In the men’s race, it’s all fun and games until well after the halfway mark at split five, the Winston Park – Pinetown split. This is where all eventual top five finishers run their fastest segment and sorts out the real contenders for the Comrades crown from the pretenders.
From Pinetown there are just five real challengers for the win (with Steven Way behind as a possible sixth). Bongmusa Mthembu turns on the gas and no one else comes close to match him over the last 21km – where he runs the fastest final two splits in the field.
There was a lot of talk about Steven Way’s strong finish but interesting to note that Bongmusa Mthembu was faster than him in all seven splits (and still significantly so over last two splits).
This is part of a trilogy of articles providing an in-depth statistical analysis of Comrades 2022. Also see the statistical analysisarticles on Elite Men and Overall / Full Field (coming soon).
The Gold Standard
The graph below shows the average pace between each timing mat for the top ten. Adele Broodryk makes an early move between Lynnfield Park and Cato Ridge (one of only two splits where a female runner dips below 4min/km) but she can’t hold the pace through halfway.
The big (and definitive) move usually happens between Winston Park and Pinetown in the down run this year is no different. Morozova smashes the fastest pace of the race (3:52) and, although she slows on the Sherwood split (which includes Cowies Hill), she extends her lead with no one else coming close to matching her.
On the 4th of December 2022, Kwazulu-Natal Athletics (KZNA) took the unprecedented step of issuing a media statement dismissing rumours of positive doping results at the 2022 Comrades Marathon. Prior to the media release, I had personally been told to expect the imminent announcement that a South African female gold medallist would be disqualified for doping.
A stat by stat account of the Comrades 2019 Women’s Race.
The Gold Standard
Gerda Steyn was in a class of her own smashing the record and becoming the first lady to break six hours on the Up Run (only three ladies have achieved this on the Down Run). After a fast start by Ann Ashworth (2018 Down Run winner) and Camille Herron (defending Up Run champion), Steyn takes the lead early on and no one comes close to keeping up with her.
Fields Hill fractures the field directly after Pinetown. Alexandra Morozova makes her move before Drummond but can’t keep pace with Steyn and settles for second. After starting slowly, Caitriona Jennings blasts her way to halfway but struggles over the latter states of the race (doing well to hang onto third position). The most interesting pacing is by the local Kwazulu Natal debutant Jenna Challenor, who produces a great even run for a sixth place finish. Continue reading “Comrades 2019: Ladies Elite Field (All the Stats)”