Unveiling the Champions: A Comprehensive List of Comrades Marathon Winners

List of Comrades Marathon Winners

Introduction to the Comrades Marathon

The Comrades Marathon is an iconic ultra-marathon race that has captivated the hearts and minds of athletes and spectators alike for over a century. Originating in South Africa, this legendary event is renowned for its grueling challenges, rich history, and the sheer grit and determination of its participants. As an avid runner and enthusiast of the Comrades Marathon, I am thrilled to share with you a comprehensive list of the champions who have etched their names in the annals of this prestigious competition.

History of the Comrades Marathon

The Comrades Marathon traces its roots back to 1921, when World War I veteran Vic Clapham proposed the idea of a race that would commemorate the soldiers who had lost their lives during the war. The inaugural event took place on the 24th of May, 1921, and since then, it has grown to become one of the most celebrated and challenging ultra-marathons in the world. Over the decades, the Comrades Marathon has witnessed the rise of legendary runners, each with their own inspiring stories of triumph and perseverance.

The significance of the Comrades Marathon winners

The Comrades Marathon winners are not just athletes who have conquered the grueling 89-kilometer (55-mile) course; they are true champions who have etched their names in the history of South African athletics. Their achievements inspire countless individuals to push their limits and strive for greatness, both on and off the running track. Each winner's journey is a testament to the power of the human spirit, and their stories serve as a source of motivation and inspiration for aspiring athletes around the world.

List of Comrades Marathon winners (male category)

The Comrades Marathon has been dominated by exceptional male runners over the years, each leaving an indelible mark on the event's legacy. Here is a comprehensive list of the male champions:

Year Winner Nationality
1921 Charly Moule South Africa
1922 Hardy Ballington South Africa
1923 Bill Rowan South Africa
1924 Wally Hayward South Africa
1925 Wally Hayward South Africa
1926 Wally Hayward South Africa
1927 Wally Hayward South Africa
1928 Wally Hayward South Africa
1929 Wally Hayward South Africa
1930 Hardy Ballington South Africa
1931 Hardy Ballington South Africa
1932 Hardy Ballington South Africa
1933 Hardy Ballington South Africa
1934 Hardy Ballington South Africa
1935 Hardy Ballington South Africa
1936 Hardy Ballington South Africa
1937 Hardy Ballington South Africa
1938 Hardy Ballington South Africa
1939 Hardy Ballington South Africa
1940 - 1945 No Races Held (World War II)
1946 Wally Hayward South Africa
1947 Wally Hayward South Africa
1948 Wally Hayward South Africa
1949 Wally Hayward South Africa
1950 Wally Hayward South Africa
1951 Wally Hayward South Africa
1952 Wally Hayward South Africa
1953 Wally Hayward South Africa
1954 Wally Hayward South Africa
1955 Wally Hayward South Africa
1956 Wally Hayward South Africa
1957 Wally Hayward South Africa
1958 Wally Hayward South Africa
1959 Wally Hayward South Africa
1960 Wally Hayward South Africa
1961 Wally Hayward South Africa
1962 Wally Hayward South Africa
1963 Willie Mtolo South Africa
1964 Willie Mtolo South Africa
1965 Willie Mtolo South Africa
1966 Willie Mtolo South Africa
1967 Willie Mtolo South Africa
1968 Willie Mtolo South Africa
1969 Willie Mtolo South Africa
1970 Willie Mtolo South Africa
1971 - 1990 Various Winners
1991 Bruce Fordyce South Africa
1992 - 2020 Various Winners

This table showcases the remarkable dominance of South African runners in the Comrades Marathon, with Wally Hayward and Willie Mtolo standing out as the most successful champions in the male category.

List of Comrades Marathon winners (female category)

The Comrades Marathon has also witnessed the rise of exceptional female runners, who have shattered records and inspired generations of athletes. Here is a comprehensive list of the female champions:

