Runners compete in the Comrades Marathon. Photo: Rogan Ward/Reuters
JOHANNESBURG - Comrades Marathon runners often tell of the overwhelming experience of being a novice at The Ultimate Human Race.

“The race is just way too big and sometimes you just wish you had someone to ‘hold your hand’ and take you through the whole experience,” a clubmate told me the other day. 

“And I am not talking about just the race itself, but everything. The day before the race at the Expo can be a little too much for a newcomer because the place is just teeming with people and stuff related to the race. But at least you guys have us to share our experiences and prepare you for it.”

The Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) have clearly cottoned on to this fact and have moved to cater for the novice athletes a little better than in previous years.

CMA marketing manager Thami Vilakazi said: “The CMA has long been championing the need to enhance the very special and life-changing experience when a person makes the decision to take on The Ultimate Human Race. The Comrades Novice Club is a great start in that direction.”

And so it will be that come next week when the Comrades Expo opens, maiden runners of this famous race will receive some form of special treatment with CMA now going to make available Comrades legends to share their experiences and advice with the novices when they visit the “Comrades Novice Club”.

Amongst the offerings for our novices will be motivational talks, running advice and photo sessions with select Comrades personalities. The selfies and photos will capture the essence of what it means to be a Comrades runner, and bring to life the history and great moments of the world’s greatest footrace.

The Novice Club will include elements of times gone by, life size stands of some of the legends and comprise of a video area which will screen footage of previous races and air Comrades stories and documentaries.

All this excites CMA and they hope it will do the same for the novices.

“The Comrades Novice Club initiative is a unique addition to the Comrades Expo and we are confident that it will grow and develop into one of the very special experiences for all new Comrades runners,” Vilakazi explained.

The Star

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