Wits lecturer, Caroline Wostmann, will be running her fifth Comrades in nine days time. She is hoping to come in the top 10 in the ladies’ division and complete the race in under seven hours. Wostmann enjoys staying at the race the entire day and loves to cheer the last runners in when the final gun goes off.
Wits’ very own Caroline Wostmann, finance and management accounting lecturer, will be running her fifth Comrades marathon in nine days.
Wostmann, who came in 6th position in the race last year despite running with an injury and was the first South African lady home, began training for the race since January.
She is confident about another good race this year. “It feels like the last seven years has built up to this Comrades.”
“There is just something so special about it, and you can’t understand it unless you run it or are along the route supporting,” she said.
Wostmann’s “support crew” will also be a little bigger this year.
“My brother is doing the race for the first time,” and she added that her husband, Haiko and daughters, Gabriella (8) and Isabel (4), and her sister-in-law will be along the route supporting them.
Wostmann, who qualified for the Comrades Marathon last December when she ran the Aspen Port Elizabeth Marathon, added that her students are very supportive and proud of her achievements.
As part of her training, she ran several other qualifying races, including the Two Oceans marathon in Cape Town, which she won, back in March.
The main requirement to qualify for the Comrades is to run a marathon (42.2km) in under five hours.
Wostmann explained that for every 20 minutes a runner improves their finish time, they “move up a seeding”.
“Those who start right at the back, complete a marathon in just under five hours,” she said. “It moves down to the A seeding for qualifiers who run a marathon in just under three hours.”
“For a few special select people like me, we get to start right at the front with an elite seeding,” she laughed.
Wostmann said after the race, once media interviews and doping-control tests are done she is never in a hurry to leave.
“Something that is really special about Comrades, to me, is that I love to make sure I stay until that final gun goes, so I can cheer those people in,” she said.
“It’s the most horrible, wonderful moment when you watch those people who just make it to the end!”
Her goal position this year is to attain a top 10 spot in the women’s category and complete the run in under seven hours.
“Comrades is such an amazing race and it has such an amazing vibe,” she said. “There is no other single event that unites South Africa like the Comrades does.”
The race will be on Sunday, May 31 and will follow the up-run route (88km) from Durban to Pietermaritzburg.