Comrades 2018 (Full statistical analysis)

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How The 2018 Men’s Comrades Down Run Was Won

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).

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Comrades 2022 Overall / Full Field Race Stats

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This is part of a trilogy of articles providing an in-depth statistical analysis of Comrades 2022. The articles on Elite Men and Elite Women are also available.

Getting to the Start

The graph below is a hurricane funnel answering the often-asked question, “What happens to all the entries?”

16479 enter, 1688 don’t bother to submit a qualifier, 661 don’t make it to registration, 916 collect their race pack but don’t start and 1503 fall on the road to Durban leaving us with 11711 Comrades 2022 finishers.

Note: The finisher numbers are for all people earning that medal or better. For example, the ‘Vic Clapham’ 11711 are all finishers (i.e. 12 hours or better) and the ‘Bronze’ 7632 is everyone finishing 11 hours or better (i.e. it includes all Bronze, RM, BR, etc. medals).
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Comrades 2022 Elite Male Stats

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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.

Tete Dijana ran the fastest split in the field to Sherwood to pull ahead of the rest of the field (photo courtesy of Marathonfoto.com)
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Comrades Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Run

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Comrades 2018: My Penultimate Run at the Ultimate Human Race

[MARATHON #190 / Comrades #9 / 10 June 2018]

The human brain is a complex network of neural circuits. The two most intense emotions humans can experience are ‘love’ and ‘hate’. Many people think that ‘love’ is the opposite of ‘hate’ but recent neurological studies have shown that the two are so closely related that they even run on the same neural circuits. A better opposite for both ‘love’ and ‘hate’ is apathy. Apathy is not a word one associates with running Comrades – but wild bouts of love and hate are likely to flow through the neurological pathways of one’s brain over the course of a very long day.

The scientific studies did determine one key difference: The cerebral cortex – this is the part of the brain associated with logic, judgement and reasoning – becomes largely deactivated during bouts of love but remains fully functional during hate. I am a rational, lucid and objective human being which explains why I seem to hate Comrades so much more than I love it.

In 1971 The Persuaders harmonised that, “It’s a thin line between love and hate”. At Comrades there is 90 kilometres between hate and love.

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