Dutchman Piet Wiersma was the main winner of the 2024 Comrades Marathon, while Gerda Steyn smashed her own record to win her third crown in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday. Wiersma crossed the finish line in 5 hrs 25 min 00 sec.

He spent two months in Kenya preparing for the ultimate Human race where he finished on the podium last year.  He just missed out on Leonid Shvetsov’s up record of 2008 of 5:24:39 by 21 seconds. His time is the second-fastest in the men’s up run.

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“It really felt pedestrian, like I was running a training run. But then I knew it was too early to make my move,” he said.

“Once I reached Umhlanga, I knew that I could now push. I felt strong on the hills, it must be the hours of training I did in Kenya. So yeah, it was a good race.” Wiersma finished three seconds behind winner Tete Dijana in second in last year’s down run.

South African Dan Moselakwe was second in 5:25:45 while Ethiopian Degefa Lafebo was third in 5:27:48.

Meanwhile, Dijana, winner of the successive down runs in 2020 and 2021, could not join a group of five men’s runners who have won a ‘hat-trick’ with three successive Comrades’ in the 103-year history of South Africa’s premier road running event.

Piet Wiersma is the winner of the 2024 Comrades Marathon, Gerda Steyn sets new record
Piet Wiersma and Gerda Steyn

GERDA STEYN BROKE HER OWN RECORD WHILE PIET WIERSMA WAS THE MAIN WINNER OF THE COMRADES MARATHON 2024 

In the Women’s categories, Gerda Steyn won her third Comrades Marathon crown smashing her own up run best time as she crossed the line in an unofficial 5hr 49min 46 sec.

The defending champion, who broke the down run best time last year, set the previous 5:58:53 mark in 2019. Alexandra Morozova from Russia finished second in 6:05:12. She won the race in 2022. 

Courtney Olsen from the USA came from deep in the field, and sixth place just past Umlaas Road, past Camperdown, to finish in third place in 6:08:09. Carla Molinaro (06:12:01) just edged Nobukhosi Tshuma (06:12:18) in a tight race at the finish for fourth place.

Polokwane Municipality and Capricorn District Municipality held an official farewell for runners from Limpopo gearing up for the Comrades Marathon. The world’s largest and oldest ultramarathon race will take place on Sunday, 9 June.

The athletes will embark on the gruelling up-run from Durban to Pietermaritzburg.

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Among the attendees was 82-year-old Johannes Mosehla, who shattered a 34-year record in 2023 as the oldest person to complete the Comrades Marathon at the age of 81. Mosehla proved that age is just a number when it comes to chasing dreams.

The event commenced with warm welcome remarks from the Polokwane Council Speaker, Kobela Modiba setting the tone for an evening filled with encouragement and support. Cllr Makgalemele Makhura, MMC for Sport at CDM, extended gratitude to all guests.

Send-off for Comrades Marathon runners from Limpopo
John Mpe

FAREWELL FOR THE COMRADES MARATHON RUNNERS FROM THE LIMPOPO PROVINCE

Ludwick Mamabolo, the 2012 Comrades Marathon champion, shared words of wisdom and motivation with the aspiring athletes. He urged them to stay focused, ignore distractions, and embrace the challenge ahead with confidence.

“Stick to your comfortable pace, and you will make it,” Mamabolo affirmed, instilling belief and determination in the runners.

Representing the Executive Mayor of Capricorn District, Cllr Calvin Masoga delivered a heartfelt message, expressing support and well wishes to the athletes.

“Your district and your city are your biggest cheerleaders,” Masoga affirmed. Polokwane Executive, Cllr Makoro John Mpe, echoed sentiments of admiration and encouragement. Recognizing the dedication and hard work invested by the athletes.

“We are committed to supporting you every step of the way,” Cllr Mpe assured, urging the runners to run with pride.

In closing, Cllr Mpe extended best wishes on behalf of Polokwane Municipality and the entire community. “We look forward to celebrating your achievements upon your return,” he concluded, igniting a sense of anticipation.

As the Limpopo runners embark on their journey, they carry with them the support and encouragement of Polokwane Municipality and Capricorn District Municipality.

Limpopo Premier Stanley Mathabatha on Thursday, 22 June paid a courtesy visit to Comrades Marathon’s oldest runner Johannes Mosehla.

Mosehla, who is from Ga-Mogashoa Village, Sekhukhune District broke a 34-year-old Comrades Marathon record. At the age of 81, Mosehla became the oldest Comrades Marathon runner, beating a record previously held by Comrades Great Wally Hayward in 1989.

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Mathabatha congratulated Mosehla on the huge milestone and confirmed that the government would be organising an official event in his honour.

