The beloved marathon in numbers

2019-06-06 13:30

Of the 21 635 runners who qualified for this year’s Comrades Marathon, the organisers expect at least 20 000 to turn up on the day.

Comrades Marathon Association general manager Keletso Totlhanyo told City Press that “24 600 runners were registered before the deadline, but only 21 635 qualified. We will know the actual number only after registration as some runners qualify but do not attend registration.”

It is the 94th edition of the world’s largest and oldest ultra-marathon race. It was the vision of World War 1 veteran Vic Clapham and only 34 runners took off outside the Pietermaritzburg City Hall on May 24 1921 – then known as Empire Day.

City Press brings you some fascinating race numbers:

This year’s entry fees were broken up in this way: South Africans R600; foreign athletes from Africa/SADC countries R1 500; and international foreign athletes R3 800. Runners who have completed the race 25 or more times enter for free;

. R14.7 million – the amount that would have been raised from registration fees if all 24 600 runners had paid a registration fee of R600;

. 400 000 – the biggest crowd attendance the race has attracted along the route on race day to date;

. 200 000 – the smallest crowd attendance along the route on race day to date;

. 60 000 – the biggest crowd at the finish;

. 24 638 – the biggest field of runners (in 2000);

. R1 245 000 – the amount the winner can take home if he/she is from KwaZulu-Natal. The first prize is broken down as such: The winner, in both the men’s and women’s races, and if he/she breaks the up un best times of Leonid Shvetsov (2008 – 5:24:49) or Elena Nurgalieva (2006 – 6:09:24) respectively, will take home a minimum of R1 million in prize money, comprising a first prize of R500 000 plus a R500 000 incentive for breaking the best time; R200 000 for the first South African and R45 000 for the first KwaZulu-Natal man and woman;

. R4.3 million – the full prize money in the kitty for this year’s race (see box);

. R770 000 – the cost of each of the 1-ounce gold medals that are awarded to the first 10 men and the first 10 women across the line.

To some, the above makes “cents” to take to the road for 87km over five or more hours. But for most, it’s the achievement of running the race and becoming a true Comrade.

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August 18 2019