Get to know the top male and female contenders for the 96th Comrades Marathon in 2023. Discover their records, previous achievements, and potential for the ultimate victory.
Tete Dijana, the defending champion of the Comrades Marathon, is a strong contender for the top spot. Despite having limited official records, Dijana’s impressive ultramarathon performances make him a force to be reckoned with. With a recent 50km time faster than the official world record, Dijana is in excellent form for the 2023 race.
Edward Mothibi, a former Comrades Marathon winner, brings a systematic approach to his races. With a marathon personal best and successful history at Comrades, Mothibi’s speed and experience make him a challenger for the top position once again.
Bongmusa Mthembu, recognized as one of the greatest ultramarathoners in the world, boasts an impressive record in both Comrades and other ultrarunning events. With his vast experience and intimate knowledge of the race, Mthembu is expected to be a significant factor in the 2023 Comrades Marathon.
Nkosikhona Mhlakwana, often referred to as the “New Kid on the Block,” has shown remarkable improvement in recent years. With notable finishes in various ultramarathons and a second-place finish at the Two Oceans Marathon, Mhlakwana is a young ultramarathoner with great potential.
Dan Matshailwe, a member of the Nedbank team, impressed with a third-place finish in the previous Comrades Marathon. Matshailwe’s speed and training alongside experienced teammates position him as a contender for a podium finish in the 2023 race.
Joseph Manyedi, initially considered an unlikely contender, has steadily improved his performance in recent Comrades Marathons. With consistent top-ten finishes and continuous progress, Manyedi’s determination and experience make him a formidable presence on the race day.
Mahlomola Sekhonyana, known for his meticulous preparation and dedication to training, aims to replicate his strong fourth-place finish from 2019. With an impressive marathon personal best, Sekhonyana’s quiet approach and under-the-radar progress make him a dangerous adversary.
Onalenna Khonkhobe, the unofficial pacemaker of the Nedbank team in the previous year’s race, caught everyone’s attention with his blistering pace. Although unable to finish, Khonkhobe’s speed and potential suggest he could play a crucial role in challenging the race’s record this year.
Several other athletes should not be underestimated as they vie for a top-ten finish. Their determination, skills, and previous performances make them worthy contenders in the 2023 Comrades Marathon, these include last year’s 10th-place finisher Lutendo Mapoto and perennial dangerman, Gordon Lesetedi.
Gerda Steyn is a crowd favorite and a top contender for the 2023 Comrades Marathon. She aims not only to win the race but also to break the long-standing record set by Frith van der Merwe in 1988 (5:54:43). Steyn has already proven her capabilities by smashing the Up Run best time, finishing 17th overall with a time of 5:58:53, surpassing Elena Nurgalieva’s previous record (6:09:24). With her impressive marathon times and determination, Steyn is poised to make a resounding statement at this year’s event.
Ann Ashworth, a member of Hollywood Athletics Club, is a force to be reckoned with at the 2023 Comrades Marathon. She recently ran the Seville Marathon in 2:39:47, which boosted her confidence after recovering from an injury. Ashworth’s previous achievements, including winning the Comrades Marathon in 2018 with a time of 6:10:04, make her a top contender for a podium finish. Her familiarity with the route and training experience in Durban further strengthen her chances in the race.
Last year’s Comrades Marathon winner, Alexandra Morozova, displayed remarkable pacing and strategy to claim the title in 2022 with a time of 6:17:48. She is a seasoned marathoner, with a personal best of 2:32:44. Morozova’s hunger for competition is evident in her racing schedule, as she participated in multiple marathons in the lead-up to the event. However, this intensive racing regime may affect her performance in the long run.
Dominika Stelmach, a Polish athlete, has proven her resilience in previous Comrades Marathons. Finishing fifth in 2019 and second in 2022, Stelmach is known for her tenacity and love for pushing her limits. Despite participating in numerous ultramarathons, including a grueling 24-hour race, she maintains a strong performance record. Stelmach’s marathon personal best of 2:36:45 adds to the fierce competition among the women vying for a spot on the podium.
Adele Broodryk made an impressive debut at the Comrades Marathon, securing third place in 2022. Her early surge in the race showed her determination, although a more strategic approach may have yielded an even better result. Broodryk aims to learn from her past experience and has expressed her desire to win the race. Despite not matching her previous year’s record-breaking time, her recent performance indicates that she is in good shape and ready to compete.
Galaletsang Mekgoe, who achieved fifth place in the 2022 Comrades Marathon, could pose a significant challenge in this year’s race. As a novice in 2022, Mekgoe trained alongside Dave Adams’ successful training group, gaining valuable experience. Her fifth-place finish in the previous edition was the best performance by a black woman since the race became open to all in 1975. Mekgoe’s visualization techniques during training contribute to her success, and she will undoubtedly approach this year’s race with confidence and determination.
Camille Herron, a former Comrades Marathon winner (2017), is a renowned figure in the ultramarathon world. Her recent achievements include setting a world record over 48 hours and surpassing the men’s US 48-hour record. Although Herron primarily focuses on longer distances, her experience and exceptional endurance make her a formidable contender for one of the ten gold medals at this year’s Comrades Marathon.
Caitriona Jennings, who secured third place in 2019, has consistently performed well in various ultramarathons. Her notable accomplishments include setting a national record in the 100km event in 2022 and achieving podium finishes in multiple races. With her track record of success, Jennings is expected to be a strong contender for a gold medal and potentially challenge for the top positions.
Annerie Wooding, who finished second in this year’s Om Die Dam Marathon, is considered a contender for a top position in the Comrades Marathon. Her ninth-place finish in 2022 demonstrates her capabilities, and she aims to improve upon that performance in the upcoming race. Helena Joubert, who secured seventh place in 2022, shares a similar ambition and has the potential to achieve a top-ten finish once again.
The 96th Comrades Marathon will be run on Sunday, 11 June 2023, starting at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall at 05h30 and ending 12 hours later at the Hollywoodbets Kingsmead Cricket Stadium in Durban. The distance will be 87,7km. This will be the 48th Comrades Down Run.
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