Organisers of the Comrades Marathon revealed some changes on Thursday for the 94th edition of the gruelling ultra-marathon, to be held in KwaZulu-Natal next year.
We take a closer look at some of the tweaks which have been made, and how they will affect both elite and amateur participants.
Already offering the biggest prize purse in South African road running, the organisers have bumped it up even more. The R4.3 million up for grabs includes a R200 000 cheque for the first South African man and woman home. A record bonus of R500 000 is also on offer for the ‘up’ run records held by Leonid Shvetsov (5:24:49) and Russian compatriot Elena Nurgalieva (6:09:24).
Perhaps the most controversial announcement made among the changes is the cost of entry. Local runners will need to pay R600 to ensure their place, with participants from other African countries forking out R1 500 and international entries outside the continent costing R3 800.
Two more medals are up for grabs, adding to the variety of goals for entrants to chase. The Isavel Roche Kelly medal, named after the 1981 winner, will be awarded to all women who finish between 11th position and seven hours, 30 minutes (7:30:00). The Robert Mtshali medal, named after the first black runner to finish the race unofficially in 1935, will be given to all finishers between 9:00:00 and 10:00:00.
The times required to line up at the start have controversially been cut. While the final cut-off on race day is still 12 hours, participants are required to run a bit quicker than they have in recent years in order to get a race number.
Runners will be able to enter the race between October 19 and December 10, or when the limit of 25 000 entries is reached. The substitution entry process will open on March 1 and close on April 15. While 7 000 entries are reserved for novices, first-time participants will need to achieve qualifying times before they can book their place.
Date and venue
The race, to be held on June 9, will start outside the Durban City Hall and finish at Scottsville Racecourse in Pietermaritzburg. The official race distance is 86.73km.