Piet Wiersma becomes the first Dutchman to win the Comrades Marathon gong

Piet Wiersma becomes the first Dutchman to win the Comrades Marathon gong

Piet Wiersma made history as the first Netherlands-born runner to win the Comrades Marathon 85km Up-Run in Pietermaritzburg earlier on Sunday.

Wiersma completed the race in 5 hours, 25 minutes, and 00 seconds, earning the prize money of R825 000. His teammate, Dan Moselekwa from South Africa’s Nedbank Running Club, finished in second place with a time of 5:25:45, while Ethiopia’s Degefa Lafebo secured third place with a time of 5:27:48.  Reflecting on his victory, Wiersma, who finished second in his debut Ultimate Human Race down run last year, expressed that the title meant more to him than becoming his country’s first- ever winner in the ultra-marathon from Durban to Pietermaritzburg.  

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''You know what, these stats don't mean much to me, I run for myself. But I am happy that it all worked out,'' said Wiersma.

Wiersma, originally from the Netherlands and now living in Italy, remarked that the race started slowly. However, he seized the opportunity at Polly Shorts to make his move and aim for victory. Conscious of the group trailing him, he decided to break away after 72km.

''It was quite slow, but I had to save my energy and stick to the course. I didn't have much control. There were a couple of difficult moments but I quickly recovered,'' added Wiersma.

Wiersma could boost his winnings by an additional R500 000 if he broke the 5:24:39 record set by Leonid Shvetsov of Russia in 2008. However, at one point he stopped and was pleasantly surprised to find himself leading the race, relishing the support of the roadside spectators.

Wiersma travelled to Kenya for a six-week training camp for the Comrades marathon. He firmly believes this time in East Africa significantly enhanced his performance.