ROAD NEWS: Comrades preview and Women's Running Roundup w/ending 3/6/19

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Running two marathons in a year for the first time for Ethiopia’s Aberash Fayesa who ran a 2:28 in Barcelona in March and comfortably won this race. Stockholm isn’t the flatest race in the world and the conditions were not perfect, but given that Japan’s Haruku Yamaguchi who was running ran a 2:33 debut marathon in Tokyo in March was second, I suspect it wasn’t too much of an effort for Fayesa. 2017 and 2018’s champ Mikaela Larrsson had to settle for 3rd place this year but it’s been a good year otherwise for her with a 2:31:31 PB for a 17th place finish at London in April which moved her into the 7th All Time ranking for Sweden. What I love most about stalking her on instagram this week is that she appears to have recovered from the race by volunteering for young athletes. Classy.

mikaela larsson

Yorkshire Marathon 2018 winner Katherine Wood of Sale Harriers, Manchester had a great run, coming in 8th. Not a PB but but a strong one nonetheless

  1. Fayesa, Aberash (ETH) 02:33:38

  2. Yamaguchi, Haruka (JPN) 02:34:04

  3. Larsson, Mikaela (SWE) 02:36:32

  4. Bäcklund, Johanna (SWE) 02:39:08

  5. Lindholm, Hanna (SWE) 02:41:31

8. Katherine Wood (GBR)   2:43:41


The top four all finished inside the previous course record of 2:31:22, set in 2015. 8 went through 30k in 1:47:29 (2:31:10 marathon pace) which must have been rather a stroll in the park for Worknesh Edesa, the obvious favourite going into the race, with a PB of 2:21:05 set in Dubai earlier this year. The top four was locked in by 35k and a little surge shortly after allowed Edesa to get some space, though the top three were all within 27 seconds of each other.

Edesa has previously won the Xiamen Marathon in 2016

First non-Ethiopian was China’s Jiao Anjing in 8th place (2:58:46). China then took all the spots from 8-20.

  1. Workenesh Edesa, ETH, 2:30:22 (2:21:05 PB, Dubai 2019)

  2. Guteni Shone Imana, ETH, 2:30:40

  3. Fantu Eticha Jimma, ETH, 2:30:49

  4. Sifan Melaku Demise, ETH, 2:31:38

  5. Fatuma Sado Dergo, ETH, 2:32:46


GB’s Alice Wright who trains in Flagstaff, Northern Arizona as part of the HOKA NAZ Elite team had a great run and one that suggests  her first year of being an elite athlete is starting to pay off rather nicely. Coach Ben Rosario must be pretty chuffed too given that, as their instagram points out, that’s three PB’s in a row. I’m really excited to see her race at the awesome Night of the 10,000m PB’s event in London in July. Oh, and I still want one of those NAZ Elite vests! They are so cool! You can hear more from Alice on her team’s podcast ‘The Midday Treat’ here.


  1. Rahma Tusa 01:09:08

  2. Meseret Belete 01:10:29

  3. Alice Wright 01:11:37

  4. Margarita Hernandez 01:13:33

  5. Valerie Sanchez 01:14:41



Fast Running are first in line to get the Night of the 10,000m PB’s hype going as they report on news of the British Athletics squad for the European 10,000m Cup, which is part of the event.

Charlotte Arter (Cardiff; Chris Jones) - 3rd last year
Sarah Inglis (Lothian; Mark Bomba)
Eilish McColgan (Dundee Hawkhill; Liz Nuttall)
Verity Ockenden (Swansea; Tony Houchin)
Jess Piasecki (Stockport; Robert Hawkins)
Alice Wright (Worcester; Ben Rosario)

More on that in the week beforehand.


From IAAF News

Kelsey Bruce, 2:31:53, 2019

Carrie Dimoff, 2:30:53, 2017

Roberta Groner, 2:29:09, 2019



There’s lots of chat about it being a fast year and who might take home the R1-million in prize money if they can break Elena Nurgalieva’s 2006 up-run record. Let’s take a look at the contenders

Ann Ashworth, RSA - Defending champion

Ann Ashworth comrades

Ann was apparently bit of a surprise winner on the down run last year. She was still working as an Advocate at the time but has been trying the life of a full time athlete this year. Ashworth is far from blazé about her chances, saying “My build up to Comrades 2019 has required more training and harder work than ever before. While this year has been less eventful than last, emotionally it has been far more stressful. I can't decide if I'm ready to just get the race over with, or whether I wish I could have another months worth of training. So here goes - a race of no regrets. Because no matter what happens on 9 June 2019, no one can take 10 June 2018 away from me. And that race, that day, will always be, the best day of my life”. She’s in good form though having run a personal Best of 2:35 at the Valencia Marathon in December of last year. Lets see how she copes with the up!

