Com­rades’ big KZN boost

Race ex­pected to pump R300 mln into the prov­ince’s econ­omy

Weekend Witness - - News -

THE Com­rades Marathon is more than just a race, but one of KwaZu­luNatal’s cash cows. Ac­cord­ing to Com­rades Marathon As­so­ci­a­tion (CMA) gen­eral man­ager, Gary Boshoff, the marathon — which is be­ing run from Dur­ban to Pi­eter­mar­itzburg next Sun­day — is ex­pected to in­ject about R300 mil­lion into the prov­ince’s econ­omy.

The re­search was con­ducted by an in­ter­na­tional re­search com­pany, Repu­com In­ter­na­tional, af­ter they in­ter­viewed lo­cals and in­ter­na­tional par­tic­i­pants, sup­port­ers, spon­sors and the gen­eral pub­lic to de­ter­mine the eco­nomic im­pact.

Vice-Pres­i­dent of Repu­com South Africa, Eti­enne Karsten said the study val­i­dates its re­cent in­clu­sion into the Guin­ness Book of World Records as the big­gest ul­tra-marathon in the world.

Last year’s Com­rades broke the record with 14 343 run­ners com­plet­ing the race within the 12hour cut­off time.

“The 2010 eco­nomic im­pact study of the Com­rades Marathon re­vealed that R286 mil­lion was pumped into the KZN econ­omy as a di­rect re­sult of the Com­rades Marathon be­ing staged in the prov­ince. It there­fore makes per­fect eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal sense for busi­ness and gov­ern­ment to con­tinue to sup­port this magnificent event,” he said.

Boshoff said he was ec­static about the re­sults and stressed the im­por­tance of the Com­rades Marathon for the tourism in­dus­try in par­tic­u­lar.

“Lo­cal par­tic­i­pants stayed an av­er­age of five days while in­ter­na­tional par­tic­i­pants tend to stay longer, on av­er­age 8,3 days in 2010.

“This, to­gether with the fact that 70% of the par­tic­i­pants orig­i­nate out­side KwaZulu-Na­tal, il­lus­trates the im­por­tant im­pact that the race has on the tourism in­dus­try of KZN, but more im­por­tantly, the po­ten­tial of fu­ture growth in this sec­tor of the lo­cal econ­omy,” he ex­plained.

The marathon is work­ing in close ties with Pi­eter­mar­itzburg and Dur- ban, as well as Tourism KwaZu­luNatal to en­sure that the Com­rades Marathon re­mains one of the world’s prime sports events.

“In re­cent years we’ve stepped up our in­ter­na­tional mar­ket­ing drive through the as­sis­tance of Tourism KwaZulu-Na­tal in par­tic­u­lar.”

This year’s in­ter­na­tional en­trants are stand­ing at 1 226.

“We have in­ter­na­tional ath­letes from 59 coun­tries around the globe, a fan­tas­tic achieve­ment in­deed,” Boshoff added. — Wit­ness Re­porter. In the gold cir­cles: some of the jobs done by Com­rades run­ners.

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