Road to Comrades with Dylan Rogers, part 4

Dylan Rogers is a sports journalist with Johannesburg radio station HOT 102.7FM and part of the Big Joburg Drive Show, which you can catch 3pm to 6pm Monday to Friday on either 102.7FM or streaming on He’ll be running his first Comrades Marathon in August, after accepting a dare from a friend, who has pledged to donate R500 to charity for every kilometre of Comrades that Dylan is able to complete. This is the fourth of Dylan’s regular blogs about his journey to the Comrades.

So, a real range of emotions the past week or so, having picked up flu and sitting out training. At first, it was a relatively mild inconvenience and I didn’t mind the rest too much, but then the anxiety set in, before my mind was eased by coach Lindsey Parry, who told me not to sweat it – which is what I was obviously doing, both literally and figuratively.

So, back to feeling okay about missing training and enjoying the lie-ins, but then the weekend hit and my running WhatsApp groups lit up with pics, chats and video of the RAC 60km Long Run that I was due to run, and the fomo set in properly! Fomo, because I knew that all of those who got through that slog would now be so much more mentally prepared for Comrades, and I wasn’t.

That being said, I’ve been blown away by the encouraging words from so many different people, with just about everyone telling me not to fret and to remember the miles I already have in my legs. Sound advice, and it’s just going to take some tweaking from here, as I combine my taper with actually getting back on the road.

Perhaps even more frustrating is that I sit here feeling relatively fine, but with an annoying dry cough that just won’t go away and makes my head explode every time the latest bit of gob lodges in my throat and forces me to cough! (Sorry, I know it’s a bit gross.) It’s also meant I’ve had some ropey nights’ sleep, so that’s not ideal, either. Anyway, I’ve been urged to not rush back onto the road, and I think I’m naturally conservative, so I’ll heed the advice.

A Bit of Sad News

Was disappointed to hear one of my running mates, Byron Hardy, say this week that he’s pulling the plug on his Comrades campaign. I think the ‘Ginger’ has got a great base, but he also got sick a few weeks ago, and that put him out for two weeks, before he was away for another 10 days, and he’s not feeling up to it. So, I respect his decision.

All I can say, though, is that the two idiots who talked me into Comrades in the first place, Byron and Matt Archer, are now both out, leaving me on my own! I will miss Matt’s looks of fatherly disappointment when I tell him of my latest rookie running error, and Byron’s pep talks when I go to my dark places, particularly his reminders that running marathons is easy, compared to being Ukrainian and being bombed by Russians. Thanks, boys.

Road to Comrades with Dylan Rogers, part 3

Dylan Rogers is a sports journalist with Johannesburg radio station HOT 102.7FM and part of the Big Joburg Drive Show, which you can catch 3pm to 6pm Monday to Friday on either 102.7FM or streaming on He’ll be running his first Comrades Marathon in August, after accepting a dare from a friend, who has pledged to donate R500 to charity for every kilometre of Comrades that Dylan is able to complete. This is the third of Dylan’s blogs about his journey to the Comrades.

So, I know it’s part of the journey, but it’s tough not getting anxious or worrying about your Comrades prep when you get injured or sick – particularly when you’re a novice. That’s what I’ve been dealing with recently, having picked up a bug the day after a big weekend that saw me clock up 18km on the Saturday and 33 on the Sunday.

That Sunday stretch with my mate, Karl, was tough, and I certainly felt it – I was pretty ‘done’ and rundown for the rest of the day. Perhaps no surprise that I picked up a bug the day after? It was just a reminder about the perils of training for Comrades through winter, which I guess I haven’t really noticed, because it’s my first one and I don’t have anything to compare it with. I think I’m lucky in that regard, because the more seasoned runners out there are probably asking, “what the hell am I doing training so hard in the cold and dark?”

Fortunately, Lindsey Parry talked me off the ledge, as my main concern was not being in the right shape to take on the RAC 60km Long Run, which is obviously a key part in my programme – perhaps more mentally than anything. As it stands, I’m unsure if I will line up, but feel more comfortable now, knowing that if I don’t, I will be back on the horse next week and getting stuck into my programme, with a long one at the end of it.

