Comrades: Guinness confirms ultra-marathon as world's greatest

2010-10-20 00:00

THE world has finally recognised the Comrades Marathon as the biggest in the world.

The Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) chairperson Dave Dixon announced yesterday that the marathon has been hailed as the world’s greatest ultra-marathon by Guinness World Records.

Besides the 2010 Fifa World Cup being hosted in South Africa, said Dixon, the Comrades Marathon this year saw the largest ultra-marathon field since the turn of the millennium, with 23 568 entries, and 14 343 runners completed the race within the 12-hour cut-off time.

This year’s entries are surpassed by the entries in 2000, which reached 24 500.

Said Dixon, “As part of the celebrations, amongst other things, the CMA applied to Guinness World Records to set a new record for the most runners in an ultra-marathon … and this year’s running of the race proved to be just that, by the ultimate authority on record breaking achievements, namely the Guinness World Records.

Meeting the stringent requirements of the Guinness World Records was no walk in the park.

CMA’s marketing co-ordinator, Thami Vilakazi, explained that “applying for the record attempt was quite a process, and organising and collecting all the necessary evidence was an event in itself”.

More than 14 000 runners reached the finish line within the cut-off time and it was this statistic that catapul­ted the Ultimate Human Race on to the internationally acclaimed record books, to be officially recognised as the world’s greatest ultra-marathon.

Thami added: “We as the CMA were honoured to have the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business’s Andrew Layman and The Witness newspaper’s Dave Erasmus on hand to independently corroborate the record-breaking number of Comrades 2010 finishers by submitting witness statements.”

He said CMA thanks all the runners who took part and embraced the camaraderie of the race as they played a major role in this achievement.

Layman said: “It’s wonderful that Guinness World Records has recognised the Comrades Marathon as a record-breaker. We have long been of the belief that the Ultimate Human Race was a feat in itself. It’s good to have that confirmed by such an authoritative body”

Commenting on the Guinness achievement, The Witness ’s general manager for national sales and marketing, Dave Erasmus, said: “It is very special that the City of Choice … can once again host a Guinness World Record. It is extremely rewarding and is a definite thumbs-up to all those who make the Comrades not just possible but successful year in and year out.”

Thando on twitter.

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