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1 June 2018
Comrades Marathon 2018

To Nedbank athletes ready for Comrades Marathon 2018:

We are pleased to announce that a record number of Nedbank Running Club athletes qualified for the 2018 Comrades Marathon. There will be 804 Nedbank Running Club athletes at the starting line in Pietermaritzburg for the downrun on 10 June.

The exciting new finish will be at Moses Mabhida Stadium and this will make it one of the longest races, totalling a distance of 90,1 km – so be prepared!

Please wear your Nedbank/Nike running kit with pride to feel part of the Nedbank Green Dream Team.

Nedbank Running Club marquee at the finish at Moses Mabhida Stadium

We will once again have a hospitality marquee for all Nedbank Running Club members, and this one promises to be special!

The hospitality marquee will be situated inside the stadium on the north-eastern side, just above the tunnel where the runners will enter the stadium. The marquee will occupy suites 326 to 330. Look out for the Nedbank  feather flags Click here to see the stadium map

The marquee will be managed by Nedbank staff wearing FutureLife and Nedbank shirts. You will be met at the exit of the finishing tunnels by a Nedbank representative, who will hand you a VIP pouch comprising one food voucher and two drinks vouchers. These vouchers can be exchanged at the Nedbank marquee. There will be a variety of cold drinks, ciders, beers and coffee and tea on offer. We will also have some of our sponsors’ nutritional products for you to try and see how they will enhance your recovery of this epic ultramarathon.

Please feel welcome to ask your relatives and friends to sit in the stadium seating just below and around our marquee. We will be handing them special Nedbank flags to wave so they can cheer on our runners as they enter the stadium.

There will be a FutureLife smoothie corner and Biogen energy bars and drinks for you. There will also be masseuse therapists to see if they can help to ease some pain away while massaging you with Arnica Ice.

We thank Nature’s Choice for the coconut water that will be on offer to our athletes.

Please remember that this year there willl be ample space for family members and friends at the seating around our hospitality marquee inside the stadium. Please remember that your entry to the marquee is guaranteed only if you wear your official Nedbank running kit and 2018 Comrades race number.


Biogen Comrades specials for Nedbank Running Club members only

Our nutrition partner Biogen has put together some amazing offers for Nedbank Running Club members, exclusively available at the Dis-Chem stand (A43 to A46) at the Comrades Marathon Expo, which takes place at the Durban Exhibition Centre from 7 to 9 June 2018. Present the wi-code number listed below when paying and receive the discounts mentioned. Note these deals are not available in normal Dis-Chem retail outlets.


Nedbank Green Dream Team

The Nedbank Green Dream Team will be flying the green flag at the front of the race.

We are expecting to see the Nedbank Running Club’s top elite runners competing for line honours again. Look out for stalwards such as Ludwick Mamabolo, Mike Fokoroni, Eric Ngubane, Hatiwande Nyamande and Marko Mambo [NOTE: Please check]. They will be supported by fellow top national Nedbank athletes and I am sure we will see new faces in the top 10 this year.

They will be supported by our international Nedbank athletes such as Steve Way and Fritjof Fagerlund.

In the woman's race we are looking forward to the performances of South African stalwart and defending downrun champion Charné Bosman, supported by top KwaZulu-Natal athlete Fikile Mbutuma and new star Gerda Steyn. There are also a host of talented international women athletes, such as Sarah Bard, who will be representing the Nedbank Green Dream Team.

Please visit our website at to see all the top athletes CV`s 

Preparing for Comrades

Comrades – the race of mental strength

‘You have to know how to fight for what you want in life to win Comrades, because the factor that separates the winner from the other frontrunners in this legendary ultramarathon is mental strength.’

I’m talking to Nick Bester, National Manager of the Nedbank Running Club, who has 50 elite, Green Dream Team runners entering this year’s Comrades. In a total field of 23 000 runners, 804 of them will be from the 4 200 strong Nedbank Running Club.

This year’s Comrades, the 93rd, will be a downrun on Sunday, 10 June. The race starts at Pietermaritzburg City Hall at 05:30 and ends at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, covering a distance of approximately 90,1 km.