I see now why these long ones are so important, as not only do you have to get used to running on sore, tired legs, as I’ve alluded to before, but you’ve got to experience, endure and cope with the ups and downs of how you feel on these long runs. Sometimes it feels crap, and sometimes you feel great, but again, it’s the experience of knowing that this is all normal, and you’re not alone in feeling like this.

My concern remains my overall strength, and the strength of my legs, as I haven’t done as much of this kind of work as I would have liked, but all I can do is what’s possible. Again, another reminder that Comrades is a proper commitment, and it’s certainly not a piece of cake fitting it into other areas and commitments in your life.

Nonetheless, this week has been a sobering experience, and if I’m honest, I have enjoyed taking my foot off the gas slightly, not getting up early, and just parking my running, waiting for myself to get better. Am hoping my body will thank me for it and I’ll be properly back on the horse next week, if I can’t get to the start line at RAC. Onward and upward!


Road to Comrades with Dylan Rogers

Dylan Rogers is a sports journalist with Johannesburg radio station HOT 102.7FM and part of the Big Joburg Drive Show, which you can catch 3pm to 6pm Monday to Friday on either 102.7FM or streaming on He’ll be running his first Comrades Marathon in August, after accepting a dare from a friend, who has pledged to donate R500 to charity for every kilometre of Comrades that Dylan is able to complete. This is Dylan’s blog of his journey to the Comrades.

A pretty good week or so, with a couple of milestones. Firstly, it doesn’t matter how old you are, getting new shoes is always a little exciting and brings out the child in every one of us. I’m no different, even at the age of 47! Fortunately, some of my running mates told me that I shouldn’t go anywhere but Randburg Runner in Linden, and they were right. Nick at the store clearly ‘knows his onions,’ and I walked away with this pair of Brooks that I hope will get me to the finish line in Durban. More importantly, Nick gave me the sense of comfort that they will.

The next thing, of course, was putting them to the test. I happened to have an eight-kilometre time trial on my programme the following morning, and since I hadn’t done one in a while, I was curious to see what I could produce – with the new shoes, of course, as well. Anyway, I was pretty chuffed with breaking 25 minutes (24:40) for the 5k and 40 minutes (39:18) for the 8k for the first time, so the speed is looking good – it’s just the strength and endurance that needs constant attention between now and the start line.

Speaking of that, I followed that time trial up with a session at iMude Sport and Wellness in Parkmore, where Riaan has been panel-beating me over the past few months and getting my over-rotated pelvis into line, so the legs were a little stiff the day after. I shook that out with an easy run the day after and then a bit of mileage over the weekend – 19km (two hours) on Saturday and 30km (3:20) on Sunday.

There’s no doubt that this Comrades training thing is a big commitment, and not just from the runner’s perspective. My wife has had to shoulder the bulk of the responsibility with the kids whilst I’ve been out on the weekends, clocking up the hours and miles, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. Still, I’ve tried to fit in the weekend runs around my family, so there I was, running to the Country Club to meet them on the Saturday, and then running to my in-laws’ place at Blair Atholl, just past Lanseria Airport, on the Sunday – the latter requiring my wife dropping me at the bottom of Peter Place in Bryanston and seeing me nearly three-and-a-half hours later, once I’d navigated William Nicol, Fourways, Malibongwe etc!

The Epsom Salts bath after that was a bit of a treat. Was also good to do a couple of ‘warm’ runs, as this winter training thing largely sees me out early, in the Jo’burg cold, which is not how I’m going to be spending my 28 August. I suspect it’ll be a bit warmer than that! Anyway, more mileage again this week, before the big RAC Long Run on 24 July. Eek!

Launch of 2022 Comrades Marathon

It’s the much-awaited Comrades comeback!

After nearly two years of adhering to the National State of Disaster, the subsequent suspension of sporting events and the cancellation of both the 2020 and 2021 Centenary Comrades Marathons, the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) is thrilled to launch its #Comrades2022 campaign and announce its plans for this year’s race.

CMA Chairperson, Mqondisi Ngcobo unveiled the very appropriate campaign slogan, “The Return – Sishay’ Ibuya”, signaling the long-awaited return to road-running and a celebration of the comeback of The Ultimate Human Race.

The launch, hosted in Johannesburg today (Thursday, 17 February 2022) was attended by the nation’s top media, road-running dignitaries, CMA sponsors, stakeholders, former winners, elite athletes, and sports personalities.

