Comrades Back to Back Medal: How much can you improve on the up?

Comrades Back to Back Medal: How much can you improve on the up?

Last year Derrick Pienaar was a Comrades Marathon novice  and has his eye on a Comrades back to back medal this year. Derrick managed to finish the Comrades down run in 11:40. He did approximately 1400km’s leading up to this year’s Comrades Marathon and felt confident that he would finish the race.

He says he’s super fired up to go for his Comrades back to back medal next year. Derrick’s question is as follows: What would be a realistic goal for improvement, as far as time goes, for his Comrades back to back medal on the Comrades up run?

We've written an extensive guide on all the Comrades Marathon medals, including the Comrades Back to Back, and what it takes you get them. You can read that guide here.

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Coach Parry is the Official Comrades Marathon Coach

Coach Parry is the Official Comrades Marathon Coach

Brad Brown: Last year, Derrick Pienaar was a Comrades Marathon novice  and has his eye on a Comrades back to back medal. Derrick managed to finish the Comrades down run in 11:40 this year. He did approximately 1400km’s leading up to this year’s Comrades Marathon and felt confident that he would finish the race. He says he’s super fired up to go for his Comrades back to back medal next year. Derrick’s question is as follows: What would be a realistic goal for improvement, as far as time goes, for his Comrades back to back medal on the Comrades up run?

Improving your time for a Comrades back to back medal

That is a really tough question to answer accurately. Normally the down run is faster than the up run. But Comrades Marathon novices who have done the distance and the training are slightly different. If they’re sensible about their second year of training and don't pick up any injuries they should improve their time.  If there’s a sensible approach to training and a reasonable improvement in their marathon time – then they can improve their Comrades Marathon time by between 30 and 90 minutes. 90 Minutes is probably the most I’ve seen but between 30 minutes and an hour is quite common. You then get the people who just run the same kind of time year after year after year. I know that is quite a broad answer, but without quite a lot more information it’s very difficult to get more specific. Good luck though for your 2015 Comrades back to back medal onslaught.

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