Launch of 2020 Comrades Marathon
Comrades Marathon runners have been given a license to dream.
With the just unveiled #Comrades2020 campaign slogan, ‘Iphupho Lami – Dare to Dream’, the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) has dared all aspirant participants in next year’s Ultimate Human Race to dream.
The inspiring campaign theme of the 95th Comrades Marathon was unveiled at a launch in Johannesburg today (Wednesday, 2 October 2019) attended by the nation’s top media, road-running dignitaries, CMA sponsors, stakeholders, elite athletes, sporting personalities and 2019 Comrades Marathon Champs, Edward Mothibi and Gerda Steyn.
CMA Chairperson, Cheryl Winn said, “The origin of the Comrades Marathon dates back to 1918 when its founder Vic Clapham had the dream of staging a living memorial to all those who suffered so greatly in the First World War. 1921 saw his vision and dream eventually turned into reality with the inaugural Comrades Marathon hosted on 24 May 1921. It would have been beyond his wildest dreams for it to have endured to attain the iconic status it has reached today.”
Winn adds, “Another great visionary, President Nelson Mandela made a surprise visit to the Comrades Marathon in 1997 and said: ‘One of the greatest challenges in life is to turn our dreams and ideas into reality.’ These words greatly inspired the CMA to base its 2020 Comrades Marathon slogan on this. It is therefore with a great sense of pride and pleasure that we unveil our campaign for next year’s race and give all athletes the greenlight to dream.”
The 95th Comrades Marathon will be a Down Run on Sunday, 14 June 2020. The race starts at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall at 05h30 and ends 12 hours later at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, covering a 90,2km distance. This will be the 47th Down Run in Comrades history.
The entry cap has been increased from 25,000 to 27,500 entries, making the Comrades Marathon the largest single distance road race in South Africa. Of this 27,500 entry allocation, 7,000 entries are reserved exclusively for novice entrants and 2,500 entries are reserved exclusively for international entrants.
A special commemorative medal denoting the 95th edition of the Comrades Marathon will be struck for next year’s race. A new trophy will also be introduced to the 20–39 years Women's 2nd place team prize.
Comrades enthusiasts can look forward to a revamp of the official Comrades Marathon website www.comrades.com with a whole new look and feel, and which goes “live” in tandem with this race launch.
Prize money totaling R4.44 million is up for grabs in the 2020 event with R525-thousand for both the male and female Winners, R260-thousand to the runners-up and R190-thousand for Third Position.
Should the Winners, both male and female, of the 2020 Comrades Marathon break the Best Time previously recorded for the Down Run, they will each receive an additional cash payment of R525,000.
David Gatebe holds the Men’s Best Time of 5:18:19 set in 2016.
Frith Van Der Merwe holds the Women’s Best Time of 5:54:43 set in 1989.
The opening date for entries is Monday, 28 October 2019. The entry period closes on 30 November 2019 or as soon as the entry cap of 27,500 entries has been reached. Prospective entrants are encouraged to get their entries in early to avoid disappointment, considering that entries sold out in just six days for the 2019 race.
Entry fees for the 2020 Comrades Marathon are as follows:
• South African : R 600.00
• Foreign Athletes – Africa/ SADC countries : R1500.00
• Foreign Athletes – International : R3800.00
Entry is free to all runners who have completed the Comrades Marathon 25 times or more.
Runners can enter as follows:
• online via the Comrades Marathon website: www.comrades.com or the Comrades App;
• by posting their completed entry form with proof of payment to the CMA Office: P.O. Box 100621, Scottsville, 3209;
• by handing in their completed entry form together with payment at Comrades House, 18 Connaught Road, Scottsville, Pietermaritzburg.
CMA Race Director, Rowyn James says, ‘In line with the CMA’s Driving Philosophy of being ‘people-focused and putting runners first’, we have left the entry fee of this year unchanged, for next year’s race. While the fee remains flat at R600 per South African entrant, the contracted service provider’s transaction fee which was previously absorbed by the CMA will now be paid directly by the entrant, as per other major races that apply this model.”
James adds, “We have exciting plans in place for next year’s Down Run which will finish at Durban’s acclaimed Moses Mabhida Stadium for the second time. Qualifying for the 2020 Comrades Marathon is applicable as of 24 August 2019 till 4 May 2020. The qualifying criteria for next year’s Comrades Marathon will be to complete a standard 42.2km marathon in under 4 hours and 50 minutes, or a 56km ultra-marathon in under 6 hours and 45 minutes.”
The Substitution Process will open on 16 March and close on 16 April 2020 at a cost of R200 over and above the normal applicable entry fee. James has advised that going forward all substitution transactions will be handled exclusively through the CMA Office. An administration fee of 15% of the entry fee will be deducted by CMA from withdrawing athletes and CMA will then refund the balance of the entry fee to all withdrawing athletes. He says, “There will be no direct money or voucher exchange between athletes.”
More than R40-million has been raised off the CMA’s charity platforms over the past decade. Six charities will once again benefit from the Amabeadibeadi Official Charity drive for 2020.
They are Childhood Cancer Foundation SA (CHOC), Community Chests of Pietermaritzburg & Durban, Hillcrest Aids Centre Trust, Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa, Wildlands Conservation Trust and World Vision SA.
The Race4Charity fundraising platform requires that runners raise a minimum of R6000 for the Amabeadibeadi charity of their choice, in order to qualify for the charity seeding batch on the start line. 500 entries have been reserved for Race4Charity runners. For more details on the Race4Charity initiative, click through to www.comrades.com/charities/race-4-charity
Winn has called on all runners to support the charitable fundraising initiatives of the CMA, saying, “We urge all Comrades entrants to select the Official Charity closest to their heart and commit to running for a cause greater than themselves. As the CMA, we have placed great focus on benefitting the communities in which we operate and continuously adding value to the sport of athletics.”
Winn also presented 2019 Comrades Champs, Edward Mothibi and Gerda Steyn, with their coveted Comrades Winner’s Jackets.
CMA Marketing Manager, Thami Vilakazi thanked Comrades athletes for their contributions to the 2020 campaign slogan, saying, “Over the years we have engaged with our runners via social media and other platforms to get their take on the following year’s campaign. I am pleased to say that Iphupho Lami – Dare to Dream was reached via a consultative process; and is one of those campaign slogans that encapsulates what the Comrades dream means to so many of us, as runners, supporters and stakeholders of this great brand.”
CMA General Manager, Keletso Totlhanyo says, “The Comrades Marathon is an extra-special event that never fails to get the entire nation rallying behind it. We look forward to collaborating with our sponsors and partners in the build-up to #Comrades2020 and striving towards ensuring that the 95th edition is our best one yet.”
CMA Vice Chairperson, Sifiso Nzuza said, ‘We are well aware that all Comrades enthusiasts are anticipating the 2020 Comrades Marathon. We welcome all of our runners, supporters and stakeholders to share in the camaraderie and excitement of Comrades race day on Sunday, 14 June 2020, as we welcome the world at large to the magical province of KwaZulu-Natal.’