01 June 2014 by Tara Turkington and Stuart Buchanan

Comrades Marathon 2014: results and pictures

The 2014 Comrades Marathon run from Pietermaritzburg to Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, was the 89th edition of this great race. The Comrades is surely the world’s most iconic ultra-marathon.

The Comrades Marathon: one of the world's great runs. Image courtesy @ComradesRace

The 2014 Comrades Marathon was won by Bongmusa Mthembu, followed by Ludwick Mamabolo and Gift Kelehe – all three of them South Africans.

Three-time Comrades winner, Zimbabwean Stephen Muzhingi, was fourth. 

Eight of the top 10 runners in the 2014 Comrades Marathon men's race were South African.

In the women's race, Eleanor Greenwood from the United Kingdom took first place, with the Nurgalieva twins, Elena and Olesya, second and third respectively. The Nurgalievas are no newcomers to the Comrades, having both won the race (Elena eight times and Olesya twice). Fourth was Irina Antropova. South African Olympic icon Zola Budd came 7th.

Greenwood said in an interview with the SABC after the race: 'I had no clue I was even in contention until about 5km to go ... I thought, "I'm going to give it absolutely everything!" ... This is a dream come true ... I've said to people, if I could just win one race ever, this would be it."

The Comrades Marathon started as a tribute to the South African soldiers who lost their lives during World War I. Since then, it has become a South African long-distance running race of legend and its popularity as an ultra-marathon has spread around the world.

The marathon is run in KwaZulu-Natal between the cities of Durban and Pietermaritzburg in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands every year. The run alternates between an 'up' and 'down' run, from the coast inland and vice versa.

Many call it the world's greatest ultra-marathon.

This year's race was a 'down' run, spanning 89 kilometres through some of KZN's most beautiful locations (not that the runners were focusing on that). 

Pietermaritzburg City Hall by night. Photo courtesy of Clive Reid

Pietermaritzburg is a deeply historical city characterised by museums, historical routes and perfectly preserved Victorian architecture, and a good place to stay if you plan on exploring the  KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. The race then continues through the Valley of a Thousand Hills, which offers travellers Zulu history, culture and curios, retail therapy, wildlife tours, adventure sports, hiking trails, and excellent restaurants, before reaching the the laid-back yet busy city of Durban, where a mix of cultures and attractions can be found.

Apart from the big winners, the thousands of ordinary people who have been training for weeks and months to participate in the Comrades Marathon deserve congratulations. The race is run in the spirit of camaraderie, perseverance and ubuntu, the African concept meaning  humanity towards others. Plenty was shown in today's race.

Here are some pictures from the road:

Visit the official Comrades Marathon results page to see the times of specific runners. 

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