“As the Provincial Government we are happy and proud of Mr Mosehla’s deeds. He has put the province on a map, today we are not here to reward him but to know who is Johannes Mosehla who has done this excellent work. The provincial government will organise for the day where he will be awarded and celebrated properly.” said Mathabatha.

Limpopo Premier Stanley Mathabatha pays courtesy visit to comrades Marathon record breaker Johannes Mosehla
Premier Stanley Mathabatha with Johannes Mosehla

PREMIER STANLEY MATHABATHA PAYS A COURTESY VISIT TO JOHANNES MOSEHLA

Mosehla also expressed gratitude to the Premier, family, friends, and everyone for supporting him. He also shared his journey as a runner, the challenges he had as an athlete and the successes he had as a runner.

He further encouraged everyone young and old to engage in sports activities to stay healthy and strong, age should not be a barrier or an excuse to not engage in sports.

The old man became the oldest Comrades Marathon finisher at 9:26:10. He broke the record of 10:58:03 set in 1989. 

Johannes Mosehla, an 81-year-old runner from Sekhukhune, Limpopo made history at the Comrades Marathon in KwaZulu Natal on Sunday. Mosehla, who is a retired bricklayer, was running his 10th Comrades. He started running in 1963 and says he wants to retire at the age of 85.

On Sunday, the old man became the oldest Comrades Marathon finisher at 9:26:10. He broke the record set by Wally Hayward as the oldest person to complete the race. Hayward ran 10:58:03 in 1989 aged 80.

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Meanwhile, Tete Dijana won the Comrades Marathon for the second consecutive year, with a record-breaking time of 5:13:58.He stripped more than four minutes off David Gatebe’s best time of 5:18:19, in 2016.

Gerda Steyn won the women’s race in a time of 5:44:56. She also broke the down-run record, which was previously held by Frith van der Merwe in 1989 at a time of 5:54:43.

Limpopo runner Johannes Mosehla makes comrades Marathon history
Comrades Marathon runners

JOHANNES MOSEHLA TRIUMPH

Over 2354 international runners from 84 countries entered this year’s Comrades Marathon. The lion’s share of athletes came from India with 403 athletes, Zimbabwe with 255, United Kingdom with 224, USA with 173 and Brazil with 142 runners.

This was the 96th Comrades Marathon, a down run which started at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall at 05h30 and ended 12 hours later at the Hollywoodbets Kingsmead Stadium in Durban.

100 YEARS OF FEMALE PARTICIPATION

The 24th of May 2023 marked a centenary of women’s participation in The Ultimate Human Race. Frances Hayward was the first woman to have unofficially completed the Comrades Marathon in 1923, during a time when the race was only open to white men.

At the age of 30, the intrigue of the Comrades Marathon had caught Hayward’s attention and she sent a letter to Vic Clapham and applied to run in the 1923 race. Her entry left Clapham and the Athletics Association in a state of confusion as they had never had a woman applying to enter any male athletics events before.

After considerable debate, they refused to accept her entry. She sent an immediate response to the association and Vic that she was undaunted by their decision and would therefore run unofficially.

So, on only the third running of the race in 1923, she lined up outside the Pietermaritzburg City Hall with the 68 men who were competing that year.

Frances crossed the line in 11:35:00, in what would have been 28th position in a field of 30 finishers that year

Nedbank Running Club’s Tete Dijana has won his back-to-back Men’s Comrades Marathon Race in a record down run time. The security guard from North West finished in a time of 05:13:58 to beat David Gatebe’s best down run time of 5:18:19 in 2016.

For his efforts, he won R1.2 million for finishing first, beating the record and being the first South African over the finish line.

Piet Wiersma and Edward Mothibi, also from Nedbank running club, finished second and third respectively.

TETE DIJANA REFLECTS ON COMRADES’ MARATHON WIN

“I was checking [at Pier Wiersma] because I wanted to relax. My friend [Wiersma] was coming. So I told myself to just reserve the energy for him because my legs were a little bit tired,” he told SuperSport TV.

“It was hard because the race was too fast. Edward came to me and told me these guys are fast. So I just decided to stay behind the guys and later on, decided to push it.

Tete Dijana wins Comrades marathon in record time
Gerda Steyn

ON THE RECORD BREAKING TIME

“My coach told me that I must not break too much because next time we should break it again but my friend was giving me pleasure. So I had to break it like this.”

Another record for South Africa, Gerda Steyn has won the 2023 Comrades Marathon in a new down run record of 5:44:54 (unofficial). This is a second win for Gerda, having been champion in 2019.

She beat the 5:54:43 record that was set by Frith van der Merwe in 1989.

More to follow…