Comrades Marathon


By Jack McDermott


A traumatic experience in the bathtub at age seven has left me so afraid of the water, that I have been immunized from the tri-bug that is so contagious this time of year. Therefore, I have looked to other venues for my next big challenge. I went on-line to review the South Africa Comrades Marathon for some inspiration. The Comrades Marathon is an ultra event (55 miles) run from Pietermaritzburg to Durban, and run the opposite direction every other year. Below are some of the Frequently Asked Questions posted on the Comrade’s website ( Given my comments, you can probably guess that I will not be doing this race anytime soon.

What drinks are available on the route?
Orange PowerAde, Mountain Blast PowerAde (blue), Coca-Cola in plastic bottles, Water in sachets, Water in plastic bottles

(Coke products? Isn’t soda pop supposed to dehydrate you? I know they need race sponsors, but this is a ridiculous. By the way, what is a sachet?)

Will there be bananas on the route?
Yes, these will be available on the route from Cato Ridge through to the finish.

(What? I can’t hear you. I have a banana in my ear.)

Will there be potatoes available on the route?
Potatoes will be available at two stations in the second half of the route.

(I thought this race was in South Africa not Idaho. After 20 miles in a marathon, I have never developed a craving for potatoes. Beer yes, potatoes no. May be this is an ultra thing.)

How are the potatoes cooked?
Boiled in their jackets.

(Wow. They are serious about these potatoes, aren’t they? It’s like I always say: “The Marathon is a dud, if they don’t offer you a spud.”)

Is there chocolate on the route?
No chocolate will be provided.

(This might explain the low female-to-male ratio. Don’t get me started on women and chocolate.)

Are energy bars available on the route?
Noogy Energy Bars will be available at a number of stations on the route.

(Noogy? Is this a flavor or a brand name? Someone in marketing sure goofed. This sounds like something fourth grade boys do to each other at recess.)