The Comrades Marathon is far from being a walk in the park. It’s one of the toughest challenges you’ll face in your running career…

…It’s for this reason that the Comrades Marathon Association has put in place certain qualifying criteria that you have to meet in order to run the Comrades Marathon.

How to qualify for the Comrades Marathon

In order to qualify to run the Comrades Marathon, you need to run a standard marathon (42,2km) in a time of less than 4:50.

Qualifiers must submit their qualifying time, club, and license information before the cut off in May 2025.

Anything slower than a 4:50 marathon does not qualify.

Interestingly enough, you don’t have to run a marathon to qualify for Comrades.

I know, I know… I hear you saying “but Coach Parry, you just said we need to run a marathon to qualify for Comrades???

Comrades Marathon Runners

What I mean is you can also qualify for Comrades by running an ultra marathon, which believe it or not may actually be easier.

I’m going to share with you later in this post why that is the case and I’m going to tell you about a race (that not many people know about), that in my opinion, is the best Comrades Marathon qualifying race for marginal Comrades qualifiers…

…Before we get into the Comrades qualifying times, paces and races, it is important to know that there are also criteria that the actual race you are using to qualify at, has to meet.

Not all marathons are created equal

Your qualifying race must be ASA technically compliant, as well as meet the Comrades Marathon qualifying criteria.

In a nutshell, what that means is you can’t run 42km in your mate’s backyard and think that is good enough to qualify for Comrades.

The race has to be recognised by the Comrades Marathon as being a legitimate Comrades qualifier.

How to qualify for the 2025 Comrades Marathon

In recent years runners would have till the beginning of May to complete their qualifying race and submit/update details to the Comrades Marathon Association. (We will update the exact details once that information has been released)

Sadly, over the years there have been some Comrades runners who have submitted results for runs they didn’t actually do.

The CMA will, along with your running club, verify your qualification and license details.

If it’s shown that you have submitted an incorrect time that either shows you qualified to run Comrades when you didn’t or in order to improve your seeding, you will be disqualified from running and you could face a ban from running Comrades in the future.

So don’t be tempted to take any chances by submitting false qualifying information. It’s just not worth it…

…Again, do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

What is the Comrades Marathon Qualifying time?

As mentioned above, in order to qualify you need to complete any ONE of the distances below in the times given:

Race DistanceFinish TimeAverage Pace (Min/KM)

You’ll notice in the table I’ve added the average pace you need to run at in order to qualify to run Comrades.

It makes for very interesting reading…

…to run a marathon in under 4:50 you need to average 6:52 minutes per km.

You’ll notice that a 52km Ultra Marathon gives you the leeway to run at 7:24 per kilometer!

But what does that mean?

As a marginal Comrades qualifier, if you choose a 52km race you “buy” yourself more than 30 seconds per kilometer. Even though you’re going 10km longer, the cut-off margins are a bit more lenient.


…“What is the best race to qualify for Comrades at?” I hear you asking.

But First…Comrades Marathon Qualifying Races

Before I share what I think is the best Comrades Marathon qualifier, here is a list of Comrades Marathon qualifying races that you can potentially use. (Pro Tip: These are not the only races that you can use as a qualifier but the list is rather comprehensive and we keep adding to it so keep checking back)

Simply click on any of the tabs below to find a Comrades Marathon qualifying race near you…

