The Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) hosted the official media briefing in Durban today (Thursday, 6 June 2024) for the 97th Comrades Marathon to be held on Sunday, 9 June 2024.

The official route distance for this year’s Up Run is 85.91km. Along the route will be 48 fully stocked refreshment stations, containing Thirsti water, Thirsti sports drink, Coke, Asemzansi Amahewu, Bavaria Malt, Salticrax, energy bars, energy biscuits, bananas, oranges and cooked potatoes. These stations will be powered by nearly 5000 volunteers.

1000 marshals plus 200 community marshals will assist the SAPS, Metro Police, the CMA’s security service provider and other law enforcement officials on race day.

The following medical facilities will be provided by the CMA. It is important to remember that medical attention is retro-active, i.e. we only respond when a runner is in trouble. It is still the responsibility of the runner to take care of his or her own health.

Along the 85.91km route, Netcare 911 will provide the following:

  • 16 ambulances equipped with satellite tracking to enable us to accurately position the vehicles and ensure optimal response times to attend to runners in difficulty.
  • 6 rapid response vehicles with advanced life support paramedics and full emergency equipment
  • 6 motor bikes with paramedics.
  • 1 air rescue helicopter is available, if required.

These will be controlled from the Medical Joint Operations Control Centre (JOC), based at the finish, where there will be 8 computers, a full complement of staff to operate them and record all details; and to dispatch vehicles as and where necessary. CALL 082 911

It is important to note that all calls for medical assistance for runners should be made to the Netcare 911 medical emergency number 082 911 or logged on the Netcare app. These calls will then be routed directly to the Medical JOC. Netcare 911 are our contracted medical emergency service provider, so no other emergency services are permitted to be on the route.

Medical Stations (First Aid Stations):

There are 8 Netcare medical stations on route manned by qualified professional nurses and paramedical staff. These stations also incorporate diabetic facilities where blood sugar levels can be tested. The medical stations will treat minor medical problems and will be used to treat or stabilise runners till the arrival of an ambulance.

Physiotherapy Stations:

There are 8 physio stations along the route manned by qualified physiotherapists and third year physio students who will treat minor problems like cramping and strapping injuries. The physio and First Aid Stations will be situated together, and include ladies-only toilets which are stocked with sanitary items.

Medical Tent:

The medical facility at the finish venue will include critical care and laboratory facilities, manned by approximately 75 doctors and 20 nurses. There will also be a three bed, fully equipped, ICU-type resuscitation area. This area will have a dedicated specialist emergency team to provide appropriate emergency care if needed.

Please note that the medical facility is for runners only. Due to the large number of athletes being treated and staff working in the tent, particularly during the last two hours of the race, we cannot allow relatives or friends into the tent. They should go to the Information tent, from where they will be directed to the Medical Waiting tent to wait for their runner, have some tea or coffee and receive updates as to the runner’s condition and expected time of discharge.

Finish Line:

There will be a small medical facility on the finish line. This will be staffed by an emergency care doctor and a paramedic. It’s purpose is to be used as a primary emergency resuscitation area if an athlete is in severe trouble at the finish, and needs care immediately, prior to transferring him/her to the medical tent.Last Mile and entrance to Finish:There will be an advanced life support paramedic stationed along, or at the end of the Last Mile. Their purpose will be to respond to calls to athletes in that area who are in trouble before or as they enter the finish.

Physio Tent at Finish: 

There is a fully staffed physiotherapy tent with 40 beds at the finish venue. This will be situated next to the medical tent.

Public First Aid:

Public First Aid will be provided by Netcare at the finish venue. It will be found in the vicinity of the Information Tent. Hospitals: Netcare St. Augustine’s and Umhlanga Hospitals in Durban and Netcare St. Anne’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg will be our primary referral hospitals as in the past. Athletes with Medical Aid will be charged at Medical Aid rates while athletes without Medical Aid will be treated free of charge for a maximum of 24 hours. This ONLY applies to runners transported by Netcare ambulance from the route or referred from the medical facility at the finish.

There will be thirty (30) 15-seater bailer buses, four (4) 35-seater and twenty eight (28) 60-seater buses on route to uplift the athletes that do not make the cut-offs or are unable to continue with their race on Comrades race day.

The bailer bus portfolio consists of 124 volunteers and 72 drivers. Each bus has a team of three members - the driver, as well as a bus manager and a hostess - who look after the bailers once they’re on the bus. A runner who makes use of this facility can, under no circumstance, re-join the race or collect a finisher’s medal.

The buses are all connected by radio and in an emergency can call for assistance from the VOC or the first Netcare 911 station directly.

CMA Chairperson, Mqondisi Ngcobo says, ‘We have catered in every possible way to make the 97th Comrades Marathon a memorable and hassle-free experience for our runners. We wish all participants a great run on Sunday, 9 June.’