Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
1 minute read
1 Mar 2014
7:10 am

Comrades date conundrum

Wesley Botton

The organisers of South Africa's oldest and most prestigious road race will not consider a change of date for this year's event, according to Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) chairman Macdonald Chitja.

FILE PICTURE: The starting line of the 2013 Comrades Marathon. Picture: Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images.

“The CMA is not considering the race change date this year and has not been requested to do so,” Chitja confirmed yesterday.

According to media reports this week, the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business had solicited the Msunduzi muncipality’s support to change the date of the 93-year-old ultra-marathon.

Melanie Veness, chief executive of the PCB, told Sapa that Pietermaritzburg could not accommodate the Royal Air Show, Art in the Park and Comrades over the same weekend.

With runners forced to find accommodation in Durban, Veness said Pietermartitzburg, where the 89km race will start on June 1, would lose economic spin-off from the event, which attracts well over 13 000 local and international athletes each season.

Chitja said the race organisers were consulting internally and with other stakeholders about avoiding a clash in future.

The Comrades Marathon was previously held on various dates in May and June, but was forced to change from a fixed date due to complaints from political and religious organisations, and is no longer held on the same day each season.

“We were informed recently about the challenges of holding many events on the same weekend,” Chitja said.

“Certain representations have been made for CMA to consider a date change in the future. Affected stakeholders are consulting.”