Gauteng Comrades Qualifying Races
Race DateRace NameDistanceWebsite
SeptemberVaal River City Marathon42.2
OctoberJacaranda City Challenge42.2
NovemberSoweto Marathon42.2
JanuaryJohnson Crane Hire Marathon42.2
FebruaryJeppe Marathon42.2
MarchJoburg North City Marathon42.2
MarchJackie Gibson Marathon42.2
AprilJointEze Irene Ultra48
AprilProfix Scaffolding Marathon42.2 & 48
MayWally Hayward Marathon42.2
MayMidvaal May Marathon42.2 
Western Cape Comrades Qualifying Races
Race DateRace NameDistanceWebsite
AugustPetroSA Marathon42.2
OctoberSanlam Cape Town Marathon42.2
OctoberVoet van Afrika Marathon42.2
NovemberSportsmans Warehouse Winelands Marathon42.2
NovemberDie Vlakte Marathon42.2
DecemberOne Logix United Bulk Prison-to-Prison Marathon42.2 
FebruaryBeaufort West Kanniedood Marathon42.2 
FebruaryCape Peninsula Marathon42.2
FebruaryInfantry School Cango Marathon42.2 
FebruaryThe Hemel & Aarde Marathon42.2
MarchWeskus Marathon42.2
AprilTwo Oceans Marathon56
AprilOuteniqua Marathon42.2 
KwaZulu-Natal Comrades Qualifying Races
Race DateRace NameDistanceWebsite
AugustMandela Day Marathon42.2
OctoberGoss & Balfe Sapphire Coast Marathon42.2
NovemberBluff Athletic Club Marathon42.2 
NovemberSani Stagger42.2
MarchDeloitte Challenge Marathon42.2
MarchZululand Ultra Marathon56 
MarchUmgeni Water Marathon42.2
MarchTronox uMhlathuze Marathon42.2
April Arthur Creswell Memorial Ultra Marathon52
AprilDurban City Marathon42.2
April Newlands Athletics Club Triple Challenge42.2 
AprilSelati Pongola Sugar Cane 4-in-1 42.2 
AprilThe Rising Sun Chatsworth Freedom Marathon42.2
AprilSouth Coast Ultra48
MayGaterite Challenge Marathon42.2
Eastern Cape Comrades Qualifying Races
Race DateRace NameDistanceWebsite
SeptemberBuilder’s Warehouse Rafi’s Friendly City Marathon42.2 
OctoberLegends Ultra Marathon68 
NovemberTwizza Bonkolo Marathon42.2 
DecemberP.E City Marathon42.2
MarchReal Gijimas Ultra50 
MayBruintjieshoogte Marathon42.2
Free State Comrades Qualifying Races
Race DateRace NameDistanceWebsite
OctoberClarens Golden Gate Marathon42.2 
OctoberFree State O.R Tambo Marathon42.2 
NovemberMusic Marathon42.2
MarchAnco Aldam Ultra Marathon48
MarchHuman Rights Day Marathon42.2OMAC-FS
AprilPotato Pride Wilge Marathon42.2 
Mpumalanga Comrades Qualifying Races
Race DateRace NameDistanceWebsite
NovemberUNIWISP Kaapsehoop42.2
MarchGoldi 4-in-142.2
MarchGert Sibande District Marathon42.2 
AprilLoskop Marathon50
AprilThe Great East 3-in-142.2 
Limpopo Comrades Qualifying Races
Race DateRace NameDistanceWebsite
SeptemberCoaldust Circuit Race48
OctoberSA Run 4 Cancer Ultra Marathon48
NovemberSuperspar Bela-Bela Marathon42.2 
NovemberMagoeba Plunge Marathon42.2 
AprilMall of the North Marathon42.2
North West Comrades Qualifying Races
Race DateRace NameDistanceWebsite
MarchOm Die Dam Ultra Marathon50km
Northern Cape Comrades Qualifying Races
Race DateRace NameDistanceWebsite
MarchJohn Nugent Memorial Marathon42.2

If we’ve missed any Comrades qualifiers that you think should be on that list, be sure to contact us.

There are some great races on that list to qualify for Comrades and you’ve probably got your favourite, but as I mentioned earlier there is one that I think is the best Comrades qualifier if you’re a marginal qualifier…

It is probably not the fastest Comrades qualifier if you’re looking for a super fast one, but if you struggle to qualify for Comrades then I’m going to let you in on a little secret…

The best race to qualify for Comrades

…The Arthur Creswell Memorial Marathon that is hosted by the Ladysmith AC in KZN is a great one to target if you’re struggling to qualify for Comrades.

It’s 52kms which means you have to average 7:24/km. As long as you don’t go out too fast and blow up on the climb of Childs Hill you can make up a lot of time in the second half.

Once you’ve done the hard work of qualifying, make sure you update your qualification details in time.

How to let Comrades know that you have qualified?

There are a few important dates to remember. The date Comrades Marathon entries open. As well as the date substitutions open and close.

Another important date to remember is May 2025.

That is the deadline to have your Comrades qualifying time submitted. It is also the deadline to update your club name, license number and qualifying race details.

Put it in your diary NOW.

The onus is on you, the runner to make sure this is done in time.

The simplest way to do this is online on the Comrades website, but if you can’t do it online then you can either email, contact the CMA office, or request that your club administrator to do it for you.

This all has to be done no later than May 2025.

You have been warned, you aren’t able to update your details or present your Comrades qualifying time when you try and register at the Comrades Marathon expo.

If you do not qualify or update your details in time, you will forfeit your Comrades Marathon entry.

If you don’t do this, do not pass go and do not collect 200 dollars! 😉

In other words, you can’t start Comrades and you will not get your Comrades T-Shirt and goodie bag.

When is the best time to qualify for the Comrades Marathon?

It is always a good idea to get your Comrades Marathon qualification done as soon as possible.

If you can do it in the fourth quarter of the year before you aim to run Comrades, that is ideal. Or if you really can’t run a marathon in October, November or December, then as early in the new year as possible is the best.

Pro Tip: Listen to this podcast to hear when the best time to qualify for Comrades is.

When to run your Comrades Marathon qualifier

If you leave it late to qualify, into April, for example – what essentially happens is that you need to then recover from that.

If you try and smash a marathon as hard as you can to get a great Comrades qualifying time, you’re risking missing out on a key time in your Comrades training.

You’re essentially recovering in the time we really want to be training the hardest and doing the biggest mileage for Comrades.

That is the reason I want to encourage you to try and qualify for the Comrades Marathon as early as you can.

In April in your Comrades training you want to be looking for an ultramarathon between 50 and 60km’s.

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