All systems go for Comrades 2016

2016-04-13 06:00
PHOTO: jonathan burton  Comrades Marathon race director Rowan James during a media breakfast at Golden Horse Casino last week.

PHOTO: jonathan burton Comrades Marathon race director Rowan James during a media breakfast at Golden Horse Casino last week.

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WITH just under 50 days to go and 7 313 novices, the Comrades Marathon 2016 is rearing to go and Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) management said that even though Russian athletes will not be participating due to the IAAF ban, there is plenty talent to make the race interesting.

This year is a down run from Pietermaritzburg to Durban and, over the years, has proved to be the one that is dominated by South African athletes who feature more predominately.

“Russians or no Russians, it’s still going to be a great race,” said race director Rowan James.

According to the IAAF ban, Russian athletes will not be able to race in any international athletics tournaments and races due to issues regarding institutional doping in the country.

“We are bound by the IAAF stance on doping. We are taking a firm stance against doping and it is something we are not going to tolerate,” said CMA chairman, Macdonald Chitja.

Chitja also spoke about the various charities that some Comrades runners support.

“Comrades itself does not raise any money, however, we have charities we support and we hope these are the ones our runners take on board,” he said.

The first charity Comrades supported was the Nelson Mandela Foundation and that year between R200 000 and R300 000 was donated with the former president himself was present at the race to show his support. Last year approximately R4.5 million was raised through Comrades and distributed to various charities.

CMA management described the ultimate human race as one of the many sporting events that has unified the country over the years - from watching the emotions of people crossing the line, to seeing runners helping each other over the line or watching runners just miss the cut off during the race.

“We’re all equal on the road on that day whether you’re a CEO or unemployed, we share a common goal - to achieve the same objective - to finish,” said James.

The 2016 edition of the Comrades Marathon will take place on Sunday, 29 May starting from the Pietermaritzburg City Hall.

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