Over 21 000 athletes have started running the 2018 Comrades Marathon outside the Pietermaritzburg City Hall.

The internationally recognised race started at 5:30 outside the Pietermaritzburg City Hall and will end at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

It will be the first time that the race ends at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.

Previous races ended at the Kingsmead Cricket Stadium on the down run.

Top contenders of the 2018 Comrades Marathon include 2017 champion Bongumusa Mthembu and the female 2016 champion Charne Bosman.

The distance for this year’s down run race is 90.184 km.

Umsunduzi Municipality Mayor Themba Njilo fired the gun at 05:30 to signal the start of the 93rd running of South Africa’s favourite race outside the Pietermaritzburg City Hall.