If you’ve been considering entering the 2019 Comrades Marathon in South Africa, better get your entry in. The race has announced it has fewer than 4,000 places left for the 2019 race four days after registration opened on October 19.

RELATED: Neff finishes Comrades Marathon strong, stroller-free

The world’s oldest and largest road ultramarathon, Comrades is the fabled 87K race that runs between Pietermaritzburg and Durban, switching directions every year. Registration will close on December 10 or at 25,000, whichever comes first, and given what’s happened in the last four days, it seems likely to sell out soon, even though the qualification period extends until May 2, 2019. The 2019 race will be run on June 9.

“To have done the Comrades is the thing in South Africa,” says Canadian Calum Neff, who finished 31st at this year’s race, his first Comrades. Neff set world records for fastest marathon and half-marathon while pushing a stroller. The flood of emotion-filled tweets following this year’s race reveal the pride and awe in which the race is held. 

As for Boston, Comrades entrants must run a qualifying marathon, ultramarathon or Ironman triathlon to gain entry, and though the qualifying times for different distances are not onerous (4:50 across all age categories for 42.2K), the Comrades course itself definitely is, with five very long and taxing hills, and a very strict, rigorously enforced cutoff time of 12 hours. Every year hundreds, if not thousands of runners are denied that finisher’s medal. (Neff ran it in 6:08:06, unencumbered by a stroller.) “There are literally no flats on the course,” says Neff, who adds that even in a “down year,” about a third of the course is uphill. “And the ups bring you to an absolute crawl.”

Next year’s race is an “up,” starting at City Hall in Durban and finishing on the Scottsville Racecourse in Pietermaritzburg.

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