The elite women’s line-up for next month’s Comrades Marathon took another knock on Saturday after American Camille Herron withdrew from the race due to injury.
With twin sisters Elena and Olesya Nurgalieva already sidelined as part of a worldwide ban on Russian athletes, Herron’s absence will water down the field even further.
The 34-year-old athlete dropped out due to illness on her Comrades debut in 2014, but she bounced back last year to secure the 50km and 100km world titles and was being touted as one of the pre-race favourites for the annual race in KwaZulu-Natal.
“I finally gave in and got an MRI for my nagging hip pain, and it turns out I have a partially torn hamstring,” Herron revealed in a statement.
“The timing of this is unfortunate, but my medical providers, coach and agent feel strongly that I should take it easy right now and focus on getting back to full health.”
Despite the absence of a few contenders, the women’s race is still expected to produce fireworks at the 89km ‘down’ run between Pietermaritzburg and Durban on May 29.
The field is spearheaded by defending champion Caroline Wostmann and fellow South African Charne Bosman.
They will face challenges from the likes of SA-born American Colleen de Reuck and British athlete Ellie Greenwood who won the previous ‘down’ run in 2014.