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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

Murray & Roberts to withdraw sponsorship of running club as Rene Kalmer replaces Dana Coetzee

The emotion in Ed Jardim's letter to members of the Murray and Roberts Running Club was palpable as he broke the news that engineering and mining giant would intends to withdraw their sponsorship of the running club at the end of June 2023. The letter which was sent to members yesterday (10 January 2023) by the Club Chairman Ed Jardim explained the series of events which led to an outcome that will come as a blow not only to the club but the running community in general.

"After four years of building OUR project together, through some challenging times, especially COVID, but collecting many more brilliant memories and achievements - I am devastated to share this news with you. I am unfortunately the bearer of bad news. Murray & Roberts will not be able to continue as sponsor of the Running Club into 2023, but will continue for the time-being in a reduced capacity, as we search for a new sponsor," the letter read.

Murray and Roberts Running Club's elite athletes face an uncertain future after the engineering and mining giant were forced to withdraw their sponsorship of the club. Photo Credit: Murray and Roberts Running Club.

According to Jardim, global economic pressures forced the South African arm of the international company to rethink their sponsorship. "Murray & Roberts as a Company has been going through a significant cash crunch, specifically with our subsidiary (Clough) in Australia. We were forced to place the subsidiary under voluntary administration. The outcome is that Murray & Roberts in South Africa is essentially a significantly smaller company than a few months ago and a lot less profitable, which requires a prompt correction involving cost cutting across the Group – including people, operational and marketing spend."

That means that while the club's social runners will be largely 'unaffected' and able to run in the yellow and black with their 2023 permanent licenses, elite athletes are face an uncertain future. The club has however confirmed that the top runners will continue to be supported with their monthly retainers until either 1) a new sponsor has been secured, or 2) until contracts run out end-June 2023. However, the club will no longer be able to pay for travel, accommodation and entries to events in these next six months, while the club can no longer afford to pay incentives for races.

Club Chairman Ed Jardim says he is positive that they will be able to fins another sponsor. Photo Credit: Murray and Roberts Running Club.

Jardim who has completed eight Comrades Marathon races, also announced that in an unrelated development Dana Coetzee would be vacating his role as Club Manager for personal reasons, with Olympian Rene Kalmer set to take over. "I am very pleased to announce that Rene has stepped up to take over the reins as Club Manager, ably supported by the ever-smiling Anastacia as Club Administrator, continuing in her role."

Yet despite the challenging time facing the club in the next few months, Jardim ended on a buoyant note encouraging members with his belief that things could soon turn for the better. "I am positive that we will be able to find a sponsor to step into our shoes in the near term and ask for your patience, understanding and support while we pursue a few avenues. We commit to keep you updated as soon as we have any news," he concluded.

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