Comrades 2013: it’s all about ‘U’

2012-08-30 00:00

NEXT year’s Comrades Marathon is all about “U”.

Comrades Marathon Association’s (CMA) Peter Proctor unveiled the 2013 campaign at the official launch of next year’s race in Johannesburg yesterday.

Embracing the slogan “U are Ultraordinary”, the 88th edition of the race promises to take the world renowned event to new heights.

“Comrades is already known as the ultimate human race and now we focus on the people who make it ‘ultraordinary’, the thousands of runners, past and present, who burn the flame of the Comrades legacy.

“Our runners, from here and all corners of the world, have extra special attributes, a spirit of desire and determination, that makes them and our race a unique phenomenon,” said Proctor.

While acknowledging that this year’s race was an outstanding success and reached new heights particularly with the Amabeadibeadi charity drive — where R3,2 million was raised — Proctor was confident that next year would be bigger and better.

“Time and again, at overseas marathons, Comrades has proven to be the best ultra marathon in the world.

“It’s a fine testimony to race founder Vic Clapham that the race has kept going through political change and hard times. Our tribute to him and all those associated the race is to strive for perfection in 2013 and with the team we have, that is definitely achievable,” Proctor said.

CMA race director Johan van Staden outlined plans for next year’s race, an up run starting from Durban city hall and finishing at Pietermaritzburg Cricket Oval.

Van Staden said: “Our Comrades year starts from June to June and we are already well on track with the 2013 race.

“Our four main sponsors have reaffirmed their commitment to the event and we have many more supplier sponsors ensuring every area of the race is covered.

“However, the most important aspect involves the entry process, with a certain once-off window period allowed for athletes to ensure they are on the start line.

“Entries have been capped at 18 000. The official window period for entering is from September 1 to November 30 or once the capped figure has been reached.

“Athletes will have up to May 6 to qualify and the substitution system which was successfully introduced this year will apply.

“This is when an athlete who has already entered decides to pull out for some reason and is substituted by someone else.

“Next year’s race is all about being ultra long, ultra hard and ultra emotional, undertaken by ultra athletes who experience the ultra achievement at completing the ultimate human race.”

Marketing of the race is already in full swing with the popular Comrades road shows scheduled to tour the country, plus seminars for women and novice runners.

There are also three Zulu seminars set for the province where the ins and outs of the race will be explained in what is the mother tongue for a vast majority runners.

Van Staden added that a massive boost for next year was having the AIMS regional conference in Pietermaritzburg on Friday, February 22, with members from around the world meeting to discuss the event, it’s safety and security.

Following a successful bid at this year’s AIMS world conference in Prague, the 2014 edition is in South Africa in May 2014.

Last year, the AIMS children’s race was held just before Comrades and this continues in 2013 and 2014.

Charities continue to benefit and, like the race, look to reach greater heights next year. Comrades 2013 is set to raise the bar. All it needs is U to help it achieve it’s goal.

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