The 2016 Comrades Marathon in numbers

The 91st edition of “The Ultimate Human Race” takes place this Sunday with the race starting at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall and will end at Kingsmead Stadium in Durban. ALICIA PILLAY-WAGIET rounds up some figures behind this year’s race.

It’s the most gruelling ultra marathon in the world as runners navigate the 89 kilometres between the two cities.


There are 21, 532 runners taking part in this year’s race. Of the total number of participants, 7, 201 are novices. The race has a long history of first-time runners winning as Bill Rowan got the trend going back in 1921. But it has been 13 years since the last novice won – one of the famous Nurgalieva twins, Elena, won in 2003.


Sigrid Eichner is the oldest female runner at 76, while Barry Varty is the oldest runner overall at 77 years old.


19, 626 runners are from South Africa, while the biggest number of participants from outside the country are from Great Britain.

Gauteng has the biggest representation of all the Provinces with 9, 492 runners. KwaZulu Natal and Western Cape are second and third on that list.

There is a pretty sum of prize money for the winners. The first male and female winner will receive R400, 000. While the first South African runners will get a cash prize of R190, 000. Total prize money for those finishing in the Top 10 is R2 040 000.


Now, for a few quirky stats from the race.

Could you guess what the most popular surname is amongst the runners? It would be Dlamini. There are 115 of them, with 95 Smiths taking part.

Runners come from all walks of life, from firefighters to graphic designers, eight air traffic controllers, and even a professional hunter.

But how will they be fed and watered, you ask?

46 refreshment stations will be along the 89km route and will provide:
• 30, 350 litres of Coke
• 10,650 litres of Fanta/Crème Soda
• 750, 000 Energade sachets
• 1.7 million water sachets
• 100,000 Megaload sachets
• 15, 000 Mageu Number 1 sachets
• 9 tons of bananas
• 8 tons of oranges
• 1 ton of biscuits
• 21,000 Racefood energy bars


Looks like the runners won’t be wanting for anything on the day.

The race starts at 5:30am on Sunday. Good luck to all taking part!


Alicia Pillay bio picAlicia Pillay-Wagiet is a multimedia journalist, with experience in broadcast, online and social media, specialising in sports reporting. She loves all and every sport, but is especially passionate about soccer, rugby and golf.

Featured image via Comrades Marathon on Facebook