Shooting the Breeze

2018-06-20 06:01

THE 2018 Comrades Marathon has come and gone. Well done again to Comrades Marathon Association local organising committee (loc) for putting up an exciting showpiece again.

The decision to choose the historical Moses Mabhida Stadium as the new finishing area did not only make new history, but was a wise decision and well thought.

To me, the new venue looked more spacious, safe, spectacular and professional.

Let me again say, this year’s down run (Pietermaritzburg to Durban), especially the finishing area, was just a marvel to watch and just out of this world.

As a former passionate athlete myself, sport follower, proud South African resident, scribe for more than 25 years and ex-CMA loc member, let me also throw in a few tips and concerns in the hat.

Next year’s Comrades Marathon will be an up run (Durban to Pietermaritzburg) and I am crossing my fingers and praying hard that the organisers think very hard about finishing the race at The Oval near Alexandra Park.

I stand to be corrected, but I personally think that CMA need to seriously consider Harry Gwala Stadium as their next finishing area for next year’s race for many obvious reasons. I remember many years ago and during the Bruce Fordyce era, the old Jan Smuts Stadium (now called Harry Gwala Stadium) was the venue to be when it’s Comrades Marathon time.

On Sunday, around Moses Mabhida Stadium, I was really concerned over the way SABC TV studio was situated, next to the finishing area and in the open space. Most of the officials or guests interviewed battled to hear and felt cold because the part time studio was not accommodated in the part time/mobile office surrounded by glasses or at least plastic covers.

The noise coming from fans around the stadium interfered with the interviews.

Bruce Fordyce can attest to this.

I also sensed that the guy that was commenting from Bonitas helicopter was very negative about Bongmusa Mthembu. To me that commentator just doubted Mthembu and did not think that was capable to win the race. My other concern is about the finishing area when the 2018 champion Bongmusa Mthembu crossed the finish line.

We all saw his followers on the stands close to the finishing area, but where was proud Mthembu’s son, his mother or at least his coach Xolani Mabhida to officially welcome him? I understand, it was needed and expected for officials and politicians to welcome the winners, but family members and coaches are always important, set the atmosphere to another level and look stylish when the winners are crossing the line. As I said, I may be wrong and stand to be corrected.

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