The dawn of the new year had us all excited for the return to racing and for Comrades 2021 – the centenary celebrations, especially after the 2020 event being cancelled. However, we are sad to announce that the Comrades Marathon 2021 has been cancelled.
Africa Marathons were so looking forward to taking a team of around 50 people over to South Africa for Comrades Marathon, so this news whilst expected is, of course, disappointing to all of our runners, the supporters and the team here at Africa Marathons HQ.
Our director Rob Morley said – ‘We completely understand the decision made by the Comrades Board and support them entirely. It is such a disappointment that this iconic race has now been cancelled in 2020 & 2021, but we look forward to what should be an epic trip and truly unique atmosphere when our team goes to Durban next year. We will be in touch with all our runners in the coming weeks to discuss their race places and travel arrangements. We cannot wait for Team Africa Marathons to run The Ultimate Human Race in 2022!’
Please see below for the full statement.
The Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) Board has regrettably announced its decision to cancel the Comrades Marathon scheduled for 13 June 2021.
After having late last year, undertaken to make announcements in mid-February regarding requirements for qualification and the staging of the 2021 Comrades Marathon, the decision to cancel will come as an enormous disappointment to tens of thousands of runners; and has also been a tough call for CMA organisers to make, in what is the world-renowned Race’s Centenary year.
This decision comes in the wake of engagements with KwaZulu-Natal Athletics, Athletics South Africa, the National Coronavirus Command Council, members of the medical fraternity and governmental departments; and was both a moral and practical imperative given the ongoing uncertainty and unprecedented circumstances of the Coronavirus pandemic, the onset of a second wave and a significantly more infectious variant of Covid-19, as well as the ongoing National State of Disaster and its associated restrictions.
The CMA Board is determined that the health, safety and welfare of Comrades runners, officials, volunteers and the general public remains paramount even after having held out hope that the nation’s most unifying road running event would have been able to be hosted in June. The impending third wave of Covid-19 which is widely anticipated around April to June this year, has ended any such hopes and makes the hosting of any mass event in the near future highly unlikely.
However, the good news is that the Comrades Centenary Celebrations are imminent. With the very first Comrades Marathon having been held on Tuesday, 24 May 1921, the CMA will launch its Centenary Celebrations on Monday, 24 May 2021.
Other great news is that the CMA has confirmed that its 2nd Comrades Marathon virtual event will take place on Sunday, 13 June 2021 in which runners will be able to run in any location, outside in their garden, or neighbourhood, all at their own pace, in a similar fashion to last year’s successful inaugural Race the Comrades Legends which saw 43,788 participants from more than 100 nations uniting in a single virtual event.
Details of the virtual event, the Comrades Centenary Celebrations and other innovative festivities which are in the pipeline will be shared in due course.
CMA Chairperson, Cheryl Winn has urged runners to accept and respect the CMA’s decision which has been made in conjunction with KZNA, ASA and government restrictions, and most importantly, with the utmost regard for the health and welfare of our athletes, volunteers and all other stakeholders. A secondary consideration was the risk of committing precious resources towards the staging of an event which might later be cancelled at short notice and the CMA Board’s obligation for the preservation of the 100-year-old event’s assets into the future.
Winn says, “Amidst intense and ongoing uncertainty with the Covid-19 pandemic and its effects on mass gatherings and events, our runners’ interests remain uppermost in our minds and endeavours. We urge Comrades runners to take care and continue to maintain their fitness levels to enable a smooth transition once the normal staging of distance running resumes, while we at the CMA pledge to enable runners to stay connected, engaged, safe, informed and abreast of developments in this regard.”
Winn adds, “What we can confirm is that the festivities of the Comrades Marathon Centenary Celebrations will commence on 24 May and we invite all South Africans and our global running community to join in the revelry and remembrance of South Africa’s and the world’s oldest and greatest ultra-road running event.”
Africa Marathons remain committed to keeping you updated on news of what the plans will look like for the Comrades Marathon Virtual Marathon and Comrades Marathon 2022. For more info please send us an email on [email protected].