The women’s champion Camille Herron (Nedbank Running Club) definitely will be back to race Comrades again and if she has her way it won’t be the last time she wins.
“I have told Bruce Fordyce I want to win the Comrades at least ten times so that I can surpass his record of nine victories. That is if my legs hold out.” Herron joked.
There seems to be no stopping the American. Racing again is the last thing most of the athletes who competed on Sunday will think about at the moment but not Herron. She has already set herself a new goal. That is to win the Western States 100 miler in three weeks’ time. For her it is a case of so many goals so little time.
Herron views her Comrades victory as the biggest of her career.
“I fought very hard for it and got the redemption I wanted, after getting sick and collapsing in 2014. I've had a truly remarkable life and running career. This is the most meaningful and significant win so far.
“Winning Comrades is like winning the Boston or New York marathons in America! It's the one race that non ultra-runners may have heard of. It was the only ultra I had heard of until recent years because of my first running book, Lore of Running. To say I've won it is very emotional and surreal. It feels like the whole country is behind you and the race. While I've won two ultra-world titles, this win has more historical significance and prestige behind it.
“As far as the race, I ran within myself from the start, focusing on 75-80% effort. I was trying to keep something in reserve so I could get past the first 40km of climbs and drop the pace down to give the course record a shot. However, my ‘hammies’ were pulling and said no records today. I had to fight my body to hang on for the win. I had a large enough lead on the second half which allowed me the luxury to stop and spend more time at the aid stations, including getting some beer and ginger beer.
“I felt pretty good the final 10 kilometres and told myself if it was hard for me it was hard for everyone. Coming into the finish I got confused by the first timing mat-arch being where I got handed the rose. I thought it was the finish, but it wasn't. I'm thankful to the other runner who tapped me and said to keep going around the corner. The real finish was much better.
“The energy of the crowds and the support along the course is unreal. Comrades is a very special experience, and I hope I can bring more Americans over with me to experience it.”