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Record-breaker Gerda Steyn reveals ASTONISHING Comrades Marathon masterplan

Jonathan Turner
News Director
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Sunday’s record-breaking Comrades Marathon winner Gerda Steyn has revealed her pre-race pacing plan – and it is simply astonishing to see how she was then able to follow it to virtually the second.

She had target times and paces for 12 different points of the 86.5km race – and she nailed virtually every one, including the all-important finish time of five hours and 49 minutes.

To put that last one into some sort of context, only one woman – Steyn herself – had previously dipped under six hours for the ‘up’ version of the race from Durban to Pietermaritzburg, with the existing record of 5.58.53 from back in 2019.

So aiming for 5:49 this time was a huge call, but one the 34-year-old delivered on in style as she bossed the ‘Ultimate Human Race’ from the outset.

In front of hundreds of thousands of fans she looked comfortable throughout and finished 15 minutes clear of her nearest rival.

It was a third title for Steyn, who also owns the women’s course record for the ‘down’ run, when the race is held in the opposite direction, which she set last year.

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Race plan vs actual

And writing on her Instagram page on Wednesday she gave fans a terrific insight into her approach ahead of the race.

She said: “The dust has settled a bit now, and I thought I would share some of the details about my race plan, gear, nutrition, etc.

“I spend a lot of time studying and dissecting the route beforehand, I try to look for ways to improve on previous times and then, most importantly, sticking to it on race day.”

There’s much, much more detail on her page but as the screenshot shows in terms of pacing, she stuck to it right from the start – 41 minutes and 22 seconds for the first 10km, compared to the planned 41:20!

Gerda Steyn Instagram screenshot Comrades Marathon pacing 2024
How the plan compared to the race [from gerda_steyn on Instagram]

‘I just wanted to make you all proud’

The plaudits have flown in from fellow superstar ultrarunners from around the world but for her part, Steyn’s initial reaction was: “So pleased with a third win at the most awesome race in the world!!

“Maybe I am biased, but that is how it felt being out there with hundreds of thousands of people cheering and supporting!!

“Thank you so everyone who supported me and carried me to the line. I just wanted to make you all proud.”

The victory added to an already memorable 2024 as earlier this year she claimed a fifth win and a new course record at the Two Oceans Marathon.

And the big focus now for Steyn is the marathon at the Paris Olympics.

Gerda Steyn Comrades Marathon presentation 2024 photo credit Comrades Marathon
The marathon at the Olympics in Paris beckons for Gerda Steyn [Photo credit: Comrades Marathon]
Jonathan Turner
Written by
Jonathan Turner
Jonathan Turner is News Director for both TRI247 and RUN247, and is accustomed to big-name interviews, breaking news stories and providing unrivalled coverage for endurance sports.  

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