strong field has signed up for the 94th edition of The Ultimate Human Race, the Comrades Ultra Marathon.

The Comrades sports prize money in excess of R4-million this year but most of the field of around 25,000 runners won’t have realistic ambitions of taking home the crown.

Here we look at the men who could cross the finish line at Scottsville Race Course first.

Bongmusa Mthembu

The defending champion comes into the 2019 race looking to win a third successive Comrades title and back-to-back up run wins. Mthembu will become the first South African to win three in a row since Bruce Fordyce’s domination of the race in the 1980s.

Gift Kelehe

The 2015 winner returns for another shot at glory, his winning time that year remains the fastest up run time this decade. Kelehe already has six Comrades gold medals – awarded to the top ten finishers – and is the leading contender out of a group of runners operating under top Ultra marathon coach John Hamlett.

David Gatebe

The former winner has not had the best time of it in up-runs but will want to make up for his 2017 flop. Gatebe finished the race but was well outside the top ten. Gatebe will target cracking the top ten to add to his existing medal haul.

Nao Kazami (Japan)

The Japanese Ultra marathon expert holds the world record over 100km, a mark he set just last year. He would be the first Asian ever to win the Comrades Marathon if he pips the cream of South Africa, Africa and a handful of top European runners to the finish.

Steven Way (United Kingdom)

The Briton ended up on the podium last year coming in third behind Joseph Mphuthi and Mthembu for his second gold medal in the race. A seasoned ultramarathoner with victories at the World 50km Championships and the Stockholm 100km under his belt, Way is a real contender in a race that he adores.

Hatiwande Nyamande (Zimbabwe)

The 40-year-old Zimbabwean will be keen to make amends for his for his failure to finish in 2018 and add to his impressive medal tally. Nyamande has two golds and a silver medal to his name but would love to emulate compatriot Stephen Muzhingi and win the race.

Joseph Mphuthi

The 41-year-old will aim to go one better than his stunning second-place in 2018. He has already won the Sasol Marathon in February in a brisk time of 2:27’. Mputhi is expected to be up there among the top ten and could become the newest Comrades winner.

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