Durban – The Comrades Marathon Association (CMA)has confirmed that there will be two consecutive ‘Down Runs’ in the years 2020 and 2021.
This follows this year’s ‘Up Run’ on June 9.
The reason given by organisers is that the body will be celebrating its centenary year in 2021.
The first Comrades Marathon was held in 1921 and was also a ‘Down Run’ from Pietermaritzburg to Durban. The ‘Up Run’ is from the coastal city and finishes in the capital city of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.
Normally, the country’s prestigious ultramarathon is run annually between the two cities with its direction alternating each year, but that won’t be the case in the next two years.
“We are doing that because in 2021 we are celebrating our centenary year,” said CMA general manger Keletso Totlhanyo.
Totlhanyo told The Witness the reason they are having a double ‘Down Run’ is that they plan to allow at least 34 000 runners to register for the special event and they don’t believe the City of Choice would be able to accommodate the scores of runners racing to the finish line.
“When we started in 1921, we had 34 runners so our target for 2021 is to open registration to 34 000 runners in line with the 34 that started in our very first Comrades Marathon,” she said, adding that the finish in Pietermaritzburg is narrower than that in eThekwini and to try to accommodate 34 000 runners would be “taking a risk”.
This year no more than 25 000 will take part in the race.
The Comrades Marathon also had double Down Runs in 2009 and 2010 because of the Confederations Cup and Soccer World Cup.
On those occasions both races were held in May, rather than June.