Smiling Steyn Smashes Comrades Marathon Up-Run Record to Win in PMB

Gerda Steyn had race commentators breathless with excitement at the 94th Comrades Marathon, when she smashed Elena Nurgalieva’s up-run course record in an official time of 05:58:53 to the sustained and raucous delight of fans and friends, along the finishing roads and to the finish tape at the Scottsville Racecouse in Pietermaritzburg.

Nurgalieva’s time of 06:09:23 set in 2006 was eclipsed by more than 10 minutes by the typicaly-smiling Steyn, who also beats the former leading South African women’s time for an up-run of 06:12:22, set by Caroline Wöstmann in 2015.

The annual world-renown ultra which switches direction in alternative years takes the runners through an arduous backroads route that link the legislative and economic capitals of KwaZulu-Natal through the “The Big Five” sets of hills, sapping the strength of runners through (in an up-run order of) Cowies Hill, Fields Hill, Botha’s Hill, Inchanga, and Polly Shortts, before the heading down to the finish at the Scottsville Racecouse. 

Completing the 86,83km ultra marathon distance in Nedbank Running Club colours, Steyn’s remarkable effort in 2019 sees her finish in-run  17th position overall, six minutes outside of the final men’s top 10 gold-medal winning race. 

Steyn finished with nearly 20 minutes ahead of the second-placed women’s finisher, Russia’s Alexandra Morozova, with Ireland’s Caitriona Jennings taking third place ahead of South Africa’s second finisher, Ann Ashworth, the  Massmart Athletics Club athlete completing the uprun in 6:27:15.

Murray and Roberts had their first runner home in Jenna Challenor, who beat off team competition in Charne Bosman (8th) and Mary Khourie (10th) to take club honours among 2019 Comrades Marathon gold medalists.

 

Women Gold Medal Finishers at the 94th Comrades Marathon, in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, on Sunday, 9 June, 2019:

  1. Gerda Steyn (South Africa) 5:58:53
  2. Alexandra Morozova (Russia) 6:17:40
  3. Caitriona Jennings (Ireland) 6:24:12
  4. Ann Ashworth (South Africa) 6:27:15
  5. Dominika Stelmach (Poland) 6:34:58
  6. Jenna Challenor (South Africa) 6:35:18
  7. Aigul Mingazova (Ukraine) 6:43:56
  8. Charne Bosman (South Africa) 6:49:39
  9. Catrin Jones (Canada) 6:52:44
  10. Mary Khourie (South Africa) 6:55:27

 

Photo 1 caption: Gerda Steyn has won the 94th Comrades Marathon, smashing Elena Nurgalieva’s 2006 up-run record by more than 10 minutes to become the ultra’s first woman to breach the 6-hour mark. Photo: Screengrab off SABC 2 Livestream on Youtube

Photo 2 caption: Steyn set expectations early on, when she reached each critical stage with a record performance firmly on the cards. Photo: @BonitasMedical on Twitter

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