Participants in next year’s Comrades Marathon “down run” will have a new finish venue. This was announced by the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) at a launch function in Johannesburg on Wednesday.The iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban will serve as the finish venue for the world’s largest and oldest ultra marathon, replacing Kingsmead Sahara Stadium.The 93rd edition of the “Ultimate Human Race” will start at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall at 5.30 am on Sunday, June 10 and cover a distance of approximately 89,2 km.Speaking at the launch, CMA race director Rowyn James said: “We are delighted to announce the new finish venue for 2018. We have exciting plans in place for next year’s down run.“We urge our athletes to enter early and take advantage of our early-bird entry fee, especially South African runners. The race will always be on the second Sunday of June going forward.” He said that despite the change in the finish venue, the 2016 route and distance would likely remain the same.“We will have six cut-off points along the route. This year we’ll be putting in two mystery cut-offs that will only be known by myself and few others. It’s an effort to try and address the cheating that goes on, as well.“Runners can expect the same route as in 2016 — except for the last eight kilometres to avoid the Tollgate highway — with a 12-hour cut-off,” James explained.South African runner David Gatebe holds the male down run record of 5:18,19 for his 2016 win.This year’s champion Bongmusa Mthembu, who was in attendance at the launch yesterday, welcomed the venue change, saying it was long overdue.“I think it’s quite exciting that we will be finishing at Moses Mabhida Stadium. We’ve always [as athletes] hoped that it would change to that and we’re delighted to see it finally happening. We look forward to the next year’s race,” he said. The three-month-long entry process will open tomorrow and close on November 30, or as soon as the entry cap of 20 000 has been reached. This will be the 46th down run in Comrades history, and the new slogan is “Asijiki”, which means no turning back.The first man and woman to cross the finish line will receive R440 000 each.Moreover, the first male and female KwaZulu-Natal runners receive R45 000, while the first South African gets a R200 000 prize each in the men’s and women’s races. Entry fees are as follows: Early bird: R460 (month of September for both South Africans and the rest of Africa) Local entries: R500 International: R3 300 Entrants from the rest of Africa will pay the same entry fee as local runners.More details are available on the Comrades Marathon website.