Plus a decent set of trainers and water. Lots of water….

When we heard about a group of local guys that were into ironman competitions and extreme marathons, the term ‘Comrades’ sounded like a nickname they’d given themselves; one that sounded way more focused and purposeful than ‘lads’. It turns out that the term that now aptly unites this group of gentlemen is actually the name of their next group challenge this month.

The infamous ‘Comrades’ Marathon takes place in South Africa this month. Regarded by many to be one of the world’s largest and oldest ultra-marathon races, the group of friends will join more than 25,000 other competitors who will be taking on this physically tough and mentally challenging 87k running race. Yes, 87k, as in kilometres, in the hot, hot sun. Long-term weather forecasts are putting the temperature for the event at 25 degrees. Nice for a sunbathe, more challenging for running all day long.

Seven of the eleven Caesareans signed up to Comrades back in September 2018 after completing the Ironman 140.2 race in Italy. Matthew Morel, Dan Noding, Mark Grenyer, Spencer Daley, Alun Roberts, John Pirouet and Dave Double have been training together since December 2018 and getting the miles in through a series of scheduled sprint sessions, hill drills and long-distance training runs. Four more endurance race runners from the Island; Jason Bingham, Stuart Pinnington, Matt Creed and Graham Marshall, have joined the original seven to take on the challenge too. We got ten of them into their gear and in a makeshift studio in our Gallery warehouse to show them with their pre-event game faces.

Of the upcoming challenge Matthew Morel said: “This year’s race is from Durban to Pietermaritzburg; so up-hill. They alternate the route each year from an up-hill run to a down-hill run. Friends of mine from South Africa who have successfully completed both run routes say that the up-hill route is easier!”

For many doing this race, simply completing it in the allocated time-frame is the goal. Each competitor has twelve hours to complete the 87k distance and on average each year over 10,000 of the 25,000 starters finish in the time set. Yes, the Comrades Marathon is known for promoting ‘camaraderie, selflessness, dedication and perseverance’ and this team will need to egg each other on to get all eleven over the finish line. Hats off to the guys for taking it on and good luck.

Photography : Glen Perotte