Comrades Marathon goes virtual with digital race numbers but real medals
The race could see runners around the world participating across a variety of distances under very different lockdown regulations. And all participants will get their medal.
Called Race the Comrades Legends, the event is free to all South Africans who entered the main marathon.
Cheryl Winn, Comrades chairperson, said the virtual race was a great option for runners who for months had done training runs in isolation and no longer felt part of a close-knit running community.
“The race will provide a platform to engage with other runners, as well as an opportunity for family members to participate, all with the reassurance of safety and convenience, doing so within the constraints of the lockdown regulations,” she said.
The race will allow runners to compete virtually, run with and compare with each other and the likes of Bruce Fordyce, Frith van der Merwe and Samuel Tshabalala.
It is based on a series of distances from 5km, 10km, 21km, 45km to 90km.
“Runners must register on the Comrades website and select their distance. They will also have the option of donating to an official Comrades charity,” said Winn.
The cost is R150 for South African runners and $25 (R445) for foreign athletes. Entry is free to all runners who had entered the Comrades Marathon. Once registration is complete, runners will receive all the vital race information and rules.
“Athletes will run their race and capture their finish time using a normal timing device. After they have uploaded their time, their results will be calculated. They will receive personalised race feedback by e-mail with results analysis. The programme will be integrated with all popular fitness apps,” she said.
Entrants will receive a digital race number before the race and a virtual medal and certificate after the race. All finishers will receive a real medal, which will be distributed as soon as possible after the race.
“This is one of those innovations that will add to the Comrades spirit on June 14,” said Winn.
“As always, we expect that our athletes will take the necessary precautions and observe the relevant constraints of the national lockdown and adhere to social distancing norms, no matter which country you are in.
“However, this is one race in which we wish to unite South Africa and the world in one amazing virtual event.” Staff Reporter