It’s all go for 88th Comrades Marathon

2013-05-31 00:00

COMRADES Marathon Association (CMA) race director Johan van Staden has given the all-clear for the 88th edition of the race on Sunday.

Speaking in Durban yesterday, Van Staden said everything was well prepared to “supply all the needs of the runners from start to finish”.

On the route are 48 fully stocked refreshment tables, with up to 5 000 volunteers involved. The stations offer water, fruit, energy drinks, chocolates, biscuits and cooked potatoes.

Van Staden said there were 100 community marshals assisting 352 members of the SA Police Service and traffic departments.

“With Metro Police, the CMA’s security provider and other law enforcement personnel on duty, the figure involves up to 652 people.”

Van Staden said the Boston Marathon bombs had forced the CMA to upgrade all aspects of security.

“What I mean by this is having more people on the ground and intense searching of bags at the start and finish,” he said.

“Even areas away from the start and finish will be searched, and sniffer dogs will be at the finish and its surrounds throughout the day.”

Van Staden had heartening news for runners hoping to reach their goal and beat the 12-hour cut-off gun: “Compared to the last up run, the only change is on the run into the stadium, near the end. This has been shortened by 97,3 metres, making the official distance 86,863 km.”

CMA general manager Gary Boshoff said: “An intensive training programme was done under the auspices of Saids (SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport) to ensure all drug chaperones are Saids-accredited and meet the requirements as stipulated by Saids. All names submitted to Saids were screened and two were not approved. The testing process is now in the hands of Saids and has nothing to do with the race organisers.”

Jeremy Boulter, the race’s chief medical officer, said there were nine physio stations, nine medical stations, a fleet of ambulances, an emergency helicopter and response vehicles on duty on the race route.

With hot weather and strong headwinds forecast, Boulter has advised athletes to keep cool along the way by spraying water on themselves and not to overdo their fluid intake.

The emergency medical number on race day is 082 911.

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