‘Comrades is about strength; you naturally need to be physically strong, fit and muscular, but, most importantly, you have to have to be exceptionally mentally strong. You must have this in you; it is what separates those who come first from those who come second,’ says Bester.

‘The physical coaching is far easier than mental coaching; we have the recipe for the physical side, but mental strength is one of the most difficult things to teach someone.’

Mental fitness, he explains, defines who you are, and it is informed by how you grew up. ‘Kids that have been brought up too easy often don’t know how to fight for what they want in life. They give up too easily and you have to have fight to the end to win Comrades,’ says Bester, himself a Comrades winner (1991), who speaks from experience. He grew up the hard way.

To enhance your mental strength Bester says, ‘You have to train your brain to concentrate on positive thoughts, as positive thoughts need to be repeated several times before they are stored in the brain. Negative thoughts store far more quickly than positive ones, which is why it is far easier to be negative.’

He attests to the ‘amazing positivity and mental strength’ of the Nedbank Running Team’s top 10 men and 10 women Comrades runners who have won a string of titles. ‘We invest in winners, but these are winners who are pleasant to work with, who know how to keep their feet on the ground even when they are at the top. They remain teamplayers and help their teammates; we don’t like prima donnas and we won’t invest in them.’

After dominating the Two Oceans, the Diacore Gaborone Marathon in Botswana and several other distance races this year, Bester is excited and confident about Comrades. ‘With everything we do, from the team to the management to the sponsors, we aspire to be better than number one, and that is how we train and coach the athletes, and approach all the races.’

The final polishing for Comrades starts 10 weeks ahead of the race, with a combination of running training, endurance work, gym work and cross-training, combined with a high-performance diet. ‘I believe in a diet of proteins and fats, supplemented with carbohydrates, notably fruit, vegetables and potatoes, but avoiding gluten-heavy carbohydrates, which can cause sinus issues. We also supplement the diet with Biogen and FutureLife products, which have a lot of vitamins and minerals,’ says Bester.

Each of the elite athletes’ pre-Comrades training programmes is tailored to their individual needs and preferences, as Bester explains. A runner such as 2012 Comrades winner Ludwick Mamabolo likes to enter races to get into shape; 2018 Two Oceans 56 km winner Gerda Steyn does a lot of cross-training; and 2016 Comrades winner Charné Bosman puts in the mega-miles. Several times Comrades runnerup, Mike Fokoroni, likes to train alone at home in Zimbabwe.

Several weeks ahead of Comrades, the elite athletes train from the Nedbank Running Club camps around the country, including Pretoria, Dullstroom, Graskop, Underberg, Stutterheim, Magoebaskloof and AfriSki in Lesotho. Small groups of elite athletes come together to train in these camps, rather than all of them training in one or two large camps. ‘They are highly competitive and tend to treat each training session as a race, which can be too hard on their bodies, which is why we divided them up into small groups,’ says Bester.

Mike Fokoroni’s pre-Comrades training camp is 90 km east of Harare. He trains there until the end of May, when he comes to South Africa ahead of the race. ‘I’m feeling highly prepared and good about this year’s Comrades,’ he says. ‘The downrun is my favourite as I have a lot of speed, and I’m hoping to be in the top three.’

Fokoroni completed his last longer pre-Comrades run of 52 km in the last week of May, and eases down on his distance until Comrades, with 20 km to 25 km runs and plenty of stretching.  Diet-wise, he says, ‘I take fruits as my booster. I don’t eat much red meat, instead I eat fish and chicken and vegetables. I don’t eat much fat, but I do eat bread, rice and potatoes, as well as FutureLife and Biogen.’

With regard to mental strength, he says: ‘I’m an Olympian and I’m self-motivated, so I must protect my dignity as an Olympian by doing well. When I’m running Comrades, I just think of running like an Olympic runner, not like a jogger (he laughs) and this gives me mental and physical strength and power. I also keep the noise from the crowd in the background as I don’t want it to detract from my focus.’

Charné Bosman initially trained in the Graskop camp, and then did the last couple of weeks of her training in Pretoria near her home. ‘I want the last few days before Comrades to go fast. I won the downrun in 2016 and I really enjoy it because of my speed,’ she says. To boost her performance this past year she did more gym training, increasing from two or three sessions a week to five or six.

