The jewel in the crown of South Africa’s athletics calendar, the Comrades Marathon, is one of the most anticipated events in the country. Attracting runners from the world over, the event is about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Check out these fun facts about the race now.

Comrades step count

It takes approximately 111 250 strides to complete the almost 90km race which kicks off in Pietermaritzburg this year.

Weight loss is a reality

The average runner will lose between 3 and 5 kilograms during the race. Incidentally, 30 kilometres into the race, your body will start eating away at your protein stores after cleaning out your carb supplies.

Body updates

A runner will sweat out about 4,5 litres of liquid during the race. In addition, the average man’s temperature will rise to 40 degrees Celcius with the first three hours of the race.

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Athletic world records

The Bonitas Comrades Exhibition (where runners complete their registration for the race) is the largest athletics expo in the world. In addition, the Bonitas Eye-in-the-Sky (a helicopter which follows the race) was the first ever helicopter to follow an athletic event or marathon. Both elements are sponsored by Bonitas Medical Fund. This year sees the introduction of the Energade Eye-in-the-Sky which will follow the Women’s Race.

Tracking runners

All runners will wear a ChampionChip, a passive transponder laced onto one shoe which carries a unique code linked to each runner’s information in the Comrades Marathon database. As the runner crosses each timing mat along the route, the system records the chip code and allocates a time to it.

Food matters

Three tons of boiled potatoes will be prepared for runners during the race. In addition around 800kg of bananas and 7,8 tons of oranges will be made available to boost runners’ energy levels.

Keeping runners hydrated

Around 30 350 litres of Coca-Cola will be consumed during the race and more than one million Energade sachets will be handed out to runners.

Tune into the race from 5am on SABC2.