While the prize-money for the Comrades Marathon has not increased significantly – this year the winners of the men’s and women’s race will earn R220 000 each – there’s still a very keen interest from many ultra-distance runners to attempt the gruelling race from Durban to Pietermaritzburg and vice versa each year.
The runners-up in the two categories will each receive R110 000 while third placed athletes will pocket R82 500 with fourth placed runners taking home R44 000 and the fifth slot will see the ultra-marathon runners earn R33 000 for their efforts in completing the 89km race.
“We have just 11 000 runners set to start the race on Sunday,” Dave Dixon, said, “and that shows you there is still a tremendous amount of interest in this race.
“The prize-money has increased 10 percent – last year the winners received R200 000.”
This year’s race – to be run on Sunday from outside the Durban City Hall to the Oval in Pietermaritzburg – will once again in all probability be dominated by the international runners. But according to Mr Price, they will not be paying out those huge win bonuses that they used to in the years gone by.
Graham Daniel, manager of the Mr Price “elite” squad said a winner from his squad – man or woman – will receive an extra R250 000.
“There will be no “double” bonus for breaking the record as we had previously paid in the past,” he said.
“The economy is not as fluid as it was a few years ago hence Mr Price, though still very committed to the race have decided to offer a substantial win bonus.
Mr Price is looking at either Elena or Olesya Nurgalieva to win the women’s race while they are banking on the defending Up Run champion, Oleg Kharitonov, to retain his crown.
Meanwhile KwaZulu-Natal’s Dave Rogers will be running his 43rd Comrades when the race begins at 5.30am on Sunday. If he finishes the race, Rogers will overtake Clive Crawley, who wears the No 1 across his vest and who last entered the race in 2007, on the honours board as the ultra-runners to have run the most Comrades.
Crawley has not entered this year’s race. Rogers, who wears the No 183 vest, successfully completed his 42nd Comrades last year.
Another KwaZulu-Natal runner, Kenny Craig, is third on the list as he has run 40 followed by the legend Liege Boulle with 39 completed races to his name and in fifth place is Riel Hugo of Western Province, who will run his 40th Comrades on Sunday. Another legend of the Comrades, Alan Robb, will be running his 35th this weekend.
Posted by Stuart Barrington