KZN premier congratulates Wiersma and Steyn on their Comrades Marathon wins

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo Independent Newspapers

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 9, 2024


Durban — KwaZulu-Natal Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube has congratulated the 2024 Comrades Marathon winners, Piet Wiersma and Gerda Steyn, in the men’s and women’s categories.

Wiersma, of the Netherlands, and Steyn from South Africa won the 97th edition of the Ultimate Human Race, an up run from Durban to Pietermaritzburg.

Wiersma won the men’s section ahead of South Africa’s Dan Moselakwe, while Steyn won the women’s marathon clocking the time of 5 hours 49 minutes.

Wiersma, 26, crossed the finish line in an unofficial time of five hours 24 minutes and 56 seconds (5:24:56).

Known as the unknown Dutchman at the 2023 Comrades Marathon, Wiersma won the hearts of many South Africans last year when he finished second, a scant three seconds behind winner Tete Dijana. A student based in Italy who does all his training in the mountains, Wiersma came back hungry to win the Comrades and specifically focused on added hill training for this year’s up run.

Steyn, 34, crossed the line in an unofficial time of five hours 49 minutes and 46 seconds (5:49:46) to break her own up run record.

Steyn, a two-time Comrades Marathon winner and course best time holder in both the up and down runs, rewrote the record books in winning fashion. On the last up run in 2019, Steyn became the first woman to complete the up run in under six hours, taking 10 minutes off the course’s best time. She came back this year a much stronger and faster athlete and more recently broke her own South African record in the Valencia marathon with a world-class 2:24:03.

“I am elated to extend my heartfelt congratulations to the winners of the 2024 Comrades Marathon. On behalf of the provincial government and the people of KwaZulu-Natal, we congratulate the over 20 600 runners from different countries of the world who came to KwaZulu-Natal to participate in this gruelling 86km up run marathon from Durban to Pietermaritzburg,” Dube-Ncube said.

“We also appreciate the spectators who lined up along the route to cheer up the runners and keep them motivated.”

Dube-Ncube also thanked the 5 000 volunteers who kept the runners safe and hydrated throughout the marathon.

“We appreciate the volunteers who have worked tirelessly to ensure the success of this event. Indeed, the Comrades Marathon is not just a race, it is a celebration of human potential and community made possible by your unwavering commitment and hard work. This race continues to be a beacon of hope and a symbol of what is possible when we come together in the spirit of unity and perseverance,” Dube-Ncube said.

She said the Comrades Marathon, often revered as the ultimate human race, is a unique and historic event that transcends the boundaries of sport.

“It embodies the very essence of human endurance, camaraderie and the pursuit of excellence. This year’s marathon has once again highlighted the remarkable feats that can be accomplished through perseverance and an unwavering commitment to one’s goals,” Dube-Ncube said.

She said the Comrades Marathon brings a much-needed economic boost to the province's economy. This year both Pietermaritzburg and Durban reported high accommodation occupancy rates.

Dube-Ncube also said all who participated in the 97th Comrades Marathon are champions in their own right and their efforts have made the country and the province proud. She also thanked the sponsors who continue making the Comrades Marathon a global iconic event.

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