Comrades Marathon in Stats and Medals

In addition to my race report I have also gathered the stats from Comrades 2019. It is worth taking a look at these and the ones in my Comrades 2018 report to compare them.

Don’t forget you are comparing an Up run (2019) against a Down run (2018). The former was 86.830km and the latter 90.184km. My estimate was that weather conditions were broadly similar – relatively benign compared to stories I have heard from previous years.

I think that it is interesting that some measures like starter / finisher percentage was virtually the same but the finish times for each of the half hour segments indicated slower times overall (not surprising – those hills are SO hard!).

Anyway – grab a coffee and delve in!

Comrades 2019 Stats


Comrades Entries, Starters and Finishers

Number of entries – 24,593 (23,419 in 2018)
Number that qualified (by running a sub 4h50 marathon before May 2019) – 21,600 (21,273 in 2018)
Number that started the race – 19,103 (19,058 in 2018)
Number that finished the race before the 12h00 cutoff – 16,445 (16,477 in 2018)
Percentage finishers – 86.08% (86.45% in 2018)

Male / Female Finishers

Number of female finishers: 3,055 (18.6%)
Number of male finishers: 13,383 (81.4%)

Oldest finisher: 77 years 149 days (Male); 70 years 236 days (Female)
Youngest finisher: 20 years 290 days (Male); 21 years 205 days (Female)

[table id=32 /]

Comrades medals awarded

20 Gold medals – first 10 men and first 10 women
8 Wally Hayward medals for Male 11th position to 5h59m59s (10 in 2018)
20 Isavel Roche-Kelly medals for Female finishers in position 11 to 7h29m59s -these were awarded for the first time in 2019
540 Silver medals for 6h00m00s to 7h29m59s (588 awarded in 2018)
2,364 Bill Rowan medals for 7h30m00s to 8h59m59s (2,492 awarded in 2018)
2,813 Robert Mtshali medals for 9h00m00s to 9h59m59s (these were awarded for the first time in 2019)
4,274 Bronze medals – 10h00m00s to 10h59m59s (7,454 awarded in 2018 for finishers 9h00m00s to 10h59m59s)
6,400 Vic Clapham medals – 11h00m00s to 12h00m00s (5,913 awarded in 2018)
2,777 Back to Back medals (awarded to any finisher who finished their first Comrades in 2018 and then completed it in 2019)

Range of Comrades finishing times:

5h – 6h: 20 people (20 in 2018)
6h00 – 6h30: 40 (48 in 2018)
6h30 – 7h00: 136 (148 in 2018)
7h00 – 7h30: 394 (402 in 2018)
7h30 – 8h00: 455 (450 in 2018)
8h00 – 8h30: 655 (701 in 2018)
8h30 – 9h00: 1,253 (1,340 in 2018)
9h00 – 9h30: 955 (976 in 2018)
9h30 – 10h00: 1,859 (1,792 in 2018)
10h00 – 10h30: 1,631 (1,742 in 2018)
10h30 – 11h00: 2,642 (2,945 in 2018)
11h00 – 11h30: 2,259 (2,177 in 2018)
11h30 – 12h00: 4,141 (3,736 in 2018)

Top ten countries for finishers:

South Africa 14,949
Great Britain 251
India 171
Zimbabwe 154
Brazil 142
Australia 101
USA 88
Swaziland 53
Botswana 49
Russia 47

Number of different countries represented in the finishers (including the above) 72

Comrades Medals

Comrades is, I believe, unique in that they offer such a wide array of medals to the finishers. Any finisher medal is an achievement but there is a lot of kudos to looking further up the field and getting the medals awarded to the faster finishers.

As I wrote in my report last year, one of the traditions is that the size and design of medals doesn’t change much from the original races 95+ years ago.

In the first ever Comrades marathon Silver medals were awarded to all those who finished the race, these only bore the name Comrades Marathon and the finishers name and time. Hermes (as he is on the medal today) was introduced in 1922.

Silver medals were an ongoing tradition until 1931 when top 6 were then awarded a gold medal.

There are 9 different medals awarded at the race:

Gold Medal for the top 10 men and women. – First awarded in 1931 to top 6 men & changed to top 10 men in 1972. 1982 first gold medal in Female race, increased to 3 in 1983, 5 in 1995 & 10 in 1998.

Wally Hayward Medal (gold outer ring, silver inner ring) for position 11 to sub-6hr cut-off

Comrades medals
The gold medal (left) and the Wally Hayward (right)

Isavelle Roche-Kelly Medal (gold outer ring, silver inner ring) for female position 11 to sub-7hr30 cut-off (introduced in 2019)

Silver Medal from 6hrs to sub-7hr30

Comrades medals
The Isavelle Roche-Kelly (left) and the Silver (right)

Bill Rowan Medal (silver outer ring, bronze inner ring) from 7hr30 to sub-9hr cut-off (introduced in 2000)

Robert Mtshali Medal from 9hrs to sub-10hrs (introduced in 2019)

Bronze Medal from 10hrs to sub-11hrs (Introduced in 1972)

Comrades medal
Robert Mtshali (left), Bill Rowan (top right) and Bronze (bottom right)

Vic Clapham Medal (copper) 11 to 12hrs (named after Race Founder & introduced in 2003)

Back to Back Medal for Novice runners who complete 2 consecutive runs, Up & Down (introduced in 2005)

Comrades medal
Vic Clapham (left) and Back to Back (right)

All medals are attached to a black and yellow striped ribbon with a year bar depicting the year the medal was won.

Find out more about Comrades and how to enter next year HERE.

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