Comrades stepping out to become a global brand

2010-08-27 00:00

COMRADES is a global brand. That was the message from the lavish launch of the 2011 Comrades Marathon held at the Toyota headquarters in Sandton yesterday.

Unveiling the new “Burned into your Soul” campaign for the up-run, Gary Boshoff, general manager of Comrades Marathon Association (CMA), said 2009 saw around 500 international entries.

“This year we had close to 1 200 from all around the world, and we want to build on this using our ever-growing ambassador programme that now runs in 13 countries.”

Organisers will build on the positive response to South Africa’s hosting of the World Cup to increase international participation, and the race will be represented at a number of marathons around the world, including Berlin, Athens, and Paris.

Although the drive is to increase entry numbers, ensuring safety and management requires that the total number of entrants be capped at 18 000.

Entries will be open from September 1 to November 30 and will close as soon as 13 000 is reached.

Apart from the global push, vice chairperson Peter Proctor announced the Tourism Hospitality and Sport Education and Training Authority (Theta) as the fourth major sponsor of the race alongside Nedbank, Flora and Bonitas.

Theta will be taking over many of the sponsorship rights currently held by Goldfields, whose contract terminates with the annual Spirit of Comrades Awards held in mid-October.

The authority has been involved with the race on a smaller level for the past two years, initially helping under-privileged runners to participate.

Theta will also sponsor the medals, the prize giving and the television package of the race for at least the next four years.

The 2011 entry fee has increased to R270 for local runners. Enter online (from September 1) at www.comrades.com, at any Mr Price, Mr Price Home or Mr Price Sport store countrywide, or by posting the entry form and proof of payment to Comrades House in Pietermaritzburg.

Hand-delivered entries will also be accepted at Comrades House.

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