Shvetsov is back for Comrades

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

The endurance of more than 10000 marathoners who will compete in the men's section of the Comrades Marathon will be tested by defending champion Leonid Shvetsov.

The Russian, who holds the record in the up run and down run, has confirmed that he will compete in the internationally acclaimed event taking place in KwaZulu-Natal on May 24.

The race will be a down run that will start in Pietermaritzburg and finish in Durban.

A total of 12890 marathoners from across the world have confirmed their participation, a 17percent increase compared to the past four years.

Shvetsov, who broke the up run record with a time of 5hrs:24mins: 47secs last year will compete under the colours of Nedbank Running Club with teammate Herman Mokgadi, the first South African home last year.

The respected Shvetsov broke the down run record in 2007 when he crossed the finish line in 5:20:49.

Other elite athletes that are competing under the colours of the club include White Modisenyane, Gift Kelehe, Joseph Marman, Lucas Nonyana and Frans Kutu, as well as Lindsay van Aswegan, one of the top women marathoners.

Shvetsov is said to been eager to defend his title and those who will be competing with him will have to put in an extra effort to prevail.

It will be the first time that the race will not be run in June and it will be the same next year.

The organisers decided to bring the race forward because of this year's Confederations Cup and next year's race will be affected by the Fifa World Cup.