What time should I be targeting my 5km TT (Time Trial) to qualify for a specific seeding at Comrades or Two Oceans?

Yes, your 42.2km qualifying race time boils down to the speed you can race a 5km TT and subsequently this time equates into your half and full marathon times.  



In late June and July, most ultra distance runners would be resting on their couches, legs up, watching the Tour De France, IPL and Super Rugby having completed the ultra marathon road season. However, 2020 has not panned out to be “normal”. This means that all distance runners have the opportunity over the winter season to improve their 5km and 10km race times by going through a full strength and speed training season. This means you have a chance to run a faster qualifying marathon.


Comrades and Two Oceans Tables (see below) with qualifying times.
It’s important to break down the qualifying times into attainable goals.


I have taken Comrades and Two Oceans qualifying times by seeding and used the Jack Daniels tables to determine your equivalent T Pace, 5km, 10km and 21.1km times to reach a certain seeding.


A 10km race is an extension of a 5km, hence your 5km TT will give you a fairly accurate indication of your 10km time.


A 21km race is an extension of a 10km and your 10km race time will give you a good prediction of your 21.1km race time.


Your 21.1km time will give you a good indication of your marathon time. Therefore, use your half marathon time to give you a target time for your marathon.


Focus on getting your 5km equivalent time, then attempt the 10km followed by the 21.1km. Remember, it is early in the season and you can go back and keep trying to improve on these times.


Marathon 1 – Qualify
Use your first marathon to secure the qualifying time for your goal race.
If you are at high risk of not meeting the qualifying time, try to run your first qualifying race as early as possible but make sure you are marathon ready.
“Try get it right and qualify first time.”


Marathon 2 or Ultra Marathon – Back up Qualifier or improve on seeding
If for some reason you failed to qualify, ensure your back up marathon in no later than end January (Two Oceans – 3 April) and mid March (Comrades – 13 June).
If you have qualified but want to improve on your time, ensure this is done no later than mid April. A 48km race has the most lenient qualifying times as you get an extra 1 hour to run an additional 5.8km.
Irene 48km and Loskop 50 are ideal races to improve your seeding.


Example – An athlete has a T Pace of 4m54 and has recently run a 23m20 for 5km and 1h47m for 21.1km. The athlete is close to a Comrades “C” seeding and needs to get their 5km closer to 23m00. With the correct speed and endurance this will improve their 10km and 21km times which will allow the athlete to go for a C seeding.
Qualifying marathon 1 target – Kaapsehoop, D seeding (Secure qualifying into goal race)


Qualifying marathon 2 target – Vaal, D seeding if for any reason did not qualify at Kaapsehoop. Or if they did qualify then try for a C seeding.


Qualifying marathon 3 – Irene or Loskop, C seeding