Pietermaritzburg - There are very few times in sport when finishing last is considered an achievement, but the Comrades Marathon is certainly one of those times.
38-year-old Andrew Maherry from Gauteng was the last man to cross the finish line before the dreaded sound of the final gun brought the curtain down on the 90th Comrades Marathon.
He had toiled between Durban and Pietermaritzburg for 12 long and relentless hours and sometimes he thought it simply wasn’t going to be his day.
“I’m over the moon. I’m very tired but really happy,” said Maherry, whose run on Sunday was his second completed Comrades.
“With about 25km to go I still had two and a half hours, but that can be very difficult in a race like this.
“But I’m really glad that all of the effort I put in paid off. I had to push … I’m very tired now.”
Wanted to win
After winning the women's section of the Comrades, Caroline Wostmann said: "It’s an incredible feeling, it’s absolutely amazing.
“There was a bit of pressure. Two Oceans was almost an accident (which she won on Easter Saturday), but Comrades was the one I wanted to win so, so badly.”
Wostmann absolutely blitzed the women’s field, finishing in a time of 6:12:20, about three minutes outside of Elena Nurgalieva’s up-run record in 2006.
“I think anybody who gets to the end of this race has to have a great amount of mental strength,” she said, before adding that she would definitely be back next year.
Started training in November
Gift Kelehe was a picture of relief and delight as he won his first Comrades Marathon in a time of 5:38:35.
Kelehe works as a policeman in Rustenburg and because of his hours he has to find time to train.
“I have to be at work at 07:30 so sometimes I am up and training at 04:00,” he said.
“I started my training for this race in November last year; I have put in a lot of work. My coach told me to relax and just run my race, because I have done the work.”
Kelehe revealed that he had been running around 250km a week in the build-up to the race.