It’s been another very busy month! With less than 100 days to race day, the tempo pace at which the CMA is currently operating feels only a few hairs short of a flat-out sprint. Nevertheless, and notwithstanding the fact that both the CMA staff and members of the Race Operating Committee (ROC) have begun to put their shoulders to the pre-race grind, the enthusiasm and excitement which surrounds the race has become palpable.

In the past month:

  • The CMA has secured the invaluable support of Thirsti, the race’s existing hydration partner, as its new Tier One sponsor. In addition to the continued supply of 2 million water sachets and 600,000 sachets of Isofit+, a carbohydrate-electrolyte drink for runners along the route (which is supplementary to the Thirsti product supplied to the EXPO, included within runner Goodie Bags and handed out at CMA marketing events and activations), Thirsti will be hosting 9 elite athlete water stations along the route from which elite seeded athletes may collect their personal second bottles and race nutrition. Furthermore, in collaboration with the CMA, Thirsti will be hosting the Winners’ Circle hospitality suite at the finish where all top 10 finishers (men and women) and a guest will be invited to relax and reset after the race. Thirsti branding will also be reflected on the Comrades race numbers going forward. We are super excited to be partnering with this phenomenal brand on an even larger scale in 2024!
  • We have received news that Connaught Rd, the road in which Comrades House is located, will be renamed Comrades Road prior to this year’s race. In celebration of this momentous occasion and the rich heritage of the Comrades Marathon, the CMA Board has approved a variation to the proposed route to the finish (located within the in-field of the Scottsville Racecourse) to include the newly named Comrades Road. Runners will now travel past Comrades House on their way to the finish line as part of the iconic Toyota mile (i.e. the last mile of the race prior to runners reaching the finish venue).
  • The Heritage & Traditions sub-committee of the CMA Board has recommended that the cut-off for the award of the ladies’ Isavel Roche-Kelly medal be amended to 06h59. If approved by the CMA Board, ladies finishing outside the Top 10 (i.e. from the 11th position) but under 07h00 will receive a Isavel Roche-Kelly medal, while ladies finishing between 07h00 and 07h29 will be awarded a silver medal. This revision, if approved, will bring the award of the Isavel Roche-Kelly medal in line with that of the Wally Hayward medal and is indicative of the increasingly fast and competitive nature of the ladies’ race.
  • The deadline for the second payment toward runners’ Comrades entry fee (applicable to all runners who elected to pay their entry fee over two instalments) passed on 29 February. The substitution withdrawal period, whereby athletes who have already entered the race but are unable to participate on 9 June 2024 may request to be withdrawn, at which time the entry will become available for purchase by runners who missed the 2023 entry deadline, will open on 15 March.
  • In furtherance of the CMA’s objectives to make the race more “green” and environmentally friendly, we have met with prospective waste management and recycling partners to discuss what options are available to the race. It is the CMA’s intention to partner with a company able to assist us with the clean up and collection of all plastic water sachets and bottles on race day, whereafter the plastic will be sent for processing into Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) pellets and recycled into items such as school shoes, desks and chairs, playground equipment or similar, for the benefit of our local community.
  • Finally, we have been working closely with the leaders of the Start and Finish Venue portfolios within the ROC to ensure that this year’s race offers runners a truly unforgettable experience. With the layout of our finish venue almost complete, runners and spectators may expect to find more space available for public viewing than previously available in Pietermaritzburg. In addition, we will soon be making the largest ever number of club tent stands available for hire through Ward Events. We have increased the number of port-a-loos and urinals available to athletes at the start and finish and will also be introducing the use of ladies-only toilets at both venues as well as along the route.

As you can see… we have been BUSY. Day-to-day the CMA remains focused on ensuring that our runners’ best interests are being served and that we are able to host the kind of race on 9 June that will exceed all expectations. Onwards and upwards!