With just a few weeks to go till the 92nd Comrades Marathon, many runners are making their final race-day plans for the 86.73km ultra to ensure they get them home on time to claim their medal. Good news is that the Modern Athlete Comrades Marathon Pacesetters will once again be in action, with more Pacesetters and more buses than ever before. Ladies and Gentleman, Runners all, meet your 2017 Comrades Pacesetters.
In past years Modern Athlete has offered the standard sub-9:00 (Bill Rowan cut-off), sub-11:00 (Bronze cut-off) and sub-12:00 (Vic Clapham cut-off) buses, and in 2016 we added a sub-10:00 bus, which proved just as popular as the more established buses. Now in 2017 we are going even bigger, adding sub-8:30, sub-9:30 and sub-11:30 buses, and we’re still looking into a sub-10:30 bus.
Furthermore, within each target time there will often be more than one Pacesetter, running at a slightly differing pace or following an alternate strategy, and the idea is to give runners a wider choice of bus to follow, with first and second options, in order to help more runners achieve their target times and earn that coveted Comrades medal.
The list of Comrades Pacesetters has been co-ordinated by well-known Gauteng Pacesetter Buks van Heerden in conjunction with the Modern Athlete team, and along with a host of newcomers, this year we welcome back many well-known Comradees Pacesetters of previous years, including Johan van Tonder, Linda Hlophe, Jackie Campher, Jeff Ramokoka and Derrick Rondganger, plus the ultimate Comrades Pacesetting legend, Vlam Pieterse, will once again be joining the sub-12 group, bringing his unique sense of humour to the get-you-home bus.
Our volunteer Pacesetters are all experienced Comrades runners, and some of these guys and girls have been doing this pacing job for many years and have built up a dedicated following. Even better is that this is the first year that the Comrades Pacesetters truly represent the whole country, as we have Pacesetters from Gauteng, Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalangs in the mix, as well both male and female bus drivers.
Keep in mind that these are the only official pacesetting buses at Comrades, and runners can ‘climb on the bus’ of their choice and rely on the ‘bus driver’ to guide them home within their target times.
And so, without further ado, here are your 2017 Modern Athlete Comrades Pacesetters*:
Johan van Tonder
Linda ‘The Coach’ Hlophe
Maropeng George Mojela
Buks van Heerden
Carolien van Heerden
Thabile Madube Mathe
* Please note that specific buses or drivers may still change, and Modern Athlete will post updated info as it become available.
Over the next two weeks we will be bringing you more detailed profiles of these Pacesetters as well as interviews with them, so stay tuned to the Modern Athlete platforms.
Modern Athlete would like to thank all of our Comrades Pacesetters for your incredible spirit and camaraderie, and being willing to take on the responsibility of helping fellow runners. We look forward to welcoming all your buses home on Comrades race day.
Got any questions for the Pacesetters?
Want to know more about your chosen Pacesetter? Want to ask them where to meet them, or what their planned strategy will be for race day? Then mail your question to firstname.lastname@example.org, or post it on our Facebook page and we will get you an answer quick as we can.