Check out all the latest news and important info from the world’s biggest, oldest and most famous ultra, the Comrades Marathon. – BY DELAINE COOLS & NONKULULEKO MDLALOSE
2017 COMRADES ENTRIES IN FULL SWING
The CMA has confirmed that more than 6000 entries were received in the first week after the entry process opened on 1 September! That number included nearly 600 international athletes from more than 30 countries. The 92nd Comrades Marathon will take place on Sunday 4 June 2017.
The three-month entry window will close on 30 November 2016, or as soon as the entry cap of 20,000 has been reached, and prospective entrants are encouraged to get their entries in early to avoid disappointment. After that, the 2017 Substitution Process will offer a last chance to obtain an entry, and this window has been extended by two weeks to run from 14 March until 14 April 2017.
Entry fees for the 2017 Comrades Marathon are as follows:
• Local Entries R460 (months of Oct & Nov for SA athletes only)
• Rest of Africa R770
• International R2650
For details on how to enter, please visit the Comrades Marathon website: www.comrades.com
The CMA recognises that running clubs are pivotal to the sport of road running, so to foster greater involvement of the clubs and prioritise the runners, the CMA has introduced the Runners First initiative. Running clubs will be granted access to the entrant database to verify their runners’ details, which will ensure data accuracy and integrity and also have a direct positive impact on the race registration process.
NEW FINISH VENUE & OTHER DEVELOPMENTS
For the first time in 16 years, the 2017 Comrades Marathon will once again finish at the Scottsville Racecourse. The CMA has announced that the 130-year old landmark location will serve as the finish venue for the 92nd edition of The Ultimate Human Race, having served as the finish venue of both the 1998 and 2000 editions of the race.
In other developments, the CMA will no longer offer Hot Spot prizes. Instead, 2017 will see the introduction of an Elite Team Prize with R32,000 awarded to both the Men’s and Women’s winning teams. The Gunga Din Trophy will revert to being awarded to amateur/recreational clubs.
COMRADES PERCEPTION SURVEY
The CMA would like to thank the 3358 runners who responded to the 2016 Comrades Marathon Survey. The results can be viewed here:
10th GREATER EDENDALE RACE – COME RUN WITH US!
The CMA has called on runners to join in the 10th running of the popular annual Greater Edendale Race, which takes place on Sunday 13 November. The CMA will once again host the race at the FNB Wadley Stadium in Georgetown, Edendale as part of its social responsibility programme. This race has been attracting nearly 2000 participants on an annual basis and is a major attraction for local schools, with grand prizes for those schools with the most number of finishers.
Prize money totalling more than R21,000 is up for grabs with a generous first prize of R3,000 for the first man and first woman over the finish line respectively. The first three men’s and women’s walkers will also be rewarded. Every finisher will take home a medal in addition to all 10km runners receiving an Edendale 10km race T-shirt. The entry fee for the 10km race is R40 and participants must be at least 14 years old to run it. Anyone over nine years may enter the 5km Fun Run, which forms part of the world renowned AIMS Children’s Series Race, at an entry fee of R20 (but free for school children). Pre-entries will be taken at Comrades Marathon House (weekdays 8am to 4:30pm), and late entries will still be taken up till race day.
GET YOUR 2017 TRAINING PROGRAMME
The official Comrades Marathon Coach, Lindsey Parry, has devised a comprehensive training programme to get you to the start line of the 2017 Ultimate Human Race and help you achieve your coveted Comrades medal. You can find the programmes and training tips at www.comrades.com.
TEAM COMRADES PLANTS TREES WITH WILDLANDS
The CMA recently assisted one of its official charities, The Wildlands Conservation Trust, in its tree-planting initiative. Wildlands set itself an ambitious goal of planting 100,000 trees during National Arbour Week, which is observed at the beginning of September every year. The saplings planted were all of indigenous varieties and were grown and nurtured by ‘tree-preneurs’ who barter with Wildlands for livelihood support items such as building materials, water tanks, bicycles, food hampers or groceries.
Several local businesses and organisations came out in support of this greening initiative by availing their staff to join in the tree-planting and contributing to a greener and more sustainable future for the citizens of Pietermaritzburg. As CMA General Manager Chris Fisher says, “We value the incredible work done by Wildlands. As an official Comrades Charity and as an organisation at the forefront of conservation efforts and with a deep commitment to bettering the social and environmental landscape with significant projects, we could not help but get involved. Our mission and goals are well aligned to serve the communities in which we operate and give back to society in meaningful ways.”
GREEN AWARDS FOR COMMUNITY MARSHALS
The CMA hosted its 2016 Community Marshals’ Green Name Awards Function at Comrades House in Pietermaritzburg in the last week of August. The event was held in recognition of the community marshals who have been of service to the Comrades Marathon for more than a decade.
Consisting of a 200-strong team, the Comrades Marathon Community Marshals Programme was implemented by the CMA in 2004 in response to a need for greater runner safety along the route. Since then, this special band of people has ensured the safe passage of Comrades Marathon runners from Cato Ridge to Inchanga, year in and year out, performing their duties with pride and a deep sense of responsibility for the safety and protection of the runners. The CMA has in turn provided training and support for the marshaling team on an annual basis in the run-up to the race, and thanks to such training and skills transfer, many of these volunteers have gone on to secure meaningful jobs for themselves.
Each of the 54 Green Name recipients was honoured with a Green Name Certificate by CMA Chairperson, Macdonald Chitja, and he says, “From its inception, this project was viewed as a community initiative. Our engagement started with Nkosi Mlaba and his Induna, and has continued to grow. Though individuals were awarded the Green Name Certificates, the function is a celebration of the involvement of the entire community. This is a special moment to celebrate more than a decade-long contribution of such dedicated volunteers to the Comrades Marathon. We are very grateful to each of the Green Name recipients.”
CMA ASSISTS AT CAPITAL CLIMB
Team Comrades had fun at the recent SHF Capital Climb 15km race, hosting the Worlds View Refreshment Station. The team has been supporting this fellow Pietermaritzburg race for several years, and CMA General Manager Chris Fisher, says, “The Comrades Marathon Association supports local races and hosting the refreshment station is in line with our commitment to giving back to our running community.”
WALL OF HONOUR GIFT IDEA
Why not give a gift of love to the Comrades runner in your family this Christmas? This treasured Comrades memento has become a sought-after gift for Christmas and birthdays, and you can beat the Christmas rush by ordering a Comrades Wall of Honour plaque today. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
COMRADES MUSEUM REOPENS
The newly revamped Comrades Marathon Museum is now open to the public, having undergone a major refurbishment, and the collection of unique, antique and collectable Comrades memorabilia is sure to capture your imagination. Comrades Museum Curator Roxanne Thomas says, “We have been greatly looking forward to opening up our grand museum to our stakeholders and members of the public once again. The impressive Comrades collection of historical and modern keepsakes is well worth seeing.”
SHARE YOUR COMRADES STORY
Every person has a story to tell and Comrades Marathon runners in particular have the ultimate tales of courage, perseverance and endurance. We are calling on ardent Comrades runners to inspire the nation to take up the challenge of running the world’s most gruelling footrace, by sending us your Comrades Story in 300 words or less, and stand the chance to win a Comrades hamper. Please e-mail your story to email@example.com
RUN FOR A CAUSE AT COMRADES
The Comrades Marathon makes a positive difference to the lives of the less fortunate by supporting six official Comrades Charities, and runners are invited to support these charities through the Amabeadibeadi and Race4Charity initiatives. To find out more about how you can make a difference, go to www.comrades.com/charities/amabeadibeadi or www.comrades.com/charities/race-4-charity.