Nedbank running club fields most competitive Comrades field to date

The Nedbank running club’s famous green Nike vests have dominated running events around the country, and even more so, the Comrades Marathon, dubbed the ultimate human race. 2024 is no different and at this years Comrades Marathon, the club has a record 48 athletes entered under elite status and will be looking for more than just a win.

“Without a doubt, this is the strongest and most competitive team we have ever had at the Comrades Marathon,” says Nick Bester, National team manager of the Nedbank running club and former race winner. “Besides having the defending champion of both the up run and down runs, we have multiple Comrades gold medallists that will take part this year as well as some very interesting novices who can perhaps spoil the party on the day.”

Leading the team will undoubtedly be the duo of Tete Dijana and Edward Mothibi. Coming into this year’s race, Mothibi is the defending up run champion with the race last going up to Pietermaritzburg in 2019, whilst Dijana has won the last two Comrades down runs back-to-back, which included last year’s record-breaking run. The two train together and are known as the happy bunch with gold medallist teammates Joseph Manyedi, Dan Matshailwe and Johannes Makgetla also returning this year.

Also returning will be Piet Wiersma. Referred to last year as the unknown dutchman, the youngster of the team finished 2nd on debut, only 3 seconds behind Dijana and this year has focussed solely on the Comrades Marathon, having prepared for the race in Kenya. “This year we have had athletes focussing on the race from all different corners of the globe,” said Bester. “Tete and the other guys had their base in Dullstroom for the high altitude and Piet chose to train in Kenya for the bulk of his Comrades prep.

Giving a serious attempt at Comrades this year will be Onalenna Khonkhobe who made a name for himself leading the 2022 Comrades Marathon all the way to Fields Hill. He has since grown in stature and this year was the runaway winner of the Two Oceans Marathon. Throw in Russian debutant Nikolay Volkov amongst many other Nedbank stars who will be in action, and the 2024 Comrades Marathon will be a treat for viewers watching at home on TV and for spectators along the route.

In the women’s race, South Africa’s Adele Broodryk leads the Nedbank running club challenge. Debuting in 2022, Broodryk finished 3rd and in last years race improved by one spot to not only finish 2nd, but run an amazing 5:56, to become the 3rd fastest female ever on the down run. Teammates Deanne Laubscher, Galaletsang Mekgoe and Slindile Chili will be looking to join Broodryk amongst the top 10 finishers on the day.

There is also an extraordinarily strong Nedbank running club international contingent coming down which will be led by Polish athlete Dominika Stelmach who is a multiple Comrades Marathon gold medallist. Ireland’s Caitriona Jennings finished on the podium at her debut Comrades up run in 2019 and will be looking for another repeat of that after a strong 7th place at this years Two Oceans Marathon. Running her first Comrades this year will be American Andrea Pomaranski who has been taking training advice from Bester. With a 2:31 marathon best and two sub 2:35 marathon finishers in 2024 already, Pomaranski looks to do something big on 9 June.

‘I worked intensively with Andrea and especially on her overall strength to make sure she can manage the uphill’s which will be complemented by her incredible speed as an Elite marathoner. What impressed me from her is that Andrea is listening and did do all the strength and cross training according to the program and reduced her total running mileage per week. I am expecting Andrea to be up there with the leaders on race day! ‘said Bester

“We have assembled the best possible team to date for this years Comrades and thanks to all of our sponsors, we have given all the athletes all they need in terms of preparations and camps, so all that is left now is the athletes to do their part and once again paint the streets green on 9 June,” said Bester.