Ngcobo has cautioned however that, “Runners will still need to exercise a degree of care and attentiveness when out running – be it exercising, training, spectating or participating in events. However, amid all the precautions and safety measures, we are just extremely pleased to be able to host the 2022 Comrades Marathon in August and invite the nation and the world to celebrate this milestone with us.”

He added, “The slogan is such a natural fit for this year’s upcoming event. The return of the Comrades Marathon, let alone all other road-running events, is something that runners have been eagerly awaiting. It is therefore with a great sense of pride and pleasure that we unveil this campaign, issue details around our upcoming 95th Comrades Marathon and create the conditions for our athletes to run the race that they love so much.”

The 95th Comrades Marathon will be a Down Run on Sunday, 28 August 2022. The race starts at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall at 05h30 and ends 12 hours later at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, covering a 90,2km distance. This will be the 47th Down Run in Comrades history.

Considering the current National legislation limitation on mass participation events, the entry limit has been capped at 15,000 entries. Due to Coronavirus and other health and safety implications, all entrants will need to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and produce their vaccine certificate to complete their entry status by 12 July.

The opening date for entries is Wednesday, 23 March 2022, when the first entry window period commences and runs for 1 week until 31 March 2022. During this window period, only those entrants who had successfully entered the 2020 Comrades Marathon will be able to enter, be they South Africa, the Rest of Africa, or International.

The entry fee for South African athletes will be discounted from R1200 to R1000 in the first entry window period, as per the CMA commitment when the 2020 race was cancelled. The rest of Africa and International entrants in the 2020 Comrades Marathon had their entries deferred to either the 2022 or 2023 race; and will therefore not pay an entry fee. 

During the second entry window period, from 20 April to 16 May 2022, all other athletes will be allowed to enter.

Entry fees for these entrants in the 2022 Comrades Marathon are as follows:

  • South Africa: R1200.00
  • Rest of Africa: R2000.00
  • International: R4500.00

Entry is free to all runners who have completed the Comrades Marathon 25 times or more.

This second entry window period will not apply should the entry cap have been reached during the first entry window period.

  • ASA rules only allow for online entries and will be done via the Comrades Marathon website:;

A special larger than normal commemorative medal denoting the 95th edition of the Comrades Marathon will be struck for this year’s race. A new trophy will also be introduced to the 20–39 years Women’s 2nd place team prize.

CMA Race Director, Rowyn James says, “We have exciting plans in place for this year’s Down Run which will finish at Durban’s acclaimed Moses Mabhida Stadium for the second time. Qualifying for the 2022 Comrades Marathon is applicable as of 1 September 2021 till 12 July 2022. The qualifying criteria for this year’s Comrades Marathon remains unchanged requiring completion of a standard 42.2km marathon in under 4 hours and 50 minutes, or a 56km ultra-marathon in under 6 hours and 45 minutes.”

The Substitution Process will run over the month of June. More details will be revealed closer to the time.

Since its inception, the Comrades Amabeadibeadi charity drive has raised more than R60-million for the CMA’s six official charities. The benefitting charities for 2022 are Childhood Cancer Foundation SA (CHOC), Community Chests of Pietermaritzburg & Durban, Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust, Hospice KZN, Rise Against Hunger, and Wildlands Conservation Trust.

The Race4Charity fundraising platform requires that runners raise a minimum of R6000 for the Amabeadibeadi charity of their choice, in order to qualify for the charity seeding batch on the start line. 500 entries have been reserved for Race4Charity runners. For more details on the Race4Charity initiative, click through to 

Ngcobo has called on all runners to support the charitable fundraising initiatives of the CMA, saying, “We urge all Comrades entrants to select the Official Charity closest to their heart and commit to running for a cause greater than themselves. As the CMA, we have placed great focus on benefitting the communities in which we operate and continuously adding value to the sport of athletics.”

Most Memorable Comrades

Most Memorable Comrades

The 2019 Comrades Marathon will be remembered for many reasons, but the two standout performances of the year were undoubtedly those of men’s winner Edward Mothibi and women’s winner Gerda Steyn. – BY SEAN FALCONER

Winning the Comrades Marathon is considered the pinnacle of achievement in South African road running, and adding that title to your name opens the door to fame, media attention, sponsorships, endorsements and more. However, the way that Edward Mothibi and Gerda Steyn won the Comrades titles in 2019 went a step further, and their performances in the Up Run from Durban to Pietermaritzburg will long live in the memory.

