alsoran runners Getting to the start
(in Pietermaritzburg)

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This is relevant for a DOWN RUN Comrades!

Good Point – how are you going to get to the start?  Certainly if you have travelled up alone this could pose a problem.  Relax – there is a Comrades bus that takes runners from Durban through to the start in Pietermaritzburg.  Tickets can be purchased at the Comrades Expo.  To my knowledge, the bus leaves (in good time) from a central point in Durban.  Best option if there is any doubt about your transport!

Other options for getting to the start are:
  • Staying in Pietermaritzburg overnight
We have used this option all but once.  We have found suitable self catering accommodation within walking distance from the start.  This allows you to spend a relaxed evening beforehand.  We usually go out for dinner before retiring to bed.  Basically what we do is travel up to Pietermaritzburg with a tog bag containing our running kit and clothes/towel/shower stuff for the finish.  In the morning when we wake up we put on our running kit and pack everything else back into our tog bag.  This tog bag is then handed in at the tog bag truck before the start.  The trucks take the bags to the finish where we collect after the race. 

Sounds good?  Yes but be warned, the standard of accommodation can change significantly over a two year period.  Our tried and trusted accommodation for 3 of our down Comrades turned out to be a bit of a nightmare on our fourth visit!  What happened?  Mmmmm our accommodation had become the local brothel with rooms rented out by the hour.  I kid you not!  I guess it is a good idea to have someone check out the accommodation beforehand (if at all possible!)
  • Travelling up by car in the morning
We did this on my first down run.  The downside is that you have to get up really early to travel through to Pietermaritzburg in the morning. It is a good idea to build in time for traffic and the possibility of a puncture or other mechanical failure.  For this option you will need a non runner to drive the car back from Pietermaritzburg after the start.

Whatever your transport arrangement is, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get to the start in good time!

Keywords: transport, Comrades bus, tog bag, down run, self catering accommodation
Internal link: tog bag truckComrades Expo
External links: Official Comrades Marathon website

Copyright Nikki Campbell 2009