In previous races, Gatebe has never finished the Comrades Marathon in under 10 hours, nor has he made the top ten.
His time breaks Russian Leonid Shvetsov’s 2007 record of five hours, 20 minutes and 49 seconds. Gatebe is no stranger to the track, having won the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon in 2013.
According to Sports24, Gatebe received R1,14 million in total for his win: R400 000 for the victory, R400 000 for his new record, R190 000 for being the first South African home, and an additional R150 000 for being a South African winner put up by the Department of Sports and Recreation.
Minister of Sports and Recreation, Fikile Mbalula on Sunday confirmed that the initial R100 000 that was put up for a homegrown winner was increased to R150 000 because Gatebe broke the record.
The top three spots in the 2016 Comrades race were all held by South Africans: Ludwick Mamabolo came in second place, while Bongmusa Mthembu earned third place.
Charne Bosman was the first woman to cross the finish line in a time of six hours, 25 minutes and 56 seconds, followed by Caroline Wöstmann.
Roughly 22 000 runners took part in this year’s race that started outside the Pietermaritzburg City Hall just before 6am on Sunday morning.
“I’m feeling so good and happy I broke the record,” Gatebe told eNCA. “I told myself, not to worry about anyone and just ran on my own near the end.”