Comrades finally defies coronavirus


Comrades Marathon

DURBAN, (CAJ News) – THE Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) has at last gotten the better of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic after managing to raise more than R2 million for distribution among charities.

Still, as the virus rages, albeit at a lower scale, the handover remained a virtual event.

With South Africa’s lockdown discouraging large gatherings, the CMA resorted for a virtual handover as opposed to the hosting of its traditional charities distribution, usually scheduled for the Comrades House headquarters.

Six charity organisations benefitted from the total of R2,28 million raised from the entries into the traditional marathon, aptly tagged, “The Race That Never Was.”

The cancellation of the marathon culminated in the inaugural ‘Race The Comrades Legends’ virtual event.

“Race The Comrades Legends” was hosted on June 14. It raised R330 000.

The 2020 edition of the world’s most popular ultra-marathon was cancelled ahead of its customary date in June.

Then, South Africa was experiencing a peak of the global pandemic. Almost all sporting codes were affected by the ensuing lockdowns that included the closure of borders and airspaces.

However, cases have been subsiding in recent weeks. Bonitas, the medical aid provider, recently terminated its partnership with the Comrades, deciding to channel its funds into strategic healthcare and wellness initiatives following the emergence of the pandemic.

The marathon possibly could return next year.

Foreign registrants have in addition received the option of transferring their entry to 2022.

Presiding over the virtual handover event, CMA Chairperson, Cheryl Winn, said given that the virus disrupted many of the organisation’s plans, they still managed to achieve a lot.

“We were able to once again demonstrate that Comrades Marathon Runners care. I hope that we will achieve a whole lot more as we work towards the 2021 Comrades centenary celebrations,” Winn said.

CMA beneficiaries under the auspices of the Amabeadibeadi charities scheme include the Durban and Pietermaritzburg Community Chests, Childhood Cancer Foundation (CHOC), Hillcrest Aids Centre Trust, Hospice Palliative Care Association, Wildlands Conservation Trust and World Vision South Africa.

– CAJ News

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