Run­ners gear up for 91st Com­rades

About 18 000 peo­ple will hit the streets at the end of the month to par­tic­i­pate in one of the coun­try’s favourite road races

CityPress - - Sport - PADDY HARPER paddy.harper@city­press.co.za

Thirty-eight pi­lots and 84 men and women of the cloth will be among the es­ti­mated 18 000 run­ners who will be at the start­ing line when the gun goes off for this year’s Com­rades Marathon at 5.30am on May 29. Twelve diplo­mats and 66 do­mes­tic work­ers are also among the 20 000 en­trants who had qual­i­fied for the leg­endary race, with about 2 000 po­ten­tial rac­ers who reg­is­tered by Novem­ber ex­pected to pull out be­cause of in­jury and ill­ness.

Or­gan­is­ers said that this year’s race drew a to­tal of 1 132 en­trants from abroad, 334 from the rest of Africa and 17 131 en­trants from South Africa for the down run.

Com­rades Marathon As­so­ci­a­tion chair­per­son Macdon­ald Chitja will be lead­ing by ex­am­ple by run­ning his 18th marathon.

Run­ners will be able to re­fresh them­selves at more than 50 ta­bles along the 89km route, where more than 500 vol­un­teers will be on hand to dis­trib­ute wa­ter, en­ergy drink sa­chets, cooldrinks and ba­nanas to the run­ners.

In ad­di­tion to this, Com­plete Marathons, an ini­tia­tive by marathon leg­end Bruce Fordyce, will be pro­vid­ing three fully equipped sup­port mar­quees at the 21km, 42km and 63km marks for this year’s run­ners.

“The mar­quees will be strate­gi­cally po­si­tioned along the race route, al­low­ing run­ners ac­cess to their prepacked items and sup­ple­ments such as gels, pro­tein shakes, snacks, sun­block and re­place­ment socks. Each sup­port mar­quee al­lows ath­letes to get back on the road feel­ing stronger and ready for the feat ahead,” said Fordyce.

Par­tic­i­pat­ing ath­letes will drop off their re­quired race gear at Dur­ban’s Hil­ton Ho­tel be­tween May 26 and 28. Their gear will be placed into num­bered, colour-coded bags for each sup­port mar­quee, with each run­ner be­ing is­sued an iden­tity bracelet to help race sup­port crew lo­cate bags for run­ners. On the Mon­day af­ter the race, run­ners can col­lect their gear from the Hil­ton.

Sup­porter mar­quees will also be avail­able at the 21km and 63km marks, with a cham­pagne break­fast served at the first and a braai at the sec­ond.

Each sup­port mar­quee al­lows ath­letes to get back on the road feel­ing stronger and ready for the feat ahead BRUCE FORDYCE

PHOTO: MBULELO SISULU

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