The 93rd edition of the Comrades Marathon was launched on Wednesday, and while the organisers have largely stuck to tradition, a number of changes have been made for the 2018 event.
Some key info for runners aiming to participate at the annual ultra-distance race in KwaZulu-Natal.
The race, a ‘down’ run, will be held on June 10, starting at Pietermaritzburg City Hall at 5.30am.
Registrations open on Friday (September 1) and close on November 30, or when the entry limit of 20 000 runners is reached. Substitution entries, which allow entrants to pass on their numbers to other runners, will open on March 26 next year and close on April 25.
The window period opened on August 27 and will close on May 2 next year. All entrants must finish a 42.2km marathon within five hours to be cleared to participate. Runners who completed this year’s Comrades will not automatically qualify for the 2018 race.
The same ‘down’ run course that was used in 2016 will be utilised again for the first 80km, though there is a change over the last section. While the proposed new route has not yet been approved by Ethekwini traffic officials, it is likely to cancel out the section along the N3 highway, including 45th Cutting and Tollgate Bridge.
The race will finish at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, following a shift from the traditional venue at Kingsmead cricket ground. It will be the first time the 2010 Fifa World Cup stadium will be used to host the finish of the ultra-marathon.
Runners will again be given 12 hours to finish the race. Medals will be awarded only to those who complete the event before the time limit. While the official distance has not yet been confirmed, organisers expect it to be around 89.2km, the same distance as the last ‘down’ run in 2016.