May 2020: Comrades called off, but Epic entries open

NEWSLETTER: April 2020

While runners, cyclists and walkers have been able to enjoy a small measure of freedom in recent weeks, and President Cyril Ramaphosa hinted at more concessions for athletes on Wednesday, a day later there was seriously bad news for South African road running in general and 27 500 Comrades Marathon entrants in particular.

Athletics South Africa, in conjunction with The Comrades Marathon Association and KZN Athletics, announced on Thursday that the Comrades will become the latest high-profile event to fall victim to the Coronavirus pandemic that is sweeping across the world. Following on from the cancellation of the Absa Cape Epic, IronMan Triathlon and a host of other major events all over the world, the Comrades was officially called off.

The only other time Comrades has been cancelled was from 1941 to 1945 when WWII meant the organisers could not hold the event, making this the first peace-time cancellation in the race’s history. The decision means that next year’s down-run, when the event will celebrate its Centenary, will be the 95th edition of the famous run between Pietermaritzburg and Durban.

ASA President Aleck Skhosana said: “Cancelling what would have been the 95th edition of the Comrades Marathon was a long and arduous decision. With the race’s rich history, its powerful nation-building attributes and contribution towards social cohesion, as well as its immense economic impact, it would have been premature to rush into an outright cancellation sooner. However, we believe we have jointly arrived at the correct decision to protect the health and safety of all concerned, as well as the lives of our fellow South Africans.”

CMA Chairperson Cheryl Winn said that the event has been cancelled “… with profound sadness and regret.” Adding that the decision was made “… with the knowledge that it will come as a great disappointment to thousands of Comrades runners.”

A field of 27 500 runners had already entered the event. The roughly 2 500 foreign entrants will have their 2020 entries deferred to the 2021 or 2022 Comrades but there is no such concession for South African entrants.

According to the official statement on the Comrades website, local runners “…will not be refunded their entry fee but will instead receive their #Comrades2020 runners T-shirt and goodie bag, as well as a Comrades badge and flash.”

The 2019 up-run finishers who complete the 2021 down-run will qualify for Back-to-Back medals.

You can read the full statement on the Comrades Marathon website here.

Epic entries

This week (Tuesday, May 19) the Absa Cape Epic, another event that fell victim to the disease earlier this year, opens their public entries for the 2021 race with a slight change to the entry process. In the past, the procedure started with early bird entries, followed by a lottery. For the 2021 event there will be no lottery and entries are or now limited to 499 teams.

A limited number of entries will be available to the public on a first-come, first-served basis (starting on Tuesday May 19 at 3pm). These 55 entries will also benefit from a 25% discount, if the entry is paid for and confirmed before June 15.

More info on 2021 Cape Epic entries here.

All teams who entered the 2020 race will receive a guaranteed Absa Cape Epic team entry in any one of the 2021, 2022 or 2023 races. Teams that paid the full entry fee in 2020 will receive a coupon that can be used to offset part of the cost of the standard entry fee in their chosen year.

More info on guaranteed entries for 2020 entrants here.

sani2c in December

Some good news to emerge from all the event cancellations is from the KAP sani2c. The past week was also meant to be the 2020 sani2c week with about 4 000 riders scheduled to ride from Underberg to Scottburgh, but Covid-19 meant the event had to be postponed. Farmer Glen Haw and his team are adamant the event will still take place in December, albeit with only two events (the Adventure and the Race – Trail entries have been merged with the Race). Searing heat and summer rain storms are potential problems for these dates, but the hundreds of people who live along the route and the charity beneficiaries who rely on the event will be relieved to know there is a strong commitment for the event to go ahead despite the challenges (as will all the riders).

More information on the sani2c here.


Calling all cyclists and runners to stay healthy and active during lockdown. Even if you are now getting outdoors to run or cycle, you can still log your lockdown exercise. Stay active and stay healthy.