THRONGS OF RUNNERS HEAD TO THE ZULU KINGDOM FOR THE BIGGER AND BETTER COMRADES MARATHON
Oldest ultra-marathon to enjoy increased runner numbers
Durban, South Africa – June 5, 2018: Tourism KwaZulu-Natal (TKZN) welcomes the thousands of visitors with open arms to the exceptional Zulu Kingdom for the 93rd Comrades Marathon which will take place, this Sunday, 10 June, 2018.
With the province’s warm winter season, visitors and runners can escape the winter chills and descend to KZN for a bit of fun in the sun.
This year’s theme is “Asijiki – No turning back” will see thousands of runners descend to KZN from all over the world.
TKZN’s Acting CEO, Phindile Makwakwa said the destination KwaZulu-Natal was ready to ensure that runners and spectators, both national and international, have an amazing, unique and world class experience.
Makwakwa said the Comrades Marathon was an important event for the province especially in terms of the economic impact. The Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) confirmed that they predict an economic boost of up to R700 million for this year’s Comrades Marathon.
“We hope that the cash injection will trickle down to all communities along the 90 kilometre route and through-out the province.
“We want to showcase our beautiful province, world class facilities and tourist attractions. The race is going from strength to strength with more international athletes competing this year compared to 2017 and we hope they will not only enjoy the race, but also take the time to explore our many sites and wonders – from the beach to the berg,” Makwakwa said.
More than 21 000 runners will wait for cock’s crow to signal the start of the race, at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall for the Down-Run of the world’s biggest and oldest ultra-marathon that will end 12 hours later at the iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
There are 370 more international athletes competing this year compared to last year. A total of 1 430 international entries were received and 554 from the rest of Africa.
Tourism KZN has been working closely with the CMA over the years to attract more international runners to the marathon.
“Our vision is to grow Comrades into a bona fide international event and increase the number of international participants. We believe that this marathon can stand head and shoulder with the likes New York Marathon, the London Marathon and Gold Coast Marathon in Australia. It is for this reason that we are supporting the CMA with promoting this marathon at international platforms,” Makwakwa said.
A study by TKZN following last year’s marathon indicated that KwaZulu-Natal was recommended as a tourist destination for reasons that include: attractions, beach and diverse culture.
“Visitors also sited KZN as a favorite family destination, a beautiful province with friendly people and good weather. We have lots to offer including many sporting events,” said Makwakwa.
KwaZulu-Natal has a well-established history of rich cultural landscapes and a wide range of its finest destination roots. Its appeal ranges from safaris, beaches, good cuisine and diaspora tourism. Comrades visitors are urged to take advantage on what’s on offer.
Makwakwa said the Comrades should also act as an incentive to get fit and live healthy.
“It is an exciting event and a fun outdoor experience for the whole family including spectators. The atmosphere is unbeatable.”
“We wish all the runners the best of luck for the 46th Down-Run in Comrades history and encourage them to stay on longer and enjoy our hospitality with and family. Enjoy our hospitality and all we have to offer,” Makwakwa said.
Over the years, the Comrades Marathon has attracted celebrities and media personalities and this year will again see, Kabelo Mabalane leading South African influencer and performer and radio commentator Redi Thlabi as well as South African mountaineer Sibusiso Vilane take on the Ultimate Human Race.
Media Release: Download the Department of Sport & Recreation Comrades App now!
With 65-thousand downloads last year, the latest version of the Comrades Marathon App is now ready for download via the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. With a myriad of functionalities, the App contains all need-to-know Comrades information at your fingertips, as well as a host of other aspects.
Sponsored by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sport & Recreation, the Comrades App contains state-of-the-art features, including results and tracking; training info; Expo dates and times; information on webinars and all aspects of the race; route and traffic information; route maps; final race instructions and statistics.
Some of its attractive features are:
- Selfie functionality with the ability to share to SM platforms or store on device
- Pace Calculator
- Push to talk notifications
Furthermore, the DSR Comrades App is the only platform where online raffle tickets can be purchased for the Toyota Win-A-Car competition which will close at 2pm on race day.
Comrades runners and supporters who had previously installed the original version on their mobile device would have received a push notification update to download the latest version.
