With more than a month still left in its 2012 entry process, the iconic Comrades Marathon has already amassed its third highest field of international entries in its 87 year history. Runners from as far afield as Japan, Brazil, USA, the Indian subcontinent and a host of European countries will represent a current total of 53 nations in the world’s greatest road running race.
For the very first time, the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) will welcome athletes from such exotic locations as Bahrain, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Malta, Oman, Slovenia, Thailand and Venezuela.
In as much as the Comrades Marathon is already an iconic international brand, mention must be made of the CMA’s international marketing strategies which have gone a long way in fostering deep-seated relationships with foreign runners. High on the Comrades promotional agenda is its successful Global Ambassadors Programme, where the CMA appoints Comrades veterans from different countries and geographic locations around the world to promote the ultra-marathon in their respective regions.
These ‘Comrades messengers’ help publicize the greatest road-running race to their local running community, media and sporting fraternity, and hence continuously grow the brand whilst firing-up their local runners to take on the Comrades challenge.
Among the passionate participants who have already entered back home, are KZN Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo and notable South African runner Zola Budd-Pieterse. Kwaito star Kabelo Mabalane, who received the coveted Spirit of Comrades award last weekend is also registered to run his seventh Comrades next year.
Add to that three local radio personalities Brad Brown and Koula from 94.7FM and Phindi Gule from Gagasi 99.5FM, who will also be braving the 89km stretch between Pietermaritzburg and Durban next June.
Entries for Comrades 2012 have been coming in hard and fast. As of today, the entry barometer stands at 10,678, which includes 938 international entries. The entry process for the 87th staging of South Africa’s most famous road-running fixture opened on Spring Day, 1 September and will close on Wednesday, 30 November 2011 or as soon as the entry cap of 18,000 has been reached.
The entry period is three months long and open to all athletes, irrespective of them being veteran or novice Comrades runners. Qualifying for the 2012 Comrades Marathon is applicable as of 29 May 2011 until 4 May 2012. Runners have been urged to take careful note of the entry criteria. For more details, please visit the official Comrades website, www.comrades.com.
CMA Race Director Johan van Staden says: ‘We greatly value the participation of international runners in our race as they not only help put South Africa on the global map but also position The Ultimate Human Race as one of the world’s ultimate road-running attractions. In the same vein, we would also like to pay tribute to our local South African runners who have made the race the icon that it is today.’
Johan adds: ‘With less than 8000 spaces left before the close of the entry process, we urge our regular runners to enter as soon as possible so as not to be left disappointed.’
Statement released on Tuesday, 25 October 2011