Durban -Russian women clinched the three top spots at the 84th Comrades Marathon on Sunday.
The twins from Russia, Olesya and Elena Nurgalieva, took first and second place respectively in the down run from Pietermaritzburg to Durban. Tatyana Zhirkova earned herself third place.
Olesya, 32, crossed the finish line at 06:12:12. It was her third Comrades win. Her sister, who won the race last year, came in at 06:13:14. The twins have earned 13 medals between them over the years.
Tatyana crossed the finish line with a time of 6:15:00.
Almost 13 000 partipants enrolled for this year's Ultimate Human Race, which is staged over a distance of 89.17km. The down route is run from Pietermaritsburg to Durban's Sahara Kingsmead Stadium.
The first South African woman to cross the finish line, in the fifth position with 6:45:3, was Farwa Mentoor from Western Cape. The 36-year-old has been competing in the race for the past eight years.
In 2005, 15 minutes from the Comrades finish line, Farwa's legs gave in, but in true comrade's spirit, she willed herself to complete the race and managed to crawl to the finish.
Her previous Comrades placings include fourth position in 2007, sixth in 2006, fourth in 2005 and third in 2004.
Prize money is awarded to the first ten men and women, while position one, two and three will receive R220 000, R110 000 and R82 500 respectively.