The 2017 Comrades Marathon has arrived. This is not only one of the biggest, if not the biggest event in South Africa; but it has become a worldwide phenomenon. This year is an Up edition, from Durban to Pietermaritzburg; and it’s a beat of a run. KPMG Running Club are looking for their men’s team to step up. He recent spoke to Renier Grobler, but now hear from two of their other male chargers, Jaco Brummer and Raymond Phaladi.
David Katz: We’ve been building up to Comrades here on the 32Gi Sports Nutrition podcast. One exciting event is expected in 2017. It’s a great pleasure now to welcome Jaco Brummer onto the podcast, he does run for the KPMG Running Club who are, of course, supported by 32Gi. Jaco, thanks very much for joining us for today. 2017 Comrades, it’s on the horizon, you’re ready, you’re excited?
Jaco Brummer: Thank you very much for having me. Yes, we’re all very excited and ready, I think, for the race. The build-up was six months long to train and so I think we’re ready just to get to Durban in one piece now for the last week.
DK: You’ve run Up and Down in under seven hours, but you want to try and get? I believe, below 6:20, which would be a phenomenal run. How’s the form? Are you feeling like that is a possibility?
JB: Yes, I think it’s the best form that I’ve been in is this year, I’ve done good quality, I’ve done good miles and I’m feeling more confident than in the previous years. But I think this is the year I can actually give it a shot.
What’s Lindsey Parry cooked up for Jaco?
DK: For the average runner out there, they’ve got programmes, of course there’s programmes on the Comrades Marathon website, Lindsey Parry heavily involved with those. But there are lots of coaches on there. Personally, talk us through some of the mileage you’ve done in your bigger weeks and what your program has been like?
JB: Actually I’m also with Lindsey, but yes, the big weeks are like three weeks build-up. The highest was 190km, three of them. Then you’re going down to a recovery week and then you build-up three again, but I never got over 190km. Some of the athletes are doing 220-230km, but I think the consistency is to build-up in your high weeks and then rest when you have to rest, that’s the most important part I think.
DK: For you, from a nutritional point of view, are there any tips you have, are there any special tricks that you use?
JB: I don’t think it’s ‘special tricks.’ I try to eat clean all my life. Then I’m using 32Gi and I like to take protein, round about half-way, the Recover mix. Then I take some solids like a potato or a banana here and there on the route, but just small bits.
DK: Jaco, of course there’s plenty of internationals that come out year in and year out to do something like the Comrades Marathon, but 32Gi is in a lot of regions overseas. If people were listening to this and they were thinking: What is it about Comrades Marathon, are these South Africans crazy? Just to tell them, what makes that race so special?
Why everyone in the World should run Comrades
JB: I think the history of Comrades is what makes it special, where it comes from. Having been run when it was the War. But the whole camaraderie between the runners, I mean it started off with like 43 runners in the beginning and we capped on 20 000.
20 000 people that have to conquer the mountains of KwaZulu-Natal and each and every person, they’re all there for one reason. There’s no other beliefs that day, you’re there for one reason and to help each other and to enjoy the day together. To enjoy and put back what you’ve trained for.
Then just love the sport that we are doing. From all over the world people are coming to run this race and that’s what makes it South Africans coming together with Australians and Americans, so that makes it very special.
DK: I’m chatting to Raymond Phaladi now from the KPMG Running Club. Raymond, you’ve been with the club since this year, it’s your first year. Having moved over from Nedbank, how are you finding things? We know KPMG have come into running over the last couple of years and really done so much for athletes, have you been enjoying being part of their programme?
Raymond Phaladi is targeting a sub-six hour
Raymond Phaladi: Yes, I’m really enjoying myself and I’m so happy to be with KPMG. Because KPMG is changing lives. I find myself very comfortable with the club and then I’m still looking to stay with that club for many more years to come.
DK: Raymond, you’ve run ten Comrades, you failed to finish your 11th that was in 2016. But that’s a phenomenal achievement, you have a best time of 6:09, can you go better?
RP: Yes, I’m very confident that okay, I will still win a Comrades, before I turn 40. I’m going to win a Comrades. Then I’m sure-sure that I can still go under six hours and that will be this year.
DK: A Gold Medal, we saw a phenomenally fast time from David Gatebe last year to break the Down Run record. Do you think the winner this year could be around 5:30? What do you think is going to be required to get a Gold Medal?
RP: For the Gold Medal, you know, from my point of view, this year we will have a very fast time, even if you can go under 5:18. But okay, the winner will go any time from 5:25 to 5:30 that will be the winning time. That I can tell.
DK: For the rest of the field, do you think it’s going to be fast? I mean a Gold Medal is going to be tough, sub-six this year is not going to be good enough or even a sub 5:45?
RP: For the Gold Medallist, it will depend on the day. The weather at the same time, you remember in 2015 we had then had a disastrous Comrades, it was hot. So let’s hope this year the weather will be on our side. Then if it’s on our side, then okay, for everyone to run top ten and then you must expect anything under 5:45. If you go over 5:45, I don’t think you’ll have a Gold Medal this year.
Who will be the guys to beat at Comrades?
DK: John Hamlett’s camp, obviously Gift Kelehe winning two years ago, the last Up Run. David then winning, they’ve upped the game. But then with that, everyone else has. Do you find that things in the last years have become very competitive?
RP: It will be very competitive because if you’re speaking John Hamlett, you’re speaking a man who produced a lot of Gold Medals in Comrades history. He’s the man that you must always think about when you’re going to Comrades.
His team, I know where they are now, they’re doing fantastically and they’re ready for this race. But okay, we’ve got the KPMG at the same time. KPMG is changing lives, we do KPMG lifestyle, so they will be a very big competition this year.
DK: Raymond tell me now, why Comrades? Why is Comrades the race for you? We know it’s a special race but for you personally?
RP: For me, personally, Comrades is something sort of adventurous and I’m adventurer myself. I decided to run Comrades just because when I looked at it when I was young, then I checked these people, they’re running like 90km, come on! How possible is it that a human being can do that?
I am a human being at the same time, why can’t I just go there and then give it a try? See if I can do it, since I’m an adventurer. Then I decided to wait for the right time and then I started my first Comrades in 2006. Then it was an Up Run. I run 7:04 that’s the first time and it’s then I got myself with Comrades.
DK: Finally, talk me through your nutrition. Do you stick to a regimented programme? Are there things that maybe just suit you that don’t suit other people? Tell us about your nutrition in and around the race?
RP: When it comes to nutrition, we’re talking about 32Gi. I’m with 32Gi and that is my nutrition that I’m following. I find it very good and it’s helping me a lot. I’m following up with 32Gi.
DK: Raymond, you said you’d win before you’re 40, so we’ll hold you to that. All the best for this years’ edition, going sub six. But we look forward to seeing you, as promised, win Comrades one day.
RP: I will win, that I’m confident of. I’m not going to quit Comrades until I win and before I turn 40, since I’m 35 this year. I’ll win a Comrades and not only one title, I’ll have two titles. I need to win the Up Run and the Down Run, that is my thing inside me, I can tell you that now.
DK: Well, race week has arrived, the 2017 Comrades Marathon, it really is an international event. It’s a world event, as big as it is in South Africa. If you are running it, from myself Mr Active, David Katz and everyone at 32Gi, have a fantastic run and we’ll catch up again with you next week on the 32Gi Sports Nutrition podcast.