Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
1 minute read
2 Oct 2019
4:39 pm

Comrades Marathon targets record numbers in 2020

Wesley Botton

As if one felt it wasn't big enough already...

A runner is seen running past supporters during the Comrades Marathon a 87km race between Durban and Pietermaritzburg, Durban, last year. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Having avoided making sweeping changes, Comrades Marathon organisers are expecting record numbers for next year’s race.

Entries for the 2020 ‘down’ run between Pietermaritzburg and Durban would open on October 28, it was unveiled at the event launch on Wednesday.

Following a record sellout for the 2019 ultra-marathon, race director Rowyn James urged interested runners to be snappy in acquiring their places on the start line.

“We’ve set a closing date for entries on November 30, but we’re confident the entry limit will be reached well before that date,” James said.

“We believe entries will probably be sold out within four days.”

Following the unprecedented interested in the event in recent years, the Comrades Marathon Organisation (CMA) confirmed the entry cap for the race had been increased to 27 500 runners, and all finishers next year were set to receive a special once-off medal to commemorate the 95th edition of the annual road race.

Of those entries, 7 000 would be reserved for novices and 2 500 would be set aside for international participants.

While the entry fee had not changed, with South African citizens still paying R600 to take part, the prize money had been bumped up, with the first man and woman across the line on June 14 receiving R525 000.

There would also be R525 000 bonuses on offer for the men’s and women’s ‘down’ run records held by David Gatebe (5:18:19) and Frith van der Merwe (5:54:43).

In addition, the first South African athletes to complete the 90km course would each receive R200 000, and the first man and woman from KwaZulu-Natal would get R50 000.

There would be no major adjustments to the route, organisers assured, and the race would end at Moses Mabhida Stadium for the second time.

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