Comrades entry deadline draws near

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24 November 2011

Over 16 000 entries - including almost 1 000 international entries - have already been received for the 2012 edition of South Africa's famous ultra-marathon, the Comrades, and athletes still wishing to enter have less than a week to do so.

Entries close on 30 November, and the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) is urging regular Comrades runners to make hay while the sun shines and enter within the week if they are not already part of next year's race.

World's biggest ultra-marathon

The race is recognised by Guinness World Records as the biggest ultra-marathon on the planet.

Top athletes from the Rainbow Nation and the rest of the continent have signalled their intention to compete in the 87th running of South Africa's most gruelling road-running event.

They have been joined by almost 1 000 runners from more than 50 countries, which showcases the historic road-running contest as an all-inclusive international affair.

Next year's event takes place on 3 June and is a "down"-run, starting at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall at 05:30 and ending 12 hours later at Durban's Sahara-Kingsmead Stadium.

Capped at 18 000 participants

For logistical purposes, the maximum size of the field has been capped at 18 000 participants.

CMA Race Director Johan van Staden commented: "We at the CMA truly value the continuing support of all our runners, and I want to use this opportunity to remind them of the limited time and places available. There will be no additional entry period after the cap of 18 000 or 30 November has been reached, whichever comes first."

Runners may enter at all Mr Price stores countrywide. To collect an entry form, they may visit Sportsman Warehouse outlets, local running clubs, provincial sporting federations and the CMA.

Prospective participants may hand deliver or post their completed entry forms and proof of payment to the CMA offices in Pietermaritzburg. Online entries can be accessed on the Comrades Marathon website.

Qualifying for the 2012 Comrades Marathon is applicable for the period from 29 May 2011 until 7 May 2012. The entry criteria are available on the event's website.

2011 race

Zimbabwe's Stephen Muzhingi is aiming for a fourth title in succession. By winning the 2011 Comrades Marathon, he became the first runner since the great Bruce Fordyce in the 1980s to claims three wins on the trot. Fordyce did it eight times in a row!

Russia's Elena Nurgalieva won her sixth women's title in 2011. It came in her slowest winning time yet and afterwards she admitted it was her toughest victory yet.

And that's the thing about the Comrades, it is a race one has to respect. A good performance one year is no guarantee that one will master the tough challenge the next year.

SAinfo reporter

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A typical Comrades Marathon scene: runners being urged on by huge numbers of supporters (Photo: Comrades Marathon)

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