Self-propelled wheelchair participant, Jean Altomari of the USA and three other South African wheelchair-assisted-participants as well a popular visually impaired Green Number runner will be part of this year’s Ultimate Human Race.
The Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) has confirmed that special arrangements will be implemented in order to ensure that wheelchair participants are once again enabled to participate in this year’s event, being the 46th Down Run since its inaugural hosting in 1921.
CMA Race Director Rowyn James says, “The Comrades Marathon Race Organising Committee has ensured that the route is conducive to the inclusion of wheelchairs. The safety and well-being of all participants is the biggest priority for us as the organisers, hence special precautions have been taken into account and the determination that our wheelchair participants will start ahead of the rest of the field this year.”
Altomari will be attempting her Comrades Back-to-Back Medal this year after successfully earning a Comrades Bronze medal in last year’s Up Run, completing in a time of 10:16:50. The local wheelchair participants are Anita Engelbrecht, Chaeli Mycroft and Grant Adams.
This is Adams’ first attempt at completing the Comrades Marathon while Engelbrecht successfully completed the 2016 Comrades in a time of 10:57:51, earning a Comrades Bronze medal. Unfortunately Engelbrecht and her partner did not complete their attempt at The Ultimate Human Race last year.
Mycroft holds two Comrades medals, a Bronze and a Vic Clapham, after completing the last two editions of the race, thanks to commitment and her dedicated wheelchair assistant. She is a 23-year-old ability activist with cerebral palsy who was awarded the International Children’s Peace Prize in 2011.
Engelbrecht who is 25-years-old, has cerebral palsy and is a B.Comm graduate in Management Accounting from Stellenbosch University, currently completing her Honours through UNISA. She has participated in the Cape Town Cycle Tour, the Red Hill Marathon and Two Oceans Ultra-Marathon.
40-year-old Adams who is a former marketing director, as well as happily married with two gorgeous children, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis about 11 years ago. He will be assisted by his friend and supporter, Andrew Murray. Engelbrecht will be pushed by Hilton Murray while Mycroft will have the assistance of Stuart Cullum and Mark Ferreira.
Visually impaired athlete, Mandla Zwane of Nongoma in Northern KwaZulu-Natal will be running his 12th Comrades this year. He has become quite a personality amongst the Comrades community after disclosing that for the biggest part of his Comrades running career, he has been guided only by the footsteps of the runners in front of him.
CMA Chairperson, Cheryl Winn says, “Inclusivity is at the core of everything we stand for at CMA. The Comrades Marathon is one of the toughest events in the world and to know that these brave individuals are willing to take on a challenge of such magnitude is an inspiration to us as organisers in as much as it is a personal victory for each and every athlete who conquers The Ultimate Human Race. We wish all participants the very best for Sunday, 10 June.”