This year's Comrades Marathon has a 'new' but familiar finish line

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Kingsmead last hosted the Comrades finish in 2016. (Photo by Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images)
Kingsmead last hosted the Comrades finish in 2016. (Photo by Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images)

The 2023 Comrades Marathon's unofficial theme of "back to tradition" has been lent further credence by the announcement of Kingsmead's return as this year's finish line.

Durban's premier cricket ground hasn't been saddled with that responsibility since 2016's edition and the ultra marathon event, unwittingly, contributed to the infamous Test between the Proteas and New Zealand there when the match lost three-and-a-half days due to an unfit outfield despite bright sunshine throughout the last two days.

That year's race ended in mid-June, which meant Kingsmead could only plant its winter grass - for the mid-August fixture - afterwards.

A freak flood in July and then heavy rain during the first few days of the Test meant the grass never really took hold.

Nonetheless, there's real excitement about the reversion to the "old" arrangement after two years - 2018 and 2022 - of Moses Mabhida Stadium hosting the climax of the "Down Run".

"Kingsmead Stadium is our preferred finish venue for this year’s Down Run, as the venue is accustomed to hosting the Comrades Marathon and the revised route should be an ease in transition for the runners," said Rowyn James, the Comrades Marathon's race director.

"We would like to thank the team at Moses Mabhida Stadium for partnering with the Comrades during the 2018 and 2022 races and we look forward to hosting our athletes."

The 2010 FIFA World Cup venue isn't available this year due to it hosting Cosafa Cup fixtures.

"Moses Mabhida Stadium valued its association with the Comrades Marathon as their finish venue of choice during the 2018 and 2022 Comrades Down Runs. This race is not just a proudly KZN event but one of international significance; and it continues to attract the world’s best ultra-runners to our shores and maintain Durban’s status as South Africa’s sporting playground," said head of stadia and facilities Unit, Vusi Mazibuko.

This year's race date is returning to its traditional date of the second Sunday in June from the previously held August date, 11 June 2023.

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