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Athletics | Running

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'Hard is what makes Comrades great'

Race director Johan Van Staden held high hopes for next year's Comrades Marathon and said it was an opportunity for the organisers to improve on the current standard.

“Comrades is an extremely hard race and hard is what makes it great. You have that sense of achievement when you finish the race and that just makes it great,” Van Staden said at the 2014 race launch in Johannesburg on Thursday.

It would be the 89th edition of the ultimate human race, and the slogan ‘hard is what makes it great' was the leading campaign driver for the 89km down-run from Pietermaritzburg to Durban, on June 1, 2014.

Soaring temperatures and high winds made 2013 a challenging year for the marathon.

“Our primary focus for the campaign revolves around educating the runners on how hard the race is and the preparation required for the comrades marathon.”

The prize money for the male and female winners was increased from R300 000 to R350 000.

“A lot of our runners out there run for money and that's how they sustain their living. Being an international event we have to keep up with the standards out there and supply the runners with a decent reward,” said Van Staden.

Chris Bruwer would take over from Gary Boschoff as the general manager of the Comrades Marathon Association, after had Boschoff had served the organisation for over eight years.

A new entry system was introduced where runners would no longer submit their entries via retail store Mr Price. They would now apply online or through the manual system of handing in an entry form to CMA.

Entries for the race open on September 1 and will close on November 30, or as soon as the 18 000 entry cap has been reached.


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