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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

Ann Ashworth warns runners as Comrades Marathon Association adopts 'zero-tolerance' approach to cheating

During her time as an athlete, Ann Ashworth was known as an outspoken no-nonsense competitor who fought for what she believed in. Nothing has changed now that the 2018 Comrades Marathon champion is an administrator. After Rowyn James was forced to step down from his position as Race Director following the cutoff controversy that unfolded during the 2023 race, Ashworth was brought in and she has hit the ground running.

Yesterday the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) published a list of sanctions taken against runners for various infractions at the 2023 race. The CMA identified 58 athletes whose entries to the 2024 edition of the Comrades Marathon have been rejected as a consequence of their violation of the CMA’s race rules.

  • The entries of 16 athletes have been rejected after it was discovered that they had asked another athlete to run their 2023 qualifying marathon on their behalf;

  • The entries of three athletes have been rejected after it was discovered that they ran the qualifying marathon used by another entrant to enter the 2023 event;

  • The entries of 27 athletes have been rejected after it was discovered that they submitted fraudulent qualifying information (i.e. they submitted a time for their qualifying marathon which they did not achieve, either because they did not run/finish the marathon or because they ran slower than the requisite sub4h50 qualifying time);

  • The entry of one athlete has been rejected after he ran the 2023 race wearing another athlete’s race number;

  • The entries of five athletes have been rejected after they permitted another athlete to run the 2023 race wearing their personal race numbers;

  • The entries of two athletes have been rejected after they completed the 2023 race as a relay; and

  • The entries of four athletes have been rejected because they took several shortcuts on the journey between Pietermaritzburg and Durban in 2023 on Race Day.

Ashworth has warned all entrants to comply with all applicable rules and regulations whenever they participate in an event, which includes all qualifying events and the Comrades Marathon itself.

“Going forward the CMA will be adopting a zero-tolerance policy towards cheating and will seek the strict enforcement of all Race Rules.  In particular, we would like to warn all entrants against the submission of inaccurate and/or fraudulent qualifying times, which would include results achieved by a person other than the race entrant. Such behaviour is prohibited in terms of the Race Rules," said the CMA Race & Operations Manager.

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