City and Comrades organisers extend partnership in race
PIETERMARITZBURG is gearing up for the fast approaching Comrades Marathon.
In preparation for the eagerly awaited event Msunduzi municipality and the Comrades Marathon Association have renewed their partnership agreement.
At the City Hall on Friday Comrades general manager Chris Fisher and Msunduzi mayor Themba Njilo sealed a threeyear partnership lease that will see both parties equally sharing a piece of the pie through hosting the race.
The city is preparing to welcome thousands of visitors from across the world and the country who will take part in or attend the ultramarathon which finishes in Pietermaritzburg on June 4. “It’s a partnership agreement that will benefit both the City and the Comrades brand,” Fisher said.
He said Comrades takes place in Pietermaritzburg and Durban, and both cities have benefited significantly by hosting either the start or the finish. “Comrades has a huge economic impact in both cities that exceeds R600 million. We are proud to have such a positive impact on the province’s economy,” Fisher added.
As part of the deal the municipality will assist with repair of potholes and street lights, and the Comrades start venue banner in front of the City Hall will remain in place as part of advertising the race.
Fisher said both parties have also erected the granite monument at the top of Polly Shortts, which is the last big hill of the Comrades uprun.
“Together with the municipality we will continue to explore other business opportunities that would benefit both parties,” added Fisher.
Fisher said that a similar agreement was also signed with eThekwini.
On the other hand, the city’s contribution to the event involves: • Promoting the event by means of advertising, marketing and other communication;
• Providing electricity and infrastructure at the start and finish venues;
• Providing Metro traffic control, fire and disaster management services;
• Erecting the start banner for a down run. On the up run the gantry shall also be made available.
Msunduzi municipality spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said the partnership brings tourism and economic benefits to the city.
“The municipality agrees to provide assistance on all operational preparation activities. Comrades Marathon exposes the city to over six million television viewers, and 110 countries through live streaming, advertising on the Comrades website and social media, interviews by the mayor on television, and cobranding of both Msunduzi and Comrades monuments,” she said.
Msunduzi mayor Themba Njilo (left) and Comrades general manager Chris Fisher signing a further threeyear partnership at the City Hall on Friday.