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 articles on Elite Women and Overall / Full Field statistical analysis (coming soon).
The Gold Standard
The male Gold pace per split graph is quite different from the female side of the field (see previous article). Over the first few splits, the frontrunning is done by a few TV runners (who fade fast and don’t feature in this graph) but the serious contenders stick together until the halfway mark at Drummond. Seven of the ten Golds are still together at Winston Park after which the fastest split of the race into Pinetown separates the good from the great.
From Pinetown, the only podium position in question is third with Dan Moselakwe eventually claiming it. Tete Dijana runs the fastest split in the field to Sherwood and further extends his lead to the finish line in Moses Mabhida – although he’s only the second fastest over the final split. The fastest final split belongs to 11th placed finished Gordon Lesetedi who just can’t reel in Lutendo Mapoto for the final Gold.
The 94th Comrades Marathon and 48th Up Run was held on 9 June 2019. This is a stat by stat account of the Men’s Elite section of the race – with a few anecdotal interludes thrown in to break the statistical monotony.
The Comrades Marathon is a lot like a nasty big brother that sadistically bullies, torments and tortures his weaker siblings. As one of those weaker siblings, I’ve received more than my fair share of merciless moers, violent lammies and vicious donkey klaps at the annual family reunion between Durban and Pietermaritzburg. I feel this entitles me to have an opinion and say what I like about Comrades – and occasionally I repay my serial brutalisation with a playful retort or gentle jab of my own (before running away, slowly). That is the God-given right of a ‘family’ member*.
* For example, one of the article ideas on my backlog is ’10 Things I Hate about Comrades’ but the list of things has grown so long it may in fact form the content of my first full-length book.
However, when someone outside the ‘family’ callously condescends your brutal big brother, all past grievances are forgotten, all past sins are forgiven, and all the scars and bruises from past battles become prized signs of affection. When someone outside the circle of trust insults a member of one’s household, the correct response is to immediately – and without hesitation – take up arms (or in the case of Comrades, legs) to defend the family honour. That is exactly what happened recently when the insolent, ill-informed and ignorant American ultra runner Jim Walmsley condescended Comrades with a reckless remark. Continue reading “Drug Running at Comrades (and discrediting American ignorance)”