2021 Comrades Marathon Is Cancelled For 2nd Straight Year
Before 2020 and 2021, the last time the race hadn’t been held was World War II (1941-45). It’s a shame as the race started in 1921.
By Riël Hauman
(c) 2021 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
(10-Feb) — Just a week after the Two Oceans Marathon was cancelled, the world’s largest ultra, the Comrades Marathon between the South African cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban also fell victim to the COVID-19 pandemic. The race over approximately 90 km would have been held for the 95th time on June 13. It was also cancelled last year, for the first time since World War II (1941-45).
The 2021 event would also have celebrated the centenary of the Comrades, which was first held on May 24, 1921.
Referring to the new variant of the virus currently active in South Africa, the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) said in a statement: “This decision comes in the wake of engagements with KwaZulu-Natal Athletics, Athletics South Africa, the National Coronavirus Command Council, members of the medical fraternity and governmental departments; and was both a moral and practical imperative given the ongoing uncertainty and unprecedented circumstances of the Coronavirus pandemic, the onset of a second wave and a significantly more infectious variant of Covid-19, as well as the ongoing National State of Disaster and its associated restrictions.
“The impending third wave of Covid-19 which is widely anticipated around April to June has ended any hopes [of presenting the race] and makes the hosting of any mass event in the near future highly unlikely.”
However, the CMA will still launch its Centenary Celebrations on Monday, May 24. The second Comrades virtual race will also take place on June 13. Like last year, when 43,788 runners from more than hundred nations participated, athletes will be able to run in any location. Details will be announced later.
The 2019 race, an “up” run from Durban to Pietermaritzburg, had 16,702 finishers. The winners were Edward Mothibi and Gerda Steyn, whose 5:58:53 was the first ever sub-6 hour performance for the up run. Steyn, who was scheduled to run in another recently cancelled event, the RAK Half-Marathon, became only the fourth woman to have won the Two Oceans and the Comrades in the same year.
Talk about the cancellation on the LetsRun.com messageboard: MB: Jim Walmsley goes home devastated – 2021 Comrades Marathon is cancelled