Comrades Marathon 2023: A congenial race of the world’s top runners This run is a grueling, 90km race in the KwaZulu-Natal Province. (For those Americans wondering, how far is the Comrades Marathon in miles – that’s a whopping 56 miles.) The first race dates back to 1921 when Comrades contestants ran to honor South African […]Comrades Marathon 2023 Anton Lembede St, Durban, South Africa Durban South Africa
This run is a grueling, 90km race in the KwaZulu-Natal Province. (For those Americans wondering, how far is the Comrades Marathon in miles – that’s a whopping 56 miles.) The first race dates back to 1921 when Comrades contestants ran to honor South African soldiers killed during WWI.
Today, the Comrades is the oldest ongoing marathon with the largest worldwide turnout. Over 20,000 runners from more than 60 countries will populate the Comrades starting line.
“The Comrades Marathon represents men and women from all nations who come together to celebrate mankind’s spirit over adversity.”
When is the marathon in terms of weather? Being in the southern hemisphere, Comrades takes place in August, in South Africa’s winter season. This isn’t to say it’ll be chilly, but certainly far from the hotter-than-hot temps you’d expect in South Africa during their summer season.
The Comrades Marathon route alternates annually between the downhill Pietermaritzburg trail and the uphill Durban route. The 2023 marathon, Comrades’ 96th running, will be held on the Up Run and start from run from Durban and finish in Pietermaritzburg.
Here is all you need to know about how to train for the the Comrades.
All Comrades finishers within the 12-hour cut-off period will receive medals and badges depending on their place. Additionally, several sponsors and charities have teamed up to provide winners with prize money for categorized best times which also includes team competition.
International runners are able to enter online after completing a qualifying race. Find the Marathon qualifying times and additional details on the Comrades site.
The Comrades race course covers over 56 miles of South African land making it quite easy to pick out a spot to view the marathon. Many spectators enjoy lunch at the Intaba View Restaurant while watching the highly conditioned runners conquer the demanding track of the National Highway.
Be sure to make it to the Moses Mabhida Stadium by mid-afternoon to watch athletes hustle through the Comrades finish line.
The city of Durban offers tons of fun activities for people of all ages. Check out one of the world’s largest aquariums at uShaka Sea World or discover “living fossils” at the Botanical Gardens.
The Tala Game Reserve will take you on a tour that provides a personalized experience of the African safari.
Relax by the beach in the subtropical climate or head down to Kings Park Stadium to watch an entertaining game of rugby.
If you are looking to get a little more active, take a jog or bike ride through the famous “Golden Mile” trail that lines the coastal edge of South Africa.
Whether you plan on watching or competing in the race, the Comrades Marathon supports individuals from across the world who represent peace and unity. Charities allow athletes to run for a cause while spectators can appreciate the race as much as the scenic African landscape.
Head on down to the province of KwaZulu-Natal in June for the ultimate summer experience and witness Comrades Marathon, South Africa’s premier running race.
Most competitors in the Comrades will stay in or close to Scottsville, Pietermaritzburg. There are plenty of hotels and B&B housing to choose from in the area.
If you will be spectating, lodging may be a bit more flexible depending on where you plan on watching the race. Downtown Durban offers a wide variety of accommodations and is located near the finish line.
If you are flying into this region of Africa, the King Shaka International Airport is the closest airport to the event location. Once there, the most recommended way to travel around Durban is by car.
A central train station is located in the city center and makes stops near the starting line in Pietermaritzburg. Local taxi services are also transportation options.
For participating runners: bus tickets are available for sale between Durban and Pietermaritzburg at the Comrades Marathon Expo Bus Ticket Kiosks prior to the race.
The 96th Comrades will be taking place on Sunday, June 11, 2023.
Edward Chapman, the Trailrunningman has completed over 200 marathons and ultra-marathons. His biggest achievement is completing the Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon, a 250km desert race 12 times! Rad Season Founder Oli Russell-Cowan chats to him about some of his best stories and his love for trail running, his training and nutrition.
Edward became hooked on Comrades Marathon. It is one of his favorite races and he has completed it many times. He tells everyone, that’s one of the races you really must go and experience.
Plan ahead: Book your perfect trip with our South Africa travel guide and destination information. Does South Africa require a visa? Check the visa requirements before you get caught up during your travel.
Spend money wisely: Take public transport and dine in from time to time are common saving tips during traveling. How to spend money wisely in South Africa? Make use of technology. There’s an app for everything.
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