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Mothibi, Moshiywa badly wanted to run Ultimate Human Race

Elite runners gutted as Comrades is called off

Comrades Marathon winner Edward Mothibi celebrates with the trophy after winning the men's race for the first time on June 9 2019.
Comrades Marathon winner Edward Mothibi celebrates with the trophy after winning the men's race for the first time on June 9 2019.
Image: Jackie Clausen

Just as the enthusiastic road runners were still trying to come to terms with the cancellation of the Two Oceans Marathon last week, yesterday they were dealt another major blow with the cancellation of the Comrades Marathon for the second year in a row.

The organisers of The Ultimate Human Race announced the news that it would not take place due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. The marathon was supposed to take place on June 13 as a Down Run, starting at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall and finishing at the Durban's Moses Mabhida Stadium.

"The Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) board has regrettably announced its decision to cancel the Comrades Marathon centenary race scheduled for 13 June 2021, owing to ongoing Covid-19 pandemic," CMA said in a statement.

Under the lockdown level 3 regulations, not more than 250 runners are allowed to compete in a road race. Former champions Charne Bosman, Claude Moshyiwa, Edward Mothibi and Gift Kelehe shared their frustrations with Sowetan yesterday.

Kelehe had arranged for a training camp in Dullstroom, Mpumalanga, to prepare for the race. Bosman, who won the Comrades in 2016, booked accommodation and flights for last year's cancelled race and received a voucher to use for this year's race.

Her Southern Sun and Mango airlines vouchers expire in two years, but she fears that she will never get the opportunity to use them again.

The Murray & Roberts Running Club veteran said life is more important than sport. "I can't cry anymore. I am disappointed. But thanks to the Comrades for notifying us early. We don't have to train the whole time without knowing whether the race would take place or not. They could have left the announcement until the last two weeks and that would hurt runners. I will keep on training for fitness purposes. I respect the decision, but I am hurting," said Bosman.  

Moshiywa of the Nedbank Running Club won the men's Comrades title in 2013. "I'm shocked by the announcement. It's bad for sponsors and runners. It's painful as some of us rely on running to earn a living. I was looking forward to the marathon. I'm gutted," said Moshyiwa.  

The last man to win the Comrades title in 2019, Edward Mothibi, said he was equally heartbroken. "I am not happy, it's two years without the Comrades. I thought the CMA should have come up with other ideas to salvage the race. We are in danger of losing our monthly retainers," said the Nedbank runner.

But CMA confirmed centenary celebrations will take place in May. "What we can confirm is that the festivities of the centenary celebrations will commence on 24 May and we invite all South Africans and our global running community to join in," CMA chair Cheryl Winn said.

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