COMRADES 2018 / BONGMUSA MTHEMBU WINS FOR THIRD TIME

Bongmusa Mthembu of South Africa emerged overall winner at Comrades 2018, held this Sunday.

He finished the race in 5:26:34 hours.

Joseph Mphuthi, also of South Africa, finished second with a timing of 5:35:09. Britain’s Stephen Way finished third, completing the ultramarathon in 5:35:27.

For Mthembu, it was his third win at Comrades.

He had previously won in 2014 and 2017. Last year he completed the race, which was run uphill, in 5:35:34.

Among women at Comrades 2018, Ann Ashworth of South Africa won with a timing of 6:10 hours.

In second place was Gerda Steyn of South Africa (6:15:34) while Alexandra Morozova of Russia (6:20:21) placed third.

Surat-based Sandeep Kumar appeared the fastest among Indians who participated in the event. He completed the 90.184 kilometer-ultramarathon in 7:30:17, ranking 628 overall, 601 among men and 376 in his category.

This was the 93rd edition of Comrades, the world’s biggest and oldest ultramarathon. As per the event’s official website featuring results, 16,844 runners participated in 2018. According to news reports, Bongmusa Mthembu is the first South African to win Comrades back to back since Bruce Fordyce in the late 1980s. Fordyce holds the record for the most number of wins – nine. Eight of those wins were consecutive. Participating in the period from 1977 to 2012, he ran the race 30 times.

A total of 161 runners from India had registered to participate in the 2018 edition of the race, run annually between Durban and Peitermaritzburg in South Africa. This year, the run was downhill from Pietermaritzburg to Durban with finish at Moses Mabhida Stadium in the coastal city of Durban.

(The author, Latha Venkatraman, is an independent journalist based in Mumbai.)

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