Comrades Marathon organisers are expecting record numbers for next year’s race and entries for the 2020 ‘down’ run between Pietermaritzburg and Durban will open on 28 October.
This was announced at the launch of ‘The Ultimate Human Race’ in Johannesburg, which was livestreamed via the official Comrades Marathon website - www.comrades.com as well as on its official Facebook page, www.facebook.com/ComradesMarathon.
Following a record sell-out for the 2019 ultra-marathon, Race Director Rowyn James urged interested runners to be snappy in acquiring their places on the start line.
“We’ve set a closing date for entries on 30 November, but we’re confident the entry limit will be reached well before that date,” said James. “We believe entries will probably be sold out within four days.”
Following the unprecedented interested in the event in recent years, the Comrades Marathon Organisation (CMA) confirmed the entry cap for the race had been increased to 27 500 runners, and all finishers next year are set to receive a special once-off medal to commemorate the 95th edition of the annual road race.
Of those entries, 7 000 will be reserved for novices and 2 500 will be set aside for international participants.
While the entry fee has not changed, with South African citizens still paying R600 to take part, the prize money has been bumped up, with the first man and woman across the line on 14 June receiving R525 000.
There will also be R525 000 bonuses on offer for the breaking of the men’s and women’s ‘down’ run records held by David Gatebe (5:18:19) and Frith van der Merwe (5:54:43).
In addition, the first South African athletes to complete the 90.2-kilometre course will each receive R200 000, and the first man and woman from KwaZulu-Natal will get R50 000.
James said the prize money was very competitive‚ with the prize pool totalling R4.47m.
“The Comrades always likes to be at the forefront of ensuring that the racers have as much prize money as they can,” he said. "We need to make sure that it's economically and financially viable‚ so we put it up each year. For next year‚ it's gone up by five percent from last year. The total prize purse makes the race the richest in South Africa and on the continent.”
There will be no major adjustments to the route, organisers assured, and the race will end at Moses Mabhida Stadium for the second time.