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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

Comrades announce new sponsorship deal

After losing a key sponsor in Bonitas earlier this year, The Comrades Marathon Association received a shot in the arm today with the announcement that Hollywoodbets are set to continue their partnership with the world’s most loved ultra marathon. In a time when a lack of direction on the future of mass participation events in a post Covid-19 world has left major sponsors fleeing from South African athletics, Hollywoodbets will have gained the admiration of hundreds of thousands of runners by putting pen to paper on a new three-year deal with Comrades.

CMA Chairperson Cheryl Winn making the big announcement in Durban this morning.

“What an honour it is for me to announce our agreement to formalise and cement a further 3 year relationship with our unforgettably purple friends Hollywoodbets, who have already been with us for 11 years,” said CMA Chairperson Cheryl Winn at this morning’s energetic media engagement in Umhlanga in Durban. The agreement means that Hollywoodbets retains its status as the Official Sports Betting Partner to the Comrades Marathon for the next three years but more importantly for Comrades runners, the lively HWB water point at the halfway point in Drummond will continue to be a much-loved feature on race-day.

The long-term contract is a huge win for organisers of the iconic ultra marathon because even though this partnership has been in existence for over a decade, it has been subject to a year on year renewal. The decision then to bind themselves for a further 3 years in a Coronavirus world where it remains unclear whether or not next year’s race will go ahead as planned, represents quite a leap of faith from Hollywoodbets. “Being a proudly KZN company, this race forms a big part of our community initiatives. Comrades showcases the very real attributes of endurance, commitment, hope and camaraderie and brings South Africa and the world together in a unique, truly spectacular road running event,” explained the betting company’s Operations Manager Morgan Shandu.

This morning’s announcement will have encouraged thousands of runners who are hoping against hope that their annual 90km pilgrimage between Durban and Pietermaritzburg will happen next year. After all the 95th running of this South African treasure in 2021 will mark 100 years since Vic Clapham first convinced 34 brave souls to take on the odyssey.

Thousands of Comrades runners stream past the Hollywoodbets water point which is at the race's halfway point in Drummond. Photo Credit: Rafi Kotler.

Winn says they are doing everything in their power to ensure that thousands of runners will once again be able to endure running from Umngungundlovu down to Durban. “Our sixth core value is that of endurance. We have been called upon to do so in large measure thus year and we are still standing. It’s nothing nothing new to face trials and tribulations. We have decided to forge ahead because we have a whole century of Comrades Marathon history to celebrate next year,” said Winn.

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