To mentally prepare for Comrades, she visualises the race, especially during the preceding two weeks. ‘I also focus on feeling great, as I know that I have been training hard for this race and it only comes once a year, so we mustn’t forget to also enjoy it. It is such a privilege to have the biggest ultramarathon in the world in South Africa.’

Gerda Steyn, who is personally trained by Nick Bester, did the bulk of her heavy training, including cross-training, in Lesotho for the first two weeks of May, at 3 300 m above sea level in freezing weather, including snowfalls. From here she moved to the Graskop camp.

Ludwick Mamabolo has been training in the Magoebaskloof camp since 14 May. ‘We were initially doing longer, slower runs of 45 km on Wednesdays and Sundays and then eased down to runs of about 20 km to condition the body and to make sure the body is not fatigued on race day. I’m feeling very confident and happy about this year’s race. We are all ready and waiting the big day,’ says Mamabolo, who prefers the downrun ‘as it is hard and fast’.

During the year he runs 25 km to 30 km daily and 40 km to 50 km on weekends, mostly in Polokwane, where he lives and works fulltime for Nedbank in client services. ‘On behalf of all us, I want to thank Nick Bester, Nedbank and all the sponsors for your support and for looking after us. Thanks a million, it is really appreciated.’

For all the runners out there who are competing in Comrades it is completely vital to not to use anything new on race day. ‘No new shoes, clothing or supplements,’ emphasises Bester. ‘It is also essential to get a good night’s sleep two nights prior to the race; the night before is important too, but not as important. And if you are not feeling well or are injured, do not run; rather withdraw.’
So, who will be lifting that Comrades gold caduceus for the world to see this year? Bester is confident about his elite team’s chances. He says the men’s field is extremely strong this year, but any of the following Nedbank Running Club runners who get to Comrades injury- and illness-free could feature in the top five: Ludwick Mamabolo, Mike Fokoroni, Lungile Gongqa, Hatiwande Nyamande, Steve Way and Eric Ngubane, plus several strong international runners from Europe who will be representing Nedbank. In the top five for the women’s race we could see Gerda Steyn, Charné Bosman Fikile Mbuthuma, Camile Heron, Sarah Bard and Deanne Horn.

There can only be one winner on the day, and as Gerda Steyn says: ‘There will be many, many disappointments as a professional runner. You have to be strong enough to handle them and take whatever lessons you can from the experience. Things will not always go to plan – both in racing and in training. And when times get tough, you just have to keep showing up and never let the bad days overshadow the good, because when things work out, it will change your life!’

About the Nedbank Running Club

The Nedbank Running Club looks for athletic talent in all of South Africa’s communities, rural and urban, and starts training youngsters for marathon running from the age of 15. ‘It takes at least 10 years of continuous development for them to reach their peak,' says Bester.

The Nedbank Running Club has 13 clubs nationally, as well as clubs in Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Ethiopia. Each of which is responsible for supporting runners at all levels and identifying and nurturing development athletes. To grow promising young runners there are currently five Nedbank Development Running Clubs in different parts of the country, including Soweto, Pretoria, Klerksdorp/Central North West, East London and Bloemfontein. They have approximately 350 members. 'It is vital that we look after the next generation by growing our development programmes,' says Bester.

About 40% to 50% of the athletes in the South African national team in all distances have come through the Nedbank Running Club's development programmes. The club has several legendary athletes on its staff, including former marathon athlete, Pio Mpolokeng, who manages the training of the Nedbank group of athletes in the Central North West Province. Altogether, 50% of the South African teams competing in championship events typically come from the Nedbank Running Club development programmes.

'Through the work that we do we see the difference that running makes to people's lives', says Mpolokeng 'We are currently working on increasing the number of runners with talent and bringing them from all over – from our cities, villages and other African countries – to train with our clubs and build a strong talent base and sense of unity.'

For more information go to




A blend of refreshing coconut water derived from fresh, young, green coconuts. It is naturally isotonic, low in natural sugars and packed with electrolytes that help replenish mineral loss, making it an excellent hydrator. Great as a sports and recovery drink.
Choose from a pure natural taste or quench your thirst with a splash of mango or pineapple juice.