Camille Herron, USA - 2017 winner

Camille Herron Comrades

Cajsa’s hot tip for the win.
Camille won Comrades last time it was an ‘up’ year, which surely makes a strong case for her to be favourite this time around.. She didn’t return in 2018 due to injury.  Since then she’s had a right old year of it, in December she set a new 100-mile record at the Desert Solstice Track Invitational, miraculously survived a really nasty car crash in Feb, broke the 100mile course record in Tawawera two weeks later and has recently pulled out of the Sonoma 50 to save herself from any niggles. That sounds like someone who is going for the win! Not only that but our resident ultra-expert Cajsa wisely points out that she’s more than likely got her eye on the Ann Trason Double. USA’s Trason won both WS100 and Comrades just weeks apart in 1996 and 1997.

Charne Bosman, RSA - 2016 winner (‘down’ year)

Charne Bosman comments:

“43-year-old Bosman is in red hot form and could well win the race to add an up-run win to her 2016 down-run triumph. Bosman won the Johnson Crane Hire Marathon at altitude in January and the Om Die Dam Marathon at Hartbeespoort Dam in March. One of South Africa’s most consistent athletes in recent years, she has five gold medals from six starts at the Comrades Marathon.”

Gerda Steyn, RSA - 2nd in 2018 to Ashworth

Part of the Nedbank team like Camille Herron. Steyn is on good form having recently won Two oceans for the second time in a row and in a time 8 minutes faster that 2018. Last year she also ran a PB of 2:31 at New York Marathon.

Devon Yanko, USA

Yanko has won 3 gold medals at Comrades in 2012, 2017 and 2018. She ran her third fastest (1s of 2nd fastest) marathon in Houston in January

Other people I’ll be interested in watching:

Chrissie Wellington, GBR

Back in Oct Wellington was debating whether to enter

She did! Hear her talking on this Marathon Talk interview about how she feels now that the race is looming. As a four-time Ironman Triathlon World Champion and world recrod holder she’s used to a long time out racing, but not all spent running. She’s Head of Participation for Park Run these days.

Heather Fell, GBR
Fell is a former British modern pentathlete turned triathlete and now she is about to run her first every Ultra. Nothing like choosing a low profile one to start with ;)

She won Silver in the pentathlon at the 2008 Olympics.

Kajsa Berg (SWE)   - 3rd in 2016

Having taken silver in  the World 100k Champs and Gold in the European version in 2015Berg followed it up with a 3rd place at Comrades in 2016. She came 9th in the 2018 100k World Champs, so may not be at her finest right now.

Sidenote: Salome Cooper of South Africa came 7th in that race. She’s in the website start list for Comrades this year but not in the official elit list so I’m not sure if she’s running.

Caitriona Jennings(IRL)

Irish long distance runner who competed in the marathon at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Won RNR Dublin half in 1:22 in 2018

Katerina Kasparova (CZE)

Ran Spartathlon for her country last year, so is quite happy on road-ultras. There’s no reason to think she’ll trouble the podium but it’ll be interesting to see what her first experience of Comrades is like.

Race No.First NameSurnameCountryRunning Club
42795Charne BosmanRSAMurray & Roberts Running Club - CG
483Ann AshworthRSAMassmart Athletics Club - CG
30929GerdaSteynRSANedbank Running Club Johannesburg
36241Devon YankoUSAMurray and Roberts
15075Camille HerronUSANedbank International
16868NandiZaloumisRSABoxer Super Store
30062KateReesRSAWanderers Athletic Club
20680JanineRawlinsonRSAWanderers Athletic Club
44555LisaCollettRSACrusaders Running Club
54048JanieGrundlingRSAMurray & Roberts Running Club - KZN
24647JacquelineKellermanRSAMurray & Roberts Running Club - CG
26489UlricaStanderRSAMurray & Roberts Running Club - WP
19157StellarBhenguRSATeam Vitality - CG
42796NtobezentuMfunziRSANedbank Running Club Eastern Province


Next in the Rock’N’Roll series.

Last year the Marathon was won by Katryna Williams in 03:04:08 and the Half by Anna Farello in 01:19:18