Flying Dutchman Piet Wiersma wins Comrades Marathon

09 June 2024 - 10:56
Piet Wiersma wins the 2024 Comrades Marathon men's race at the finish at Scottsville Racecourse in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday.
Image: Darren Stewart/Gallo Images Piet Wiersma wins the 2024 Comrades Marathon men's race at the finish at Scottsville Racecourse in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday.

Piet Wiersma of the Netherlands was the convincing men's winner of the 2024 Comrades Marathon up run, crossing the finish line in Pietermaritzburg in 5 hrs 25 min 00 sec.

Wiersma just missed out on Leonid Shvetsov's up record of 2008 of 5:24:39 by 21 seconds. His time is the second-fastest in the men's up run.

Nedbank Running Club teammate Dan Moselakwe was second in 5:25:45. Ethiopian Degefa Lafebo was third in 5:27:48.

Wiersma, who finished three seconds behind Tete Dijana in second in last year's down run, thrived with his strength going up, pulling away with a break on the notorious climb up Polly Shorts and opening the gap outside Pietermaritzburg.

Dijana, winner of the successive down runs in 2020 and 2021, could not join a group of five men's runners who have won a 'hat-trick' with three successive Comrades' in the 103-year history of South Africa's premier road running event.

Dijana, up with the pace until the last 25km, dropped off to end in 14th (05:42:50).

The first up run since 2019 took place over relatively short 85.9km route from the 5am start in Doctor Pixley Kaseme Street in front of Durban's city hall to the finish at Scottsville Race Course in Pietermaritzburg.

Lesotho's Jobo Khatoane led for about two hours in the first half of the race before predictably dropping to obscurity.

Russian Aleksei Beresnev took the lead from Khatoane around halfway through the Thousand Hills. But his surge also came too soon.

A chasing group that had become Dijana, Dan Moselakwe, Wiersma and Lafebo passed Beresnev just past the Comrades' highest point at Umlaas Road, past Camperdown.

Soon after that another Nedbank runner, Edward Mothibi, who had dropped off the pace, came into sight of the front four.

Wiersma, who had prioritised training on hills for six weeks in Kenya going into the race, made a move up Polly Shorts, pulling away from Moselakwe in second and Lafebo in third.

After the last up run in 2019 the 2020 and 2021 Comrades were cancelled due to Covid-19 and the 2022 and 2023 races were down runs due to roadworks on the N3 outside Pietermaritzburg.

Just over 20,000 runners started the ultra-marathon in 2024.

2024 Comrades Marathon men's leader board:

1. Piet Wiersma 5:25:00.

2. Dan Moselakwe 5:25:45

3. Degefa Lafebo 5:27:48

4. Joseph Manyedi 5:28:33

5. Andrew Davies 5:30:46

6. Bongmusa Mthembu 5:34:45

7. Elov Olsson 5:35:24

8. Teboho Sello 5:36:11

9. Alex Milne 5:36:51

10. Givemore Madzinganyama 5:37:09