Nature’s Choice – fresh and tasty coconut water.

Tailend Charlie

Road closure: Comrades Marathon

The Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) expects high traffic volumes in the early hours of Comrades Race Day – Sunday,
10 June – as thousands of runners make their way to the start venue at Pietermaritzburg City Hall.

We ask all runners to be mindful of the increased number of motorists heading to the same destination and to make sure they arrive in time.

Drivers who stop on the national or main roads will be liable for prosecution by the authorities and vehicles will be towed away to clear the route.

Click here for information on the road closures


Comrades Runner & Spectator Advisory Alert

The Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) has issued an advisory alert to all athletes and supporters for race day, Sunday, 10 June 2018.

CMA Race Director, Rowyn James has advised Comrades Marathon runners and supporters to heed the following advice.

Route to Finish

For family, friends and supporters making their way into Durban from out on the Comrades route to meet up with their runner please use the following recommended route so as to avoid any potential delays in the city due to the way that the runners will be entering the city precinct.

Take the N3 towards Durban and at the E B Cloete Interchange (otherwise known as Spaghetti Junction) take the N2 North towards Umhlanga/ King Shaka International Airport. Take the Umgeni Road (Exit 170) Interchange fly over and proceed along Umgeni Road, passing Makro on your right hand side. After 4km turn left into Smiso Nkwanyana Road and then right into Masabalala Yengwa Avenue. From here various advertised parking options will be available for you to use.

Advisory Alert

As the N3 highway from Durban into Pietermaritzburg at the Market Road off-ramp area will be reduced down to one lane as of 3am (to allow for fence construction as the race will be run on this section of the highway) there is definitely going to be congestion and a bottle neck effect happening here as athletes make their way to the start.

We strongly recommend and caution you that in order to avoid any  unnecessary stress of getting caught up in this congestion that you leave Durban 45 minutes earlier than you were originally anticipating to, in order to pass through this reduced lane area on your way to the start with minimal disruption or stress.

James adds, “Please heed the advice on this alert and leave Durban EARLIER than originally planned. Note that the start of the race will NOT be delayed for latecomers.”


Time for the Comrades Toyota Win-a-Car competition

Comrades Marathon runners, supporters and the general public can purchase their entry tickets for the Comrades Toyota Win-a-Car draw once again, between now and race day, Sunday, 10 June. The annual lucky-draw competition is sponsored by official vehicle sponsor to the Comrades Marathon, Toyota South Africa.

Up for grabs is a brand spanking new Toyota Corolla Quest valued at R215 000, complete with all the thrills and frills of owning a worldclass car.
Tickets are just R10 each but can be bought in batches of five off the Comrades app and individually at the Comrades Marathon charity stands at the Comrades Marathon Expo between 7 and 9 June at the Durban Exhibition Centre.

Entries will close at 14:00 on race day, with the live draw taking place at 16:45 on SABC Sport during the 13-hour Comrades Marathon television broadcast.

The competition will be conducted on a lucky-draw basis and overseen by auditors BDO South Africa. Terms and conditions apply

In terms of the rules and regulations of the South African Lotteries Board, the competition is restricted to South African citizens and permanent residents with a driving licence.  

CMA General Manager, Chris Fisher, says, ‘We are grateful to the country’s leading car manufacturer, Toyota South Africa, for donating such an iconic prize, the Toyota Corolla Quest, for this competition. It is only through Toyota’s generosity that the CMA has the opportunity to run this competition, aimed at our passionate and dedicated South African runners, supporters, television and radio audiences, our social media community and the greater public.’

The six official Comrades charities are the Community Chests of Durban and Pietermaritzburg, Childhood Cancer Foundation South Africa, Hillcrest AIDS Foundation Trust, Hospice Palliative Care Association, Wildlands Conservation Trust and World Vision South Africa.

In terms of the CMA’s Amabeadibeadi charity fundraising drive, over R3,6 million has been raised since 1 September 2017. More than R30 million has been distributed to worthy causes through the CMA’s Amabeadibeadi platform since its inception in 1997.
The updated KZNDSR Comrades app is downloadable free of charge from the Google Play store and the Apple App Store. For more information please visit