Thousands will be running the Comrades Marathon this weekend. File photo.
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Thousands of runners will be hitting the road this weekend for the Comrades Marathon, with millions more watching from home on the couch.

More than 20,000 athletes from 85 countries will attempt the “down run” from Pietermaritzburg City Hall to Kingsmead Stadium in Durban in the world's oldest and largest ultra-marathon.

They will run more than 87km within 12 hours.

Their preparations started months and years ago, with strict training and dietary regimes.

While most will be running to test themselves and for the thrill and triumph of finishing, others will be running for charity.

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For those who are not yet in shape, the race will air on two SuperSport channels to watch the marathon on June 11. The main feed on SS Variety 4 will cover the race day from 5am to 6pm. A feed focusing on the women’s race will be carried on SS Variety 2 from 5.15am to 11.30am.

Do you have a friend running? You can look out for them with SuperSport's streaming channel focused on the finish line “so that viewers can keep an eye out for their friends or family completing the epic ultra-marathon”. This stream will run live from 10am to 6pm.

There will be doctors, paramedics, nurses and volunteers from various organisations along the route to help those who struggle.

Comrades Marathon Association race doctor Jeremy Boulter urged those feeling unwell to get clearance from their doctors before running.

“If a person has been sick within two weeks prior to the race, they shouldn’t run. I know it’s tremendously difficult because they have trained endlessly and spent a lot of money, but for the state of their health they must be careful.

“We have had people who took their last antibiotic on the day of the race, which is plain stupid. We would rather they be safe than sorry,” he told the Sunday Times.

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