R1200 to enter the race with R550 000 prize money for winners. Comrades Marathon 2024 - Nakanjani
Under the new slogan "Nakanjani - No doubt" - the 2024 Comrades Marathon was officially launched on yesterday (Tuesday 7 November) at the Comrades Marathon House in Pietermaritzburg. For the first time since 2019, the world's biggest and oldest ultra-marathon will be an Up Run from the Durban City Hall to the Scottsville Racecourse in Pietermaritzburg. Organisers of the iconic 90km race are anticipating a field of 23 000 participants on the 9th of June, 2024. Speaking to the media Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) Chairperson Mqondisi Ngcobo said even though they have ambitions to increase numbers, athletes' safety comes first.
"One of the good things that we are going to change next year is the field. We are expecting 23 000 runners to enter the race. Remember, after coming back from Covid19, we have been increasing the field slowly to ensure more runners are able to run," Ngcobo explained.
"Even though, we have those numbers in mind but we must ensure that runners are safe on the road. In order to stage a good safe race, we still have to go through the route especially from Cato Ridge as there are some roadworks there. So we have to get consultation from all stakeholders involved," he said about the race that accommodated 20 000 runners this June.
In addition to the number of runners that The Ultimate Human Race will cater for, top of runners' minds is the cost of entry. Prospective participants will be happy to hear that there will be no increase in the entry fee which stands at R1 200 for South Africans. Entrants from the Rest of Africa will have to pay R2000 to take part, while those hailing from other continents around the world will have to part with R4500.
But there has been an increase in the prize money on offer. The winning man and woman will each pocket R550 000, which is up R50 000 from the half a million that was on offer in 2023. On top of that, if any man or woman can break the records set by Gerda Steyn and Tete Dijana this year, then an additional R550 000 will be added to their winnings. The organisers also announced that the KwaZulu-Natal athletes incentive will now be offered to the top three of the provinces runners to cross the finish line. For underprivileged athletes the CMA has pledged R1 million to assist them with entry fees which will seem them paying half of the R1200.
"Since we have done well financially this year so we thought it would be good to put aside an additional R1 million to assist athletes that are struggling financially. We are looking for those athletes who can't afford to the prescribed amount. These are runners that must not be earning above R30 000 a year. They will then be allowed to pay half of the R1200 entry fee. So we ask athletes to take note of this new initiative and apply in order to be assisted," he said.