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Pandemic back to plague Comrades Marathon

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Comrades Marathon
Comrades Marathon

from NJABULO BUTHELEZI in Durban
DURBAN – THE coronavirus (COVID-19) scourge has returned to haunt the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) months after the cancellation of the annual ultramarathon.

This time, the pandemic has halted the distribution of race packs to athletes across the country after a positive test confirmed at a centre where the goodie packs are packed.

CMA disclosed the closure of the Durban Coastal Mental Health, which has been shut for an entire week for disinfection.

The packing and distribution of athletes’ packs will only recommence on Tuesday next week.

CMA envisages that the dispatching, now scheduled for its Comrades House headquarters would commence on a daily basis and uninterrupted under the so-called new normal presented by the COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent lockdown imposed at the end of March.

“We are doing our best to get all race packs couriered to athletes across South Africa albeit with a few challenges and unexpected setbacks,” Rowyn James, CMA race director, said.

James confirmed that 52 running clubs in the country had already received their consignment of goodie bags, comprising 5 776 units, before the distribution was deferred.

Some 1 032 clubs had entered the race for the marathon that was scheduled for June.

CMA foresees the distribution to clubs taking about the entire month of September.

“We once again thank you (athletics community) for your patience and understanding,” James said.

One of the most prominent athletics events globally, the Comrades Marathon is among sporting events grounded by COVID-19 this year.

Following the cancellation of the race, foreign registrants given the option of transferring their entry to 2021 or 2022.

South Africa is one of the epicentres with cases exceeding 521 000, including 8 884 deaths.

Comrades host province, KwaZulu-Natal, has 16,5 percent of the cases, the third-highest behind Gauteng and Western Cape.

– CAJ News