Runners will find these functionalities highly useful and relevant:
RESULTS & TRACKING
- Results inclusive of split times
- Live tracking functionality
- Coach Parry’s training schedules
- Dates, times and important aspects of the race which have a direct impact on the runner or supporter relating to Race Day
- Qualifying events schedule
- Women’s Seminars
- Novice Seminars
- Spirit of Comrades
- Route Info
- Tog Bag Pick up
- Traffic Information
- Route Maps
- Final Race Instructions’
- Various statistics regarding the race
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
CMA Marketing Manager, Thami Vilakazi says, “The DSR Comrades App offers all the Comrades Marathon news and information right at your fingertips. It contains up-to-date, relevant facts and figures; and state-of-the-art results and tracking features which will greatly benefit our runners. It is a pleasure to have the Department of Sport & Recreation on board with us.”
With just 18 days to go to race day, the Comrades Marathon Association Chairperson has responded candidly to criticism regarding the move of this year’s Comrades finish venue to its new landmark location. CMA Chairperson, Cheryl Winn says the CMA Board and Race Organising Committee paid due diligence to all facets of the race and the venue before deciding to host the Comrades Marathon Finish at Durban’s acclaimed Moses Mabhida Stadium for the very first time.
Winn adds, “After having finished the last 21 Down Runs at Kingsmead Cricket Stadium, the CMA’s main motivation for taking this giant leap into the future is the capacity for us to grow the number of entries we can safely accommodate in future, which is presented by the facilities offered at the iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium.”
“As responsible organisers, we are both legally and morally bound to comply with the regulations of the Safety at Sports & Recreation Events Act of 2010, in terms of the numbers of bodies which can safely be accommodated in any given space, the safe movement of people within the space and the total safe-load of the facility.”
The Moses Mabhida Stadium, having been designed and built to modern, world class specifications, its general accessibility and the fact that it presents user-friendly facilities for the purposes of the Comrades Marathon is what cemented it as the finish venue of the world’s biggest and oldest ultra-marathon.
Winn says, “We anticipate that the move to Moses Mabhida will enable us to significantly enhance both our finish processing facilities and our entertainment appeal to spectators. The responses we have received through phone calls, letters, social and traditional media have been overwhelmingly positive toward the move, so much so that entries for the 2018 Comrades Marathon sold out within three weeks.”
Regarding the recent misunderstanding around entry into the stadium, it is worth clarifying that entry and seating in the stadium will be free for individuals and reserved seating at a nominal cost available to running clubs. Due to stadium regulations, clubs will not be allowed to erect tents and gazebos. However a largely unlimited number of club tent sites will be made available in the neighbouring People’s Park Tent Village.”
She says, “Clubs have the option to purchase an allocated seating area on Level 3 of the Stadium, sold in blocks of 50 seats at a nominal charge of R10 per seat and with full view of the runners entering the stadium. It is important to distinguish that this is not a charge for entry to the stadium, but for a specially reserved seating area.”
Clubs can purchase a tent site in one of four options in the People’s Park Club Tent Site Village. There is no direct view of runners entering the stadium from the People’s Park Club Tent Site Village; however two of the options have Big Screens and the other two come with options for flat screen televisions.
“We respect the conditions of the Moses Mabhida Stadium in terms of food and beverages not being allowed into the venue. This is a norm at almost any stadium where food and beverages have to be purchased from licensed vendors. Runners however will be provided free of charge with soup and beverages upon finishing the event.”
Winn concludes, “We are very excited about the move to the Moses Mabhida Stadium. We feel the final few kilometres along Masabalala Yengwa Avenue are going to present a spectacular run-in to the finish and have high hopes that our runners and spectators will continue to embrace the changes that have to be made in the name of progress positively.”
Statement issued by the Comrades Marathon Association’s Media Officer, Delaine Cools on Tuesday, 22.5.2018
For an interview, please call:
- CMA Chairperson, Cheryl Winn on 082 779 0824
- CMA General Manager, Chris Fisher on 071 883 6919
- CMA Race Director, Rowyn James on 079 501 0061
For more information, please call Delaine Cools on 033 897 8650