The Comrades Marathon goes virtual

Date:19 May 2020 Author: Adrian Brown

The Comrades Marathon Association has announced that an officially sanctioned virtual race will soon be launched. Titled ‘Race the Comrades Legends’, the online event will take place on Sunday, 14 June 2020.

In a press release, the organisers of the marathon said: “Following on last week’s historic and regrettable cancellation of the 2020 Comrades Marathon and the manifest cancellation or postponement of nearly every mass-participation running event in the world, the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) today announced the launch of the one and only Comrades Marathon Association officially sanctioned virtual race, ‘Race the Comrades Legends’ and it will be one with a significant difference.”

Completion of the virtual event will still get you a medal, and for all South Africans who had entered the 2020 Comrades entry to this event is free.

Here’s how it works:

“The CMA’s ‘Race The Comrades Legends’ is a running concept based on the stories of the greatest Comrades Legends in history. The official Comrades Marathon website will include an online functionality where runners can virtually compete, run with and compare with each other and the likes of Bruce Fordyce, Frith van der Merwe, Samuel Tshabalala and many others; where each participant creates their own personal story and on completion is able to earn a real medal,” the marathon organisers said.

“By creating an international virtual event with great public focus, based on a series of distances that various running legends have defined in their time, from the 5km to the marathon as well as the usual Comrades Marathon ultra, the CMA has effectively created a virtual mass-participation event for everyone to be a part of.”

All runners need to do is register and select their preferred distance. Participants are allowed to run anywhere, including in their gardens, on treadmills or in their neighbourhoods.

Athletes will run their race and capture their finish time using a normal timing device. They’ll be required to upload their times manually. Thereafter, results will be calculated and updated automatically after which they will receive race feedback via email.

“The programme will include full integration of all popular fitness apps, including Strava and Endomondo for direct upload; as well as Garmin, Polar and Suunto. Runners who do not have any of these devices or apps can upload a GPX, TCX or FIT file format from other devices and apps or they can manually enter their time based on any watch,”it explained.

Race results will also be integrated to include fun and novel finishers’ comparisons which can then be compared against the Legends.

CMA Chairperson, Cheryl Winn expects all participants to ensure safe social distancing during the race.

“We expect that our athletes will take the necessary precautions and observe the relevant constraints of the National Lockdown and adhere to social distancing norms, no matter which country you are in. However, this is one race in which we wish to unite South Africa and the world in one amazing virtual event,” she said.



Image: Facebook / Comrades Marathon

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