After announcing the event would be postponed last month, organizers have now cancelled the Comrades Marathon altogether

Last month, Comrades Marathon race organizers announced that the event would be postponed, although no new dates were ever set. This morning, the Comrades Marathon Association and Athletics South Africa officially cancelled the event, once again extending the list of COVID-19 race casualties.

The 2020 event would have been the 95th running of the ultramarathon, but that milestone will have to wait until at least 2021.

The Comrades Marathon route switches direction every year, but it’s always run between the two same cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban. There are “up” years (Durban to Pietermaritzburg), which are 87K with about 2,000 metres of elevation gain, and “down” years (Pietermaritzburg to Durban), which are 90K. This year would have been a down year, but runners will have to wait to make the trek until next June.

Comrades is the biggest race in South Africa, and in 2020 they had a cap of 27,500 racers. The race is a big source of pride for South Africans, and it’s been won by South African runners on many occasions, including the last eight-straight years.

This year’s race would have been the 95th running of the Comrades Marathon, but 2021 will actually be the 100th anniversary of the event (it wasn’t run for five years during World War II). It’s a shame that the event had to be cancelled this year, but it will make next year’s run more meaningful with the race celebrating 100 years of existence and its 95th running.

The race was first run in 1921 by Vic Clapham, who fought in World War I. Upon returning home to South Africa, he ran between Pietermaritzburg and Durban as a tribute for his fellow soldiers (or comrades) who didn’t make it home, officially starting the Comrades Marathon.

posted Friday May 15th
by Ben Snider-McGrath