Comrades sets date for decision on 2020 down run

General views during the Comrades Marathon 2017 on June 04, 2017 in Durban, South Africa.
General views during the Comrades Marathon 2017 on June 04, 2017 in Durban, South Africa.
Image: Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images

The Comrades Marathon Association will wait until April 17 to make a final decision on the 95th running of the world’s biggest ultra-marathon.

The CMA board met on Monday to discuss the feasibility of the down run from Pietermaritzburg to Durban taking place in light of the World Health Organisation declaring the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) a pandemic.

The race is set to take place on June 14. President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a National State of Disaster on Sunday while prohibiting gatherings of a 100 or more people.

With the Comrades Marathon attracting more than 15‚000 athletes along with volunteers and officials‚ while also having a massive medical tent‚ the race becomes a public health hazard from a coronavirus perspective.

Athletics South Africa took a decision to postpone with immediate effect all athletics events in the country at all levels for 30 days‚ but the Comrades Marathon falls significantly outside the timeframe.

South Africa’s other big marathon‚ the Cape Town-held Two Oceans Marathon on April 11‚ has already been cancelled.

CMA chairperson Cheryl Winn said they will be monitoring events with the view of postponing the race to a later date in the year.

“With nearly three months to go to Comrades 2020‚ the CMA Board has decided that it is premature to postpone this year’s Comrades Marathon‚” Winn said.

“We will however continue to monitor the situation on a daily basis and will make a decision by April 17 depending upon how the situation evolves on whether to postpone Comrades to a date later in the year.

“We have to consider the best interest and wellbeing of our athletes‚ supporters‚ spectators‚ volunteers and the public.

“With 282 successful substitution applications having been processed since opening of the 2020 substitution period yesterday‚ we urge all Comrades runners to continue with their training preparations.”

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