Rick Andries, Brian Zulu and Johan Kruger with some of the bottles they have collected for the marathon. Picture Zanele Zulu
DURBAN - Twenty-two thousand plastic soft drink bottles are needed to help enhance part of the Comrades Marathon route in Drummond.

The collection appeal has been made by the South African Legion of Military Veterans in Durban. The Comrades Marathon Committee had offered the SA Legion an “activation point” at the event, said its provincial chairperson Rick Andries. The area identified extends from the Wall of Honour to the halfway mark at Drummond.

The Legion needs 22000 plastic poppies made - one for each Comrades runner - from recycled soft drink bottles to provide an “avenue of poppies” as a visual presence.

These poppies would be placed in batches of 100 on a green shade cloth to be attached to both sides of the crowd control fencing in front of the Wall of Honour, giving about 400m of a display area.

Additional poppies would be in clusters, placed on wire stems above the Wall of Honour.

“We have also been asked to make paper poppies available to the runners, which they will place on Arthur’s Seat, created by five-times Comrades winner Arthur Newton.

“Newton carved out a seat in the sandstone, where he would sit and communicate with and give advice to fellow runners along the route. This has now given rise to a legend, stating that should a runner place a flower in Arthur’s Seat and greet him with a pleasant ‘Good morning, Sir’, he/she will have a good second half of the race,” Andries explained.

“We are saving the bottles from ending up in a landfill site or the ocean somewhere. We will use the bottom third of the bottle for the creation of the poppy.

“We have an agreement with Wildlands, who will take the rest of the bottle and add it to their recycling project to provide raw material to produce school desks for various underprivileged schools,” Andries said.

The poppies produced for this event will be kept and used for other events in the future.

Plastic bottles can be dropped off at Bike and Bean on the Durban beachfront or at the SA Legion’s Durban offices at 839 Umbilo Road.

Daily News