Comrades Road unveiled in Pietermaritzburg ahead of the 97th Comrades Marathon

Officials and guests gathered at a ceremony for the renaming of Connaught Road at Comrades House in the Scottsville area of Pietermaritzburg to Comrades Road by Msunduzi Municipality. Picture: Supplied.

Officials and guests gathered at a ceremony for the renaming of Connaught Road at Comrades House in the Scottsville area of Pietermaritzburg to Comrades Road by Msunduzi Municipality. Picture: Supplied.

Published May 16, 2024

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The Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) announced the unveiling of Comrades Road at Comrades House in Scottsville, Pietermaritzburg last week.

The road previously called Connaught Road, was renamed to Comrades Road by the Msunduzi Municipality on Thursday ahead of the 97th Comrades Marathon next month.

This year’s 85.91km race will be the 49th Up Run on Sunday, June 9, 2024, starting at the Durban City Hall and ending at the HollywoodBets Scottsville Racecourse in Pietermaritzburg.

The CMA in a statement on Wednesday said together with the renaming of Connaught Road to Comrades Road, over 300 roads, three community halls and a councillor’s office are being renamed in five wards within the municipality.

The purpose of this project according to the CMA was to afford people the opportunity to live in places that they better relate to and take pride in.

“The municipality had announced the plan to rename streets in Pietermaritzburg townships and suburbs through a Public Places and Street Naming policy passed by the Municipal Council in 2020 and called on community members for their input,” said the association.

Municipal speaker Eunice Majola said the Comrades Marathon has a history as resilient and indomitable as the over 124,000 runners who have taken up its 55-mile challenge over the last 103 years.

Majola said the race has only ever been stopped by World War II and the recent pandemic.

“The renaming of this road commemorates the iconic and historic legacy of the Comrades Marathon. It is a deep-seated recognition of the long and enduring 103-year-old relationship that this race shares with the City of Pietermaritzburg,” she said.

The speaker said no other event in the ultramarathon category is more deserving of the honour of having the road on which its headquarters is based, named after it.

CMA chairperson Mqondisi Ngcobo, said the association is honoured that the municipality has confirmed the renaming of the road.

Ngcobo said the Comrades Marathon is a unique race with noble origins and many people have contributed to the success of this nation-building event.

“On behalf of the CMA board, staff, race organising committee, runners, administrators and volunteers, we extend our appreciation to the mayor, councillors, public places and street naming committee, and officials,” he said.

CMA Heritage and Traditions Convenor, Isaac Ngwenya, said the association is pleased that an iconic event like the Comrades Marathon finally has a street named after it.

“It is befitting that runners will get to finally run on this road as part of this year’s Comrades route and experience the joy that we feel today,” he said.

Last month the CMA issued a notice cautioning runners about ongoing roadworks on King Cetshwayo Highway as it crosses over the N2 just before the Westwood Mall in the Sherwood/ Westville vicinity in Durban.

CMA Race and operations manager, Ann Ashworth, said the association has been instructed by the Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) and Durban Metro Police to ensure that all runners are informed of the danger posed by this ongoing construction.

“The route, which is typically four lanes wide as it crosses the bridge, will be narrowed to two lanes and bordered by concrete barricades. The CMA will be erecting additional lighting to ensure that any hazards are well lit and readily identifiable by participants,” she said.

The Mercury