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  • Writer's pictureThathe Msimango

Big money and new CAA Championship status announced for 2024 Durban International Marathon

In effort to become the fastest marathon in South Africa, organisers of the Durban International Marathon have announced a number of interesting new features which will be added to next year's race. The race whose fourth edition is scheduled for 28 of April 2024 has a target field of 10 000 runners in both the 42km and 10km distances. Also the World Athletics standard event offers top runners the opportunity to score points which will contribute to their world rankings.

KZNA President Steve Mkasi also unveiled Italian sports apparel brand Joma as the race's new technical sponsor. Photo Credit: Durban International Marathon.

That's not all because in 2024 the race will serve as a Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) southern region marathon championship event for the very first time. The 14 Southern region countries including Zimbabwe, Botswana to name a few will required to bring a maximum of 15 males and 15 females to represent them. CAA region 5 President Zakhele Dlamini and leader of Athletics eSwatini expressed his delight to see an event of this caliber opening new doors of opportunity for athletes from the greater Southern African region.

"This is an historic day for the athletics especially for the countries in the Southern African region. This is a victory for us to have a race that will bring much needed competition to athletes who can't travel overseas to compete amongst the best in the world. The excitement is already building up for the athletes who have expressed their eagerness to come to this race. This race has been a great foundation to many as you have seen in the past winners like Isaac Mpofu who have gone to become world class athletes. So the athletes must be take this opportunity with both hands," said an elated Dlamini.

KZNA Deputy President Mandla Mnomezulu alongside ASA Road Running Chair Enock Skosana (centre) with CAA Southern Region 5 President Zakhele Dlamini (right) as Mkasi looks on. Photo Credit: Durban International Marathon.

Aside from world ranking points and presenting an opportunity for athletes from neighbouring countries to perform, the 2024 Durban International Marathon also has more prize money on offer. Elite athletes will be smiling on hearing the news that prize money has skyrocketed from R50 000 to R75 000 for the winner in both men's and women's category. Also, the winner of the CAA title will walk away with an extra R70 000. Moreover, Athletics South Africa (ASA) Road Running boss Enock Skosana confirmed that the event will incorporate the SA Marathon Championships yet again where ASA have pledged an additional R150 000 to any South African that will break the 24-year old Gert Tys' 2;06:33 men's marathon record and the more recent women's record of 2;25:48 by Gerda Steyn.

"The route is flat so the athletes can really go fast so this is why federation has decided to award athlete who can break the SA record. It is achievable if you look on how the road running has changed in the country in the past two years. So the money is there for athletes to take," said Skosana about the flat and fast course from Isipingo, South of Durban, straight down to the finish line at the iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium.

Tebello Ramakongoana of Lesotho winning the 2023 Durban International Marathon in 2:10:10. He went on to take fourth place at the World championships in Budapest in 2:09:57. Photo Credit: Durban International Marathon.

And if athletes run fast enough to qualify for the Olympics then they will earn additional incentives. In February $10 000 was up for meeting the 2:08:10 for men or 2:26:30 for women. The 2024 incentives will be announced 100 days before next year's event. KwaZulu-Natal Athletics (KZNA) President Steve Mkasi believes that hosting such an event underlines Durban's status as the premier city for road running in the country. "People will start to agree that Durban is the best city to host road running event in the country. So to have such an event will elevate our status even further. The most important thing I'm praying for is the good weather so that fast times will be clocked."

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