Article by: Bongiwe Masondo
Athletics South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal Athletics and Comrades Marathon Association have announced the cancellation of the 2020 Comrades Marathon.
The Comrades Marathon has been cancelled for the first time in 75 years, Athletics South Africa has confirmed, with next month’s race being called off due to coronavirus restrictions.
Bare in mind that it is the first time that the race has been cancelled since 1945.
Making the announcement, ASA President Aleck Skhosana said: “Cancelling what would have been the 95th edition of the Comrades Marathon was a long and arduous decision to make. With the race’s rich history, its powerful nation-building attributes and contribution towards social cohesion, as well as its immense economic impact, it would have been premature to rush into an outright cancellation sooner. However, we believe we have jointly arrived at the correct decision to protect the health and safety of all concerned as well as the lives of our fellow South Africans.”
CMA Chairperson Cheryl Winn also explained that: “It is with profound sadness and regret that the CMA Board, in conjunction with ASA and KZNA, had to make this decision. We do so with the knowledge that it will come as a great disappointment to thousands of Comrades runners, who together with us at CMA, have been holding out hope that the race would somehow proceed.
“We had hoped to postpone The Ultimate Human Race to a date not later than end of September (owing to climatic conditions), but alas with the Covid-19 pandemic showing no signs of abating and anticipated to peak in the coming months, there is no telling what is yet to come. As CMA, it is incumbent upon us to prioritise the health, safety and well-being of our athletes, volunteers and stakeholders and therefore lamentably we will not be staging this year’s edition of the country’s leading road running event.”
Jay Reddy, KZN Athletics Administrator, added: “In this difficult time which has seen to the historic cancellation of one of KZNA’s flagship events, let us not succumb to despair, disappointment, and acceptance that we are victims of this pandemic.
Let us rather celebrate that as athletes and other role players, we are sacrificing one of our major races in the knowledge that we are serving the interests of humanity.
As KZNA we stand united in our endeavour to overcome the devastating consequences of this disease. We call upon all our members and associates to engage in strategies to address the broader issues of the environment and the pressing needs of our people in the true spirit of the Comrades.
We urge our athletes to continue to observe the Covid-19 regulations, engage in activity responsibly, and take every precaution to prevent the spread of the virus.”
Read the full story on the Comrades Marathon Website: THE 2020 COMRADES MARATHON HAS BEEN CANCELLED
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