After an eventful men’s race that featured several changes of the lead and then an exciting breakaway group of five contenders, it eventually came down to Mothibi, who finished fourth last year in his debut Comrades, going head-to-head with three-time winner and double defending champ Bongmusa Mthembu as they hit the final ‘Big Five’ climb on Polly Shortts. With most people following the race expecting Mthembu to once again use his strength on the hills to pull clear, it looked like things would go according to script as he opened a small gap on the challenger, but instead it was Mothibi who threw in a surge of his own and made the decisive move on the notoriously steep hill.

The old adage once again proved true, that the first runner to crest the top of Polly’s with 8km to go will go on to win the race. By the top, Mothibi had pulled 20 seconds clear of Mthembu, and he then powered his way to the finish at the Scottsville Race Track in Pietermaritzburg to claim the win in 5:31:33. Mthembu finished 25 seconds adrift in 5:31:58, with World 100km record holder Nao Kazami of Japan taking third in 5:39:16 in his debut Comrades.

After the race, Mothibi said that he had dug deep into his reserves of strength to overcome Mthembu up Polly’s, but that he had actually surprised himself by winning: “I didn’t plan to win; I just wanted a gold medal! I gave it all. I just pushed harder.” For his part, a gracious Mthembu conceded that the better man on the day won, and he added, “I could see Edward had a plan… everything I did he could respond to.”

Other notable finishers in the men’s race included Justin Chesire coming home sixth to become the first Kenyan to win a Comrades gold medal, and Zimbabwean Marko Mambo finishing eighth and first veteran. Also, in a heartbreaking finale, Nkosikhona Mhlakwana made a late surge to overtake Gordon Lesetedi and Siya Mqambeli to go into ninth position with just a hundred metres to go, only to stumble and falter, then watch helplessly as the last gold medal eluded him. Further back in the field, 1995 winner Shaun Meiklejohn finished his 30th Comrades in 6:56:16, while the two leading Comrades medallists of all time, Barry Holland and Louis Massyn, achieved their 47th consecutive medals in 10:29:42 and 11:51:52 respectively.

Majestic Gerda
The early leader in the women’s race was 2017 Down Run winner Ann Ashworth, who was on pace to run a 6:03 and smash Elena Nurgalieva’s Up Run record of 6:09:24, but it was Gerda Steyn who took control of the race just before the 30km mark, then flew up Botha’s Hill and further extending her lead to just under two minutes over Ashworth by the halfway mark in Drummond. For the rest of the race she serenely extended her lead, never looking troubled, and reached the finish in an incredible 5:58:53, smiling, waving and even doing a jig on the line.

Steyn had won the Two Oceans Marathon for a second time just seven weeks before the Comrades, where she missed Frith van der Merwe’s course record by just 53 seconds after deciding not to push too hard and thus save her legs for the Comrades. It didn’t look like the 56km Cape ultra had any adverse effect on her Comrades performance, however, as she became the first woman ever to complete the Up Run in less than six hours. Reminiscent of Van der Merwe’s incredible winning run in 1991, when she finished 15th overall in the Comrades field, Steyn came home 17th overall, winning by a margin of nearly 19 minutes over second-placed Alexandra Morozova of Russia (6:17:40), who was also second in 2017 and third last year. Third place went to debutant Caitriona Jennings of Ireland in 6:24:12, with Ashworth taking fourth in 6:27:15.

Steyn’s performance earned her a cool R1.2 million in prize money – R500,000 for first place, and incentives of R500,000 for a new course record and R200,000 as first South African finisher. Her winning time is the fourth-fastest ever run by a woman in the Comrades (although the three faster times were all on the Down Run), and she is just the fourth woman ever to win the Two Oceans and Comrades in the same year, after Van der Merwe (1989), Elena Nurgalieva (2004 and 2012) and Caroline Wöstmann (2015). After the race, Steyn said, “It is a dream come true! Many years of hard work came together today. It’s a real blessing… it’s the biggest achievement I can ask for.”