Dreams Come True

Have Your Say


Thank you for all the great letters we get sent. You guys are amazing. If you would like to send us a letter regarding any topic, go to www.modernathlete.co.za and click on the Become a Contributor link.
(Note that some letters have been shortened due to space limitations.)

67 Minutes
Mandela Day falls on 18 July and on this day people are requested to give back 67 minutes of their time. However, it is so hard to decide what act of charity to perform and who to give to. Cancer has really affected our running community and is therefore close to our hearts, so we decided to raise money for CANSA. We invited all fellow runners and walkers to make a donation of any amount towards CANSA and by wearing a pink shirt, honour the beneficiaries by running or walking for 67 minutes on 18 July. About 30 people met in honour of this worthy cause at Sea Point promenade. Since this was not an official event, the amount raised is unknown but the sense of Ubuntu was unlimited.We got some pink t-shirts printed as a reminder of just how lucky we all really are and as athletes, how much we have to be grateful for.

You Rock!
Thanks for the wonderful magazine. It is really great to read. I have to keep so many copies for friends who are not members of Boksburg
and boy do they get upset if I forget. – LINDA, SECRETARY: BOKSBURG

Oh Vlok…That Was Close!
We received several letters on the David Vlok story along similar lines of concerns whether David should have received his medal or not. The official response (see below) makes a lot of sense if you are a runner and embrace the Comrades spirit. Besides being a great story, the article raised a lot of interest because of David’s profile but NO runner would have been treated differently by the Comrades Referee who has final say on disqualifications.
David Vlok was not disqualified at the 2010 Comrades Marathon as no technical rule was contravened by him. If an athlete contravenes a technical rule they are disqualified at the finish line to allow them the right to appeal. Before a referee disqualifies an athlete, they access whether there has been any advantage gained by an athlete to ensure there is fair play for everybody. In this instance, David Vlok ran the complete distance within all the official cut-off times and he was actually disadvantaged due to his late start.
Life is about learning and growing from experiences. Accept and respect the official desicion and move on to focus on the next event. David is not the first runner to ever get to a start late from oversleeping, nor will he be the last. Learn from his experience and add a mental note to always ensure the alarm clock is set the night before a race. Don’t place it next to the bed, that way you have to get up to switch it off!

Comrades Profit
I read a recent newsletter by the Comrades Marathon Association and would like to comment on the following: “After the hugely successful implementation of the new early entry process for the 2010 Comrades Marathon, when over 23 000 athletes responded to the call for entries, the CMA has opted to stick with the winning formula and will open entries for the 2011 Comrades Marathon on Wednesday, 1 September 2010.
All former and aspiring Comrades runners are
invited to submit their entry for the 2011 race from
1 September to 30 November 2010.”

Let’s look at the stats for the 2010 event:
   Number of entries: 23 568
Number of entrants who met the qualifying criteria: 19 096
Number of registrations: 17 627
Number of finishers: 14 343 (That is a finishing rate of 60.86%. Winning formula?)
   Number of athletes not registered: 5 941
  Entry fees received but not ‘used’: R1 485 250

Now the question is, if the definition of ‘hugely successful and winning formula’ is to make a pure profit of R1 485 250, then yes, it was hugely successful, but if the definition is to provide a service to athletes then surely the CMA cannot claim that it was hugely successful.

Why can’t they at least then allow substitutions and charge an administration fee? At least then they would be delivering a service to runners and also ensuring that the actual starters were more than 75% of the entrants. – FRANCOIS JORDAAN

Comment from Gary Boshoff, General Manager Comrades Marathon Association:
The decision to run the Comrades Marathon is not one that is taken lightly by anyone. The decision is made at least six to eight months before race day as proper preparation requires months of dedicated training.
The decision to bring the entry period of the Comrades Marathon forward by seven months was motivated by the desire of the CMA to deliver a better quality service to the runner. By knowing who is going to run as early as possible, the CMA can tailor its services to the needs of the runner. We also believe that the early entry period served as a motivator for athletes to start their serious preparation. 

The suggestion that the CMA has made excessive financial profit through the new entry process cannot be further from the truth. In fact, only 15% of the Comrades Marathon’s race expenses are covered by entry fees; the rest is secured through sponsorship from our three major sponsors and an array of smaller sponsors that make this race possible. The additional entry fees have indeed enabled the CMA to provide more and better quality services to the Comrades runner. After having received 23 500 entries, the CMA’s planning and preparation was based on 23 500 athletes for race day, for example, the products were increased to cater for this number of athletes. Similarly, security, traffic, marshals, referees, medical personnel, tent sizes and most other operational requirements had to be increased to provide a quality service to the Comrades athlete. The CMA has made a commitment of quality to our athletes and is determined to improve on the standard of service delivery year on year. The entry fee is therefore primarily to help the CMA cover the extensive costs incurred to stage the race.
In response to substitutions, the Comrades race rules have for years stated very clearly that no substitutions are allowed. This rule is there to prevent corruption and certainly not to enrich the CMA. 
However, the CMA is presently revisiting some of the rules, of which substitutions are one. 
The Comrades Marathon Association is committed to our athletes and will continue to provide the best possible service through innovation and a future focused approach to race organisation.


This picture was taken at about 6am after one of our morning runs earlier in the year. Thanks to Modern Athlete for going out of their way by providing us with Modern Athlete magazines for our Comrades Talk in late May. – BETH LIBBY-NEALE,

Randburg Harriers challenges all clubs to try and send a better picture!