The 2008 Comrades Marathon, to be run on Sunday, June 15, will offer elite athletes a total of nearly R1.4 million (USD 210,000) in prize money, a record amount for any road race in South Africa and an increase of ten percent over 2007. The winner’s prize for both men and women goes up from R200,000 to R220,000 ($33,000) and the total winnings will be a whopping R1,398,900 ($209,800).
Speaking at the launch of the 2008 event in Johannesburg, Comrades Marathon general manager Gary Boshoff said that this move is in line with the international trend to reward elite performers handsomely. “We live in a professional era and ultramarathon stars deserve to be richly rewarded, just as sportsmen and women are in other sports. The Comrades Marathon is considered by the international fraternity to be the world’s greatest ultramarathon road race and we need to attract the best possible field. Last year we saw the impact a runner like Leonid Shvetsov can have on our event and we need to keep that momentum going,” he said.
The Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) is also mindful of the needs of their “regular” runners. Race director Renée Jordaan said that the organizers go to great lengths to offer every runner the best possible experience.
“We will have 48 refreshment stations and eight medical stations along the route. Each runner will receive a free Reebok Play Dry shirt, and those runners finishing in a pair of Reebok shoes will also receive a Reebok jacket at the finish line,” she said.
The 2008 event will be an “up” run from the Durban City Hall to the Oval in Pietermaritzburg, a distance of approximately 86.7 km. The route is essentially the same as in 2006, with minor changes occurring in the Fields Hill/Kloof area.
The entry fee for the race has been increased slightly. “We have decided to raise the entry fee to R180 (USD 27) for local runners. We believe that this is in line with general standards in the sport. In fact, we have such a good sponsor base that entry fees represent only ten percent of our total race budget. Without our sponsors, the entry fee would be considerably higher as the Comrades Marathon is a costly race to stage,’” said CMA chairman Dave Dixon.
Entries open in mid-January and will close on Monday, May 5.
Written by: Riel Hauman