More prize money and a traditional date for 2023 Comrades Marathon

November 22, 2022 0 By Cypher9ja

There was good news for professional and amateur runners yesterday, with Comrades Marathon organisers announcing an increase in prize money and a return to a traditional June date for the 2023 edition of the annual race.

While the date had never been fixed, the 90km ultra-marathon was usually held in May or June before being shifted to August for this year’s edition, but participants had not reacted favourably, with the new date pushing their toughest training period deeper into cold and dark winter conditions.

Launching the 2023 race in Pietermaritzburg, the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) said next year’s event would be held on 11 June.

In addition, it was revealed that future races would be held on the second Sunday of June for the foreseeable future.

“As part of the post-race feedback we received, an overwhelming majority of runners told us, as much as they appreciated the logic and rationale behind the August date, they still preferred the June date,” said CMA chairperson Mqondisi Ngcobo.

“So we are excited to be back in June and we look forward to hosting another world-class race.”

Another ‘down’ run

The 96th edition of the ultra-marathon, marketed under the slogan Ziyasha! (This is it!), would be another ‘down’ run between Pietermaritzburg and Durban – a repeat of this year’s race, which bucked the trend to change directions each year.

Entries, capped at 20 000 runners, opened at noon on Tuesday and would close at 4.30pm on 9 December or when the entry limit was reached.

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Though it would not be a record field, race director Rowyn James was pleased they were able to handle enough logistical challenges to ensure the race remained one of the biggest in the country.

“With Comrades, it’s about presenting a safe, secure, professional race; it’s not about chasing numbers,” James said.

“Considering the capacity of the road, and the roadworks that are expected along the route, 20,000 is a number that we feel is acceptable.”

Prize money

There was also a boost for elite athletes, with R300,000 on offer for the mens and women’s winners and a total prize purse of more than R2.6 million (an increase of 15% from this year’s race).

Entries for the 2023 event – accepted online at the Comrades Marathon website or via the app – will cost R1,200 for South African citizens, with a new option allowing runners to pay the entry fee in two installments.