Entries for the 2019 Comrades Marathon are being snapped up at record pace after the registration process was opened by the organisers on Friday morning.
Just 24 hours after online entries went on sale, over 15 000 race numbers had been grabbed, and while the early rush had slowed, the approach by interested runners suggested the 25 000 available entries would be taken in record time.
Last year, organisers had extended the registration process for the 2018 race after selling 20 000 entries in a record three weeks, but even those numbers paled in comparison to the urgency displayed ahead of the 2019 contest.
For the 2018 race, 6 600 entries were sold within the first four days and 13 700 entries were snapped up within two weeks.
By 11am on Saturday morning, however, 15 605 entries had already been sold for the 2019 event, suggesting the 25 000 cap would be reached in a matter of days.
“We have exciting plans for next year’s ‘up’ run,” said race director Rowyn James.
“With entries being taken up as quickly as they are, we urge our athletes to enter early and claim their spot on the starting line of the world’s most epic ultra-marathon.
“Defending women’s ‘up’ run champion Camille Herron of the United States was among the early entrants for the 2019 race, along with Ann Ashworth, who took the ‘down’ run title this year.
Ultra-distance star Bongmusa Mthembu was expected to target his fourth title, though his name did not yet appear on the entry lists.
The 94th edition of the 87km Comrades Marathon, an ‘up’ run between Durban and Pietermaritzburg, will be held on June 9 next year.