Comrades Team brings home the Oriental dragon
For the very first time in its 87 year history, the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) took the great news of The Ultimate Human Race to a continent never officially visited before.
Upon invitation from the Far East, the first week of the new year saw a four member delegation from the CMA organising committee showcasing the world’s greatest ultra-marathon at the Xiamen International Marathon and Expo. Xiamen is part of Fujian Province on the south east coast of the People’s Republic of China and is a sister city to Durban.
Being one of the two leading road running races in the world’s most populated country, the Xiamen Marathon is co-organized by the Xiamen Municipal Government and the Chinese Athletic Association. Having just celebrated its tenth anniversary, the Marathon has been held annually since 2003 on the first Saturday of January every year.
With an entry tally of about 80-thousand this year, the Xiamen race enjoys its privileged status as the IAAF Gold Label Road Race for four consecutive years with a large number of international participants.
Africa once again stood proud on the winning podium with Kenyan runner Peter Kamais taking the centre stage, followed by Moroccan, Chumba Dickson Kipotolo in second place and Solomon Tsige Asfaw from Ethiopia coming in third. Claiming first and third positions for the women were Ethiopians Ashu Kasim and Merima Hasen respectively, while Miriam Wangari from Kenya secured the second spot.
And while Africa claimed the crowning glory at the Xiamen finish, the CMA team brought home a prized symbol of power and good fortune to the Rainbow Nation. Race Director, Johan Van Staden was presented with a unique gift in the form of a valuable framed dragon sculpture complete with a rare jade coin of fortune, symbolising the gratitude and appreciation for the Comrades presence at the prestigious Asian event.
CMA Board Member Sifiso Nzuza, CMA Chairman Peter Proctor & CMA Race Director Johan Van Staden
The Chinese dragon is an ancient cultural icon for the people of China, being representative of power, strength and wisdom. This unique token of Oriental goodwill will be housed at the Comrades Museum where the greater public will have the opportunity to view it.
Van Staden says: ‘It is always refreshing and insightful to visit other road-running races like the Xiamen International Marathon. Xiamen itself is a beautiful and exotic location which has left a lasting good impression on our delegation.’
He adds: ‘Interacting with the organising committee has shown us that we share the same goals of executing successful road running events but sometimes have a slightly different approach to achieving them. The Chinese Dragon sculpture is a cultural treasure and we are proud to have it showcased at the Comrades Museum.’
Statement released by the Comrades Marathon Association on Friday, 20 January 2012