Comrades’ big KZN boost

2011-05-21 00:00

THE Comrades Marathon is more than just a race, but one of KwaZulu-Natal’s cash cows. According to Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) general manager, Gary Boshoff, the marathon — which is being run from Durban to Pietermaritzburg next Sunday — is expected to inject about R300 million into the province’s economy.

The research was conducted by an international research company, Repucom International, after they interviewed locals and international participants, supporters, sponsors and the general public to determine the economic impact.

Vice-President of Repucom South Africa, Etienne Karsten said the study validates its recent inclusion into the Guinness Book of World Records as the biggest ultra-marathon in the world.

Last year’s Comrades broke the record with 14 343 runners completing the race within the 12-hour cut-off time.

“The 2010 economic impact study of the Comrades Marathon revealed that R286 million was pumped into the KZN economy as a direct result of the Comrades Marathon being staged in the province. It therefore makes perfect economic and political sense for business and government to continue to support this magnificent event,” he said.

Boshoff said he was ecstatic about the results and stressed the importance of the Comrades Marathon for the tourism industry in particular.

“Local participants stayed an average of five days while international participants tend to stay longer, on average 8,3 days in 2010.

“This, together with the fact that 70% of the participants originate outside KwaZulu-Natal, illustrates the important impact that the race has on the tourism industry of KZN, but more importantly, the potential of future growth in this sector of the local economy,” he explained.

The marathon is working in close ties with Pietermaritzburg and Durban, as well as Tourism KwaZulu-Natal to ensure that the Comrades Marathon remains one of the world’s prime sports events.

“In recent years we’ve stepped up our international marketing drive through the assistance of Tourism KwaZulu-Natal in particular.”

This year’s international entrants are standing at 1 226.

“We have international athletes from 59 countries around the globe, a fantastic achievement indeed,” Boshoff added.

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