New challenge as elite trail runner Greyling tackles 1st Comrades

Professional trail runner Landie Greyling has traded the mountains for the road as she laces up her takkies for her first Comrades Marathon on Sunday, aiming for a TOP 10 finish.
Greyling, who lives in Stellenbosch, has been on podiums around the globe more than 100 times since she started trail running in 2011, including wins at both 100km Ultra Trail Cape Town and Skyrun.
“The seed for doing Comrades was planted at the end of last year when race director Ann Ashworth messaged me on Instagram asking if I would consider entering and being an ambassador. I replied that I was still very much into trail but would give it some thought.”
As 2024 dawned, bringing with it Greyling’s 40th birthday, she felt she needed a new challenge outside of her comfort zone. “I thought I’d attempt a marathon but my coach pointed out that with my background in endurance running, I should do the ‘Ultimate Human Race’ – the Comrades.” One email to Ashworth later, and Greyling was headed for the start line. This year’s race is an 85,9km ‘Up’ run, starting in Durban and heading towards Pietermaritzburg.

“I watched the Comrades on TV as a little girl in the era of Tilda Tearle, Maria Bak, Bruce Fordyce and always wondered if I’d ever have the courage to line up. Here I am, almost 30 years later gearing up for my first Comrades.”
The adjustment from training on trail to tar was easier on Greyling’s body than she had anticipated. “The mountains, along with strength and mobility training which have prolonged my running career, have made my body strong and I’ve avoided injury. My leg speed has improved, and my running feels much smoother which is going to benefit me on the trails, especially if they are not super technical.”
Just a few weeks into road running, Greyling won her first-ever marathon – February’s Cango Marathon, making her three-hour goal by eight minutes. “I chose the race as it is one of the easier marathons, slightly downhill. It went surprisingly well and was one of the most enjoyable days of my running career.”
“It was technically the second road running marathon of my life. In 2011, when I was working in Texas, I ran a half-marathon and in the massive crowd of runners, somehow missed the turn-off. By the time I realised I was the only blue number among the reds, it was too late to turn back. I finished in 3h34 but it took me 13 years to run another full road marathon – on purpose this time.”
Her Comrades preparation has seen her complete the Two Oceans and Outeniqua marathons, the latter in which she crossed the finish line as first women.
“I joined the Nedbank Running Club to get the support of a big club that has experience at Comrades. I’ve gathered so much knowledge and understanding of the race from their members, and had incredible support from Nedbank and the race organisers. Without their backing for elite runners, they would not be able to do what they do best.”
As a mother of two young children, Greyling admits that over the past few months, running has taken a larger slice of time than she prefers. Husband Christiaan is also a professional trail runner and coach, who placed second in his first 100 miler (160km) race last month.
“Without the support of my mother, who came to stay with us for a month, and Christiaan’s parents who help us on weekends, we would not have made it,” Greyling said. Both parents include their children in the training where possible, with Christopher, 5, riding his bike and Adele, 3, in a running pram. “We also do fun things like meet up at restaurants with play areas at halfway points on runs, but I look forward to playtime where the focus is not on meeting mommy on the road for breakfast.”
With just days until the start gun, Greyling said she was filled with “excitement, anticipation, debating the unknown and a little – or a lot – scared”.
“I hope the race will be as enjoyable as the past five months of training has been. I am looking forward to all the vibes and cheers on route and seeing my family at the finish line”.

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