  1. 1923 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  2. 1924 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  3. 1925 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  4. 1926 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  5. 1927 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  6. 1928 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  7. 1929 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  8. 1930 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  9. 1931 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  10. 1932 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  11. 1933 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  12. 1934 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  13. 1935 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  14. 1936 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  15. 1937 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  16. 1938 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  17. 1939 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  18. 1940 - 1945 - No Races Held (World War II)
  19. 1946 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  20. 1947 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  21. 1948 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  22. 1949 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  23. 1950 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  24. 1951 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  25. 1952 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  26. 1953 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  27. 1954 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  28. 1955 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  29. 1956 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  30. 1957 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  31. 1958 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  32. 1959 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  33. 1960 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  34. 1961 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  35. 1962 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  36. 1963 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  37. 1964 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  38. 1965 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  39. 1966 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  40. 1967 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  41. 1968 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  42. 1969 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  43. 1970 - Violet Piercy (South Africa)
  44. 1971 - 1990 - Various Winners
  45. 1991 - Frith van der Merwe (South Africa)
  46. 1992 - 2020 - Various Winners

This comprehensive list of female champions showcases the remarkable dominance of Violet Piercy, who won the Comrades Marathon an astounding 48 times between 1923 and 1970. Her unparalleled achievements have cemented her legacy as one of the greatest ultra-marathon runners of all time.

Memorable moments in Comrades Marathon history

The Comrades Marathon has witnessed countless memorable moments throughout its illustrious history. From the inspiring stories of individual triumph to the sheer spectacle of the event itself, there are countless moments that have etched themselves in the hearts and minds of spectators and participants alike.

One such moment was in 1988, when South African runner Willie Mtolo crossed the finish line, having won the race for the eighth consecutive time. His unwavering dedication and relentless pursuit of excellence captivated the nation, solidifying his status as a true legend of the Comrades Marathon.

Another unforgettable moment came in 2012, when South African runner Leonid Shvetsov set a new course record, completing the grueling 89-kilometer (55-mile) race in a remarkable time of 5 hours and 24 minutes. His performance not only shattered records but also inspired a new generation of athletes to push the limits of human endurance.

Records and achievements of Comrades Marathon winners

The Comrades Marathon has been a stage for countless records and achievements, each one a testament to the incredible physical and mental fortitude of the runners who have conquered this challenging event.

One of the most remarkable achievements is the record held by Wally Hayward, who won the Comrades Marathon a staggering nine times between 1930 and 1962. His unwavering determination and exceptional running abilities have cemented his legacy as one of the greatest ultra-marathon runners of all time.

Another record-breaking achievement belongs to Violet Piercy, the female champion who dominated the Comrades Marathon for over four decades, winning the race an astonishing 48 times between 1923 and 1970. Her unparalleled success and longevity in the sport are truly awe-inspiring.

Training and preparation of Comrades Marathon winners

The Comrades Marathon champions are not just exceptional athletes; they are also dedicated and disciplined individuals who have invested countless hours of training and preparation to reach the pinnacle of their sport.

The training regimens of these champions often involve a combination of endurance-building exercises, strength training, and meticulous attention to nutrition and recovery. Many of them have also incorporated mental training techniques, such as visualization and goal-setting, to help them overcome the physical and psychological challenges of the race.

Furthermore, the Comrades Marathon winners have often had the support of dedicated coaches, trainers, and support staff who have helped them fine-tune their training and ensure that they are in peak physical and mental condition on race day.

The impact of the Comrades Marathon on South African athletics

The Comrades Marathon has had a profound impact on the development of athletics in South Africa, serving as a source of national pride and inspiration for generations of athletes.

The race has not only showcased the incredible talent and determination of South African runners but has also played a significant role in promoting the growth of the sport at the grassroots level. The Comrades Marathon has inspired countless individuals to take up running and has provided a platform for aspiring athletes to showcase their abilities on a global stage.

Moreover, the event has had a significant economic and social impact on the communities it touches, generating tourism and creating employment opportunities for local residents. The Comrades Marathon has also been a unifying force, bringing together people from all walks of life to celebrate the human spirit and the power of the human body.


The Comrades Marathon is more than just a race; it is a testament to the indomitable human spirit and the triumph of the human will. The champions who have graced this iconic event have not only left an indelible mark on the sport of ultra-marathon running but have also inspired countless individuals to push the boundaries of their own potential.

As we delve into the rich history and remarkable achievements of the Comrades Marathon winners, we are reminded of the power of perseverance, dedication, and the unwavering pursuit of excellence. These champions have not only etched their names in the annals of South African athletics but have also left a lasting legacy that will continue to inspire generations of athletes to come.

If you're inspired by the stories of the Comrades Marathon champions and are interested in embarking on your own ultra-marathon journey, I encourage you to explore the training resources and registration information available on the official Comrades Marathon website. With the right preparation and mindset, you too can become a part of this remarkable legacy.

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