The Croc Run

Vladimir Kotov


Vladimir Kotov
Record-breaking 50-59 age category runner

Club:   Century City Athletic Club, Cape Town, Western Province
Age:   52
Achievements:  Three-time Comrades Marathon winner (2000, 2002, 2004), Olympic marathoner (fourth in 1980 Moscow Games), multiple race winner and record-holder in SA, and recently set a new world best time for 50km for the 50-59 years age category.
PBs     Lifetime 50-59
  10km   28:28  31:47
  15km   43:31  48:59
  21.1km  1:01:07 1:11:34
  30km   1:30:09 1:47:30
  42.2km  2:10:58 2:31:13
  Two Oceans  3:13:21 3:19:48
  Comrades  5:25:33 (up) 5:27:21 (down)

The past few months have been good for Belorussian Vladimir Kotov, who lives in Cape Town. Having finally recovered in October from two years of knee and Achilles problems, he returned to full training, and has since set Western Province 50-59 years age category records for every distance from 8km to the marathon. He capped that in April with a new 50-59 world best for 50km on his way to finishing 17th overall and shattering the 50-59 course record in the Two Oceans 56km ultra-marathon.

Record-Breakers Time WP Records Time
Avbob 15km 49:40 Lion of Africa Half Marathon 1:11:34
Sundowner 10km 31:52 Men’s Health 10km 31:48
Runner’s Memorial 8km 25:26 West Coast Marathon 2:31:13
Bay to Bay 30km 1:47:30 Constantia 15km 48:59
  Century City 10km 31:47
  Two Oceans 3:19:48

Somehow, in between all these record-breaking runs, Vladimir still found the time in March to open his new running store in Cape Town. Called Kotov’s Korner Sport Store, in the Colosseum Building in Century City, it stocks running shoes and clothing, and Vladimir also offers personalised training plans.

“I am getting slower each year, no matter how much or what type of training I do. That is life, so with my career going down now, I am looking for a business for my future. My training is actually as an animal doctor, but I have forgotten most of what I learnt, so I think it is much better I stay in sport. Runners need specialist advice, and I have run for a long time, so I can give people the benefit of my experience.”

Despite his age, Vladimir will still be going for a top ten Comrades finish this year. “If I can beat the Western Province records at 52, then I think I can still get gold at Comrades. I will be even happier with top three. I think this year will be an easier race, because a lot of people have retired, like Shvetsov and Kharitonov, and the South African entries are not too strong this year if you look at results.”

When asked about retiring from top-level racing, Vladimir says that his future plans all depend on the next few months. “Business and hard training don’t go together. First I will see how Comrades goes and second I will see how the business goes before deciding. I need to spend time every day in the store, so it impacts on my training and important rest time.”