Late hopefuls lose out

2010-02-01 00:00

FOUR minutes was all it took to register an additional 2 000 entries for the 2010 Comrades Marathon on Saturday morning.

Disappointed Comrades Marathon hopefuls were turned away without registering to participate in the race, after the desired number on Saturday’s extension date was quickly reached.

Many runners were not convinced when Mr Price staff members explained to them that registration was closed.

Marathon club Eskom Gijimas’s Lungile Nkosi said she arrived at the shop at about 4 am to register, joining a crowd of over 100 hopefuls at Mr Price in the city centre.

“The shop opened at 9 am, but a few minutes later the shop manager told us that registration was closed.

“She said the registration was open for 2 000 entries only. What do they [Comrades officials] expect us to do after all the training in preparation for the race? This is ridiculous. They must extend the cut-off date and increase the number of participants,” said Nkosi.

More than 100 disgruntled runners then marched to Comrades House in Scottsville to demand answers as to why they were “denied” the opportunity to enter the race.

Comrades House spokesman Craig Fry said Comrades entries were reopene­d for a limited number of 2 000 spots on Saturday morning, and that these were taken only at Mr Price stores nationwide. He said the 2 000 entries were snapped up in a very short space of time.

Fry said this was the third extension for registration to participate in the Comrades.

He said people leave things till the last minute and then start playing the blame game.

“People were given ample time to register, but they failed to use that opportunity. Saturday was the third extension date since we have been receiving requests from runners.

The decision was to take only 2 000 entries countrywide and that’s what has happened,” said Fry.

He said race organisers have agreed to take 10% more than the 20 000 entries received for last year’s Comrades.

He said this will ensure that, even if there are dropouts, there will still be 20 000 runners at the start.

“Participants from oversees completed their registration a long time ago, but locals are giving us a tough time because of their failure to stick to deadlines. I feel for them because it takes a lot of training to prepare for the race, but there’s nothing we can do at this stage,” he said.

He said all entries for the Comrades Marathon 2010 are officially closed.

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