15 May 2020, 1pm
Making the announcement, ASA President Aleck Skhosana said: “Cancelling what would have been the 95th edition of the Comrades Marathon was a long and arduous decision to make. 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.”
The 95th edition will now be run in 2021 and will be the 47th “down” run, from Pietermaritzburg to Durban and will mark the Centenary of the Comrades Marathon Association which was founded on 24th May 1921.
Exactly 80 years ago Comrades Marathon organisers faced a similar dilemma in deciding whether to stage the 20th Comrades Marathon some eight months into the conflagration of World War II. At the last moment it was decided to go ahead with just 23 starters, following the withdrawal of many runners who had been mobilised for the war effort. Only 10 runners completed the 1940 Comrades Marathon. The following year the race was cancelled and remained so for the duration of the war (1941–1945), as the organisers, runners and supporters stood in solidarity with all those who suffered the horrors and atrocities of war, similar to that of the World War 1 which had inspired the foundation of the Comrades Marathon.
CMA Chairperson Cheryl Winn commented: “We thank each of our runners, supporters, volunteers and sponsors for their patience, fortitude and steadfast support over the past two months during which we have wrangled with this difficult decision. Sad as it is, as CMA we can now turn our focus towards the staging of our Centenary Celebrations next year in the comfort of knowing we can rely on the passionate loyalty and participation of so many.”
The Czech Athletics Federation and the Estonian Athletics Association have both confirmed that their national championships will be held on the weekend of 8–9 August.