Boshoff leaves ‘a satisfied man’

2013-06-14 00:00

COMRADES Marathon Association (CMA) general manager Gary Boshoff has decided eight is enough and leaves the organisation at the end of August.

After eight years’ involvement with the iconic race, Boshoff has decided to move on, returning to his roots in the Cape.

Said Boshoff: “I believe I have achieved my goals with the association and it’s time for the next phase in my life. I have just turned 50 and after being out the Cape for 15 years, decided it’s the right time to return to familiar territory.”

Boshoff arrived at Comrades after being CEO at the Blue Bulls rugby set-up. Although it was a change from rugby, which he acknowledges as his first love, it was a new challenge that gave him a different focus in life.

“When I took the position, I was tasked to meet certain goals regarding the race and the CMA. These goals included new strategic objectives, to professionalise the race, establish new, up-to-date and workable systems, build a lasting relationship with local authority and local government, and develop a management system with our sponsors,” said Boshoff.

“Our sponsors are the lifeblood of the race and my objective was to see them as partners, working toward the good of the race now and in the future, rather than an entity that’s taken as a given to keep the race alive. I believe, looking at those goals, that I leave the CMA a satisfied man.”

Boshoff leaves Pietermaritzburg for the Boland, taking up a senior manager position within the Drakenstein Municipality.

Again, it’s another change in direction but, as Boshoff highlighted, there are some familiar ingredients. “This position still has a taste of sport to it as I will be responsible for sport, recreation and parks. Sport has and continues to be part of my life and being able to accommodate it within my daily work schedule is fortunate,” he said.

There is a degree of familiarity within the new position as Boshoff has a masters degree in development studies, with particular focus on community development, having lectured on the subject at university level.

However, he leaves the CMA knowing the association still has its own challenges to conquer.

“The CMA needs to face challenges in leadership and needs to be decisive on this point,” said Boshoff. “The race has been around long enough to be a viable entity and is in a good place. The core ingredients are there and it’s a matter of keeping heads down and focusing on the way ahead.”

Looking back on his time at Comrades, Boshoff rates Russian Leonid Shvetsov’s wins in 2007 and 2008 as the best he saw. “He set the record for the up and down runs with those wins and they were two extraordinary runs. On his day and in full flow, he was magnificent to watch and he has definitely left his mark on the race.”

On the administrative side, 2012 was a good year. “Comrades was honoured by Aims (Association of International Marathons and Distance Races) and we won the bid to bring the Aims conference to South Africa next year,” said Boshoff.

Boshoff still hopes to contribute to rugby through television commentary, although “that depends on my new position and if I can fit in the schedule I am required to do. I need to deliver first before thinking of other matters”. Although inspired by watching thousands of athletes achieve their Comrades dream every year, Boshoff remains true to his rugby roots and has no inclination of perhaps having one attempt at taming the road between Durban and Pietermaritzburg.

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