Picture: 123RF/ LEON SWART
Picture: 123RF/ LEON SWART

The Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) will wait until April 17 to make a final decision on the 95th running of the world’s biggest ultra-marathon. The race is set to take place on June 14.

The CMA board met on Monday to discuss the feasibility of the down run from Pietermaritzburg to Durban taking place in light of the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaring Covid-19 a pandemic.

President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a national state of disaster on Sunday, prohibiting gatherings of 100 or more people. The Comrades Marathon attracts more than 15‚000 athletes and involves scores of volunteers and officials.

Athletics SA decided to postpone with immediate effect all athletics events at all levels for 30 days‚ but the Comrades Marathon falls significantly outside the time frame. SA’s other big marathon‚ the Two Oceans Marathon scheduled to be run in Cape Town on April 11‚ has already been cancelled.

CMA chair Cheryl Winn said members will be monitoring events with the view of postponing the race to a later date in 2020. “With nearly three months to go to Comrades 2020‚ the CMA board has decided that it is premature to postpone this year’s Comrades Marathon‚” Winn said.

“We will, however, continue to monitor the situation daily and will make a decision by April 17, depending upon how the situation evolves, on whether to postpone Comrades. We have to consider the best interest and wellbeing of our athletes‚ supporters‚ spectators‚ volunteers and the public.

“With 282 successful substitution applications having been processed since the opening of the 2020 substitution period yesterday [Monday]‚ we urge all Comrades runners to continue with their training preparations.”