Sarah Completes Comrades Ultra Marathon

Sarah Thompson completing the Comrades Ultra Marathon, a challenging ultra marathon event known for its rich history and demanding course.

We have huge admiration for our Physical Education Administrative Assistant, Sarah Thompson who has just completed the Comrades Ultra Marathon.

For many years, the Comrades Marathon had been on Sarah’s bucket list. Inspired by a friend who had completed the race and described it as the most amazing experience ever, Sarah felt a seed of determination planted within her. The Comrades Marathon, known worldwide for its rich history and challenging 88km course, particularly captivated Sarah. With the 100th anniversary of the event approaching in 2027, she decided it was time to take on this extraordinary challenge.

Sarah is not new to ultra running. Years ago, she had participated in the Kep Ultra, a 100km point-to-point event from Northam to Perth. Reflecting on that experience, she chuckles at her youthful confidence and lack of preparation. The current Sarah, however, approached the Comrades with a meticulous training plan and a seasoned mindset. 

Her coach’s mantra, “consistency is key,” became the cornerstone of her preparation. Aiming to complete the marathon within the strictly enforced 12-hour cap, Sarah focused on gradually building her running volume over several months. After running the Tokyo Marathon (42.2km) in early March, she took a short rest before diving into a rigorous training schedule. She ran five times a week, covering a total of 80 to 120km each week. The most challenging aspect of her training was finding big enough hills in Perth to simulate the Comrades’ hilly terrain. Sarah and her training partners frequently tackled the ‘Zig Zags’ in Kalamunda, turning it into a routine that strengthened both their legs and their resolve.

Motivation during training came from Sarah’s ability to focus on immediate goals rather than the daunting distance ahead. She adopted a ‘one session at a time’ approach, supported by her family’s unwavering encouragement. Her husband, son, and parents-in-law played vital roles, helping with childcare and household responsibilities, which allowed Sarah to dedicate herself fully to her training.

Race route and elevation (https://www.comrades.com/race-info/route-map)

Race day arrived with a mixture of excitement and nerves. The start of the Comrades Marathon is a spectacle to behold, with runners gathering in their pens from the early hours of the morning. The South African National Anthem and the iconic ‘Shoshaloza’ song, sung by over twenty thousand participants, created an electrifying atmosphere. As Sarah started the race, she felt both the weight of the challenge and the thrill of the adventure.

Throughout the race, the scenic views from the top of the climbs and the camaraderie among runners kept Sarah’s spirits high. Despite the gruelling climbs and the relentless distance, the support from fellow runners and spectators made every kilometre worth it. Her favourite part of the course was undoubtedly the finish line, where the sense of accomplishment and relief was overwhelming.

Recovery after such an intense race was crucial. Sarah, mindful of her need to stay healthy and uninjured, incorporated regular Pilates sessions and visits to her physio and sports massage therapist into her routine. After the marathon, gentle movement, such as a walk and a dip in the ocean, helped her body begin the healing process. While the long flight home wasn’t ideal for recovery, it was a necessary part of the journey.

Now that she has conquered the Comrades Marathon, Sarah is looking forward to rejoining her hockey team and continuing to run, albeit at a more relaxed pace. Her story is a testament to the power of goal-setting, consistent effort, and the incredible support of loved ones.

Congratulations Sarah!

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