SA Runners Take Top Honours At Comrades 2018
18,500 brave runners started the 2018 Comrades Marathon, but only two could win the ultimate prize.
At 5:30am, the cock crowed, the gun fired, and 18,500 runners started their journey from Pietermaritzburg to Durban. The elite field of both men and women pushed the pace right from the get-go.
In the men’s race, Bongmusa Mthembu, David Gatebe and Edward Mothibi split from the dominant field of runners with around 45km to go. Powering ahead, Mthembu took his big break in Pinetown and never looked back, blazing to his third Comrades win in 5:26:34. Mthembu won last year’s Comrades Marathon, therefore making him the second local runner since Bruce Fordyce to win this ultra-marathon back-to-back.
He was followed in second by SA’s Joseph Mphuthi (5:35:09), and England’s Steven Way in 5:35:27. After the race, Mthembu said that it was always his plan to win Comrades this year, “I’ve been training since December – the plan was always to win Comrades.”
In the women’s race, favourites to win were Gerda Steyn, who won this year’s Two Oceans Ultra, as well as previous winner Charné Bosman. Russian Nina Zarina lead the race from early on, but was soon overtaken by Bosman, Steyn, Morozova and Ashworth.
Cowies Hill was the game-changer where Ashworth made her move, and ultimately ran her way to victory at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in 6:10:04. She was followed by Gerda Steyn (6:15:34) and Alexandra Morozova in 6:20:21.
Ashworth was surprised with her win, “I don’t think there’s anyone more surprised that I’m here than me! I followed the plan and look what happened! There was a lot of hot pace upfront and I didn’t want to get sucked up in it. I ran my own race and it worked!”