The 93rd annual Comrades Marathon is upon us and on June 10, 2018, approximately 20 000 runners will test their bodies to the limit as they participate in 'The Ultimate Human Race'.
This year the race will be a down run from Pietermaritzburg to Durban (Moses Mabhida Stadium) over an excruciating 89-kilometre distance.
The 2018 edition has already seen 21 213 entries for the race and if the motto of 'Asijiki' is adhered to they will all be in attendance - it translates as 'no turning back'.
The competition is rich in history, with the latest chapter to be written on Sunday. Here are seven things you probably didn't know about the Comrades Marathon.
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1. South African Dominance
Men: The previous 6 winners (2012 - 2017) of the Comrades Marathon have all been South Africans with Bongmusa Mthembu taking the title in 2017 and in 2014.
2017: Bongmusa Mthembu 🇿🇦
2016: David Gatebe 🇿🇦
2015: Gift Kelehe 🇿🇦
2014: Bongmusa Mthembu 🇿🇦
2013: Claude Moshiywa 🇿🇦
2012: Ludwick Mamabolo 🇿🇦
Women: The previous five winners in the women's race have seen a variety of nationalities take the podium, with the last five winners coming from South Africa, United States, Russia and the United Kingdom, including the ever-present Elena Nurgallieva.
2017: Camille Heron 🇺🇸
2016: Charne Bosman 🇿🇦
2015: Caroline Wostman 🇿🇦
2014: Eleanor Greenwood 🇬🇧
2013: Elena Nurgallieva 🇷🇺
Unfortunately, not everyone who competes in the marathon wins a medal, here are how the medals are awarded:
Gold: First 10 runners to finish 🏅
Silver-Gold: 11th position to sub-6hrs
Silver: 6hrs 00min to sub-7hrs 30min.
Bronze-Silver: 7hrs 30min to sub-9hrs
Bronze: 9hrs 00min to sub-11hrs
Copper: 11hrs 00min to sub-12hrs
3. Race records
Men: There are two categories of record for the Comrades Marathon, as the race switches from upward when running from Durban to Pietermaritzburg and downward when running the other way.
Up: Leonid Shvetsov 🇷🇺 (5:24:39) (2008)
Down: David Gatebe 🇿🇦 (5:18:19) (2016)
Up: Elena Nurgalieva 🇷🇺 (6:09: 23) (2006)
Down: Frith Van Der Merwe 🇿🇦 (5:54:43) (1989)
4. Most wins
The thrill, pain and gratification of participating in the Comrades Marathon may make athletes want to compete again, so there are a number of repeat winners. Here is a look at who holds the record for the most wins.
Men: Bruce Fordyce 🇿🇦 (9 wins)
Women: Elena Nurgallieva 🇷🇺 (8 wins)
5. Most medals
With 12 hours in which to win a medal, there are a number of runners who have won more than one. However, there is only one person who holds the record.
Dave Rogers 🇿🇦 (45 medals)
6. First black winner
The first black runner was Robert Mtshali in 1935. He completed the race but was not given an official finish. Vincent Rakabele was the first black runner to officially win a medal in 1975.
7. 93rd Edition
The Comrades Marathon's first official race was in 1921 and there were just 16 official finishers in that race. The race was not run between 1941 and 1945 as a result of World War II.
The 2018 edition will be the 93rd Comrades Marathon. The first gun to signal the start of the race is scheduled for 5:30 am on Sunday.