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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

R1200 to enter Comrades 2022 - CMA explains why

While there was considerable excitement that the Comrades Marathon will go ahead this year after an almost three year hiatus, eyebrows were raised when race organisers announced changes to the 95th running of The Ultimate Human Race. Former winners, sponsors and media packed into the Southern Sun Rosebank this morning to hear Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) Race Director Rowyn James announce that it would cost R1200 to enter this year’s race.

If you are a South African athlete that entered the race in 2020 when it ended up being cancelled then it will cost you R1000 to run the 90,2km Down Run this year. Otherwise the cost of entry is R1200 and R2000 for runners hailing from the rest of the continent.

In tabling the organisation’s financial position, CMA Vice Chairperson Les Burnard made it clear that the 100% increase in the entry fee (from R600 three years ago) was necessitated by two tough years when the Covid-19 pandemic prevented them from a staging their 90km odyssey between Pietermaritzburg and Durban.

“Comrades has two main revenue streams which are entry fees and sponsorships. In 2019 the expenses for the year amounted to R40,8 million and we are now budgeting that our expenses will be R38,4 million. So obviously we looked at our costs very careful. The organisation structure was reviewed and as a result staff had to be retrenched, sadly so. Our current budget reflects a deficit of R6,4 million for the year. This is partly due to the entry numbers being limited to 15 000 runners,” he explained.

In addition to being forced to dip into their reserves in order to survive two years without staging the race, the CMA has also struggled to attract new sponsors off-late as top commercial partners such as Medical Aid provider Bonitas decided to part ways with the 100-year old ultra marathon in 2020.

“Covid19 has impacted on most businesses in the country and unfortunately resulted in sponsorships not easily being available. However we are confident that over the next few months new sponsors will assist us in achieving our aim of at least breaking even this year. A costing exercise done in 2019 revealed that it cost R1384 for every runner on the road and our entry fee is less than that so sponsorship is required to fund the balance,” he concluded.

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