Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, May 29. Stephen Muzhingi of Zimbabwe won the 87-km Comrades Marathon for the third straight year, taking control of the race on the famed Polly Shortts hill with about 14 km remaining. South African Fanie Matshipa finished second. Muzhingi became the first runner to win three straight since Bruce Fordyce in 1988.
Russian twins Elena and Olesya Nurgalieva led the women’s race from the start, with Elena winning for the sixth time by out-sprinting her sister in the final kilometer. American Kami Semick closed strongly for third, gaining four minutes on the twins over the last 27 km, but coming up two minutes shy of the win. World 100-km champion Ellie Greenwood finished fourth.
The race, which alternates directions, was run in the “up” direction this year, starting in Durban and finishing in Pietermaritzburg. It was the 86th running of the world’s largest ultra; more than 11,000 runners finishied within the 12-hour time limit.
1. Stephen Muzhingi, 35, ZIM, 5:32:45
2. Fanie Matshipa, 33, ZAF, 5:34:29
3. Claude Moshiywa, 36, ZAF, 5:42:05
4. Jonas Buud, 37, SWE, 5:42:44
5. Gift Kelehe, 29, ZAF, 5:43:59
1. Elena Nurgalieva, 34, RUS, 6:24:11
2. Olesya Nurgalieva, 34, RUS, 6:24:36
3. Kami Semick, 44, Bend, OR, 6:26:24
4. Ellie Greenwood, 32, Banff, AB, 6:32:46
5. Farwa Mentoor, 38, ZAF, 6:35:49
Photos: Stephen Muzhingi top left, winning Comrades for the third consecutive year (Gallo Images)
Elena Nurgalieva (above) edged twin sister Olesya for the women’s win (photo courtesy The Sowetan)