Jacques van der Westhuyzen

By Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Head of Sport


Comrades Marathon organisers apologise for hiccups, promise to address concerns

The 97th running of the ultra-marathon took place between Durban and Pietermaritzburg on Sunday.


Comrades Marathon organisers have promised to investigate numerous concerns and complaints about Sunday’s 97th running of the race between Durban and Pietermaritzburg.

While the race has been hailed as a major success, complaints of various kinds have been received by the Comrades Marathon Association.

The men’s race on Sunday was won by Piet Wiersma of the Netherlands, while Gerda Steyn won the women’s race in a record time.

While more than 20,000 entries had been received for the 2024 edition of the ultra-marathon, the organisers announced on Tuesday that 18,884 runners started the first Up Run since 2019 and 17,313 runners finished in the allotted time of 12 hours for the 85,91km distance.

Concerns

Comrades Race and Operations manager Ann Ashworth confirmed on Tuesday though that certain issues did not go according to plan on race day, including:

  • The short supply of runner goodie bags to the Durban registration,
  • The late arrival of the buses tasked with the transportation of athletes from the finish area to Durban as part of the Runners’ Bus Service,
  • The tremendous traffic congestion on the N3 highway as well as in the areas immediately surrounding the finish venue,
  • The late collection of general waste and recyclables from the refreshment stations located in the second half of the race route, and
  • The short supply of Robert Mtshali medals to athletes finishing between 9 hours and 9 hours 59 minutes.

In a statement released by the CMA, Ashworth gives her assurance that a full investigation will be made into the cause of the challenges mentioned above and that steps will be taken to address and resolve all complaints as soon as possible.

Traffic issues

Among the steps proposed to be taken to address some of the concerns, a new portfolio within the Race Organising Committee will be established ahead of next year’s race, the sole responsibility of which will be to anticipate and address any parking and traffic concerns expected to occur on race day.

Supporters, spectators and seconding crews, headed towards Scottsville Racecourse where the Comrades Marathon finish was held this year, are believed to have been stuck in N3 traffic in the direction of Pietermaritzburg for up to four hours on Sunday afternoon.

Ashworth has apologised for any oversights, errors and inconvenience caused to runners and spectators at this year’s race and said the CMA would do its utmost to resolve all the outstanding issues before the end of next week.

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