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
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
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