History Of The Comrades Marathon

Men's Health |

Started by Vic Clapham, a First World War veteran, to commemorate his fallen com- rades, the first race was run on 24 May 1921.

During the war, Clapham was in the Eighth South African Infantry, and had marched 2 720km through Africa battling German Commander Von Lettow-Vorbeck and his battalions.

After the war ended, he wanted to create a unique tribute to the fallen soldiers and, remembering the hot, dry conditions and distances they had to cover in the war, decided that a marathon would be a fitting reminder.

In the first race there were 34 runners, of whom only 16 were able to finish.

The race has taken place every year since (except for the years during WWII), and covers the distance between Durban and Pietermaritzburg.

Comprising five big hills (some would say mountains) with smaller undulations in-between, the distance can vary slightly due to route changes, but it’s always between 88 and 91km.

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