Athletics

Comrades to undergo change

Comrades start (File)
Comrades start (File)
Durban – Newly appointed Comrades Marathon race director Rowan James is considering making sweeping changes for the 90th running of the Comrades Marathon next year.

James is looking at the possibility of including a half-marathon (21.1 km) to accommodate runners who cannot manage to do the official distance of 89.28 km from Pietermaritzburg to Durban.

James has run the Comrades Marathon 15 times himself.

He was race director of the Two Oceans Marathon for six years.

The Two Oceans Half Marathon attracts about 16 000 runners with around 11 000 doing the 56km ultra-marathon.

The Comrades Marathon is limited to 18 000 entries.

James has only been in the job for just over 50 days and has not had enough time to implement anything new.

"The time has been too tight for changes.

"We decided to keep what has been working all the years and we are not making any major changes for the 89th running of the race this year," says James.

James confirmed that next year’s race will definitely be an up run from Durban to Pietermaritzburg.

He is however looking at ways to improve the race and get as many people as possible involved so they can also be part of the unique Comrades experience.

"Yes, we know there are many people taking part in the race, but there are just as many supporters as there are runners.

"Most of the supporters are family and friends who might not be up to finishing an ultra-marathon.

"But they could perhaps manage to run 21 km.

"At this stage it is just a thought that I have.

"Nothing has been confirmed yet and I am still looking to put it to the Comrades board for consideration," says James.

"The half marathon could start about 21 km from the finish of the up run perhaps in the region of Lion Park and we could  also use Pinetown as a start for the down run the following year.

"In this way people can also get a taste of what it’s like to run up Polly Shorts and experience the atmosphere on the route," he explains.
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