The Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) Board has regrettably announced its decision to cancel the Comrades Marathon scheduled for 13 June 2021.

The decision to cancel comes as an enormous disappointment to tens of thousands of runners and, according to a press statement, has also been a tough call for CMA organisers to make, in what is the world-renowned race’s centenary year.

The decision comes in the wake of engagements with KwaZulu-Natal Athletics, Athletics SA, the National Coronavirus Command Council, members of the medical fraternity and governmental departments.

Left with no choice

Race organisers state that the cancellation 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 Covid-19 variant, as well as the ongoing National State of Disaster and its associated restrictions.

“The CMA Board is determined that the health, safety and welfare of Comrades runners, officials, volunteers and the general public remains paramount even after having held out hope that the nation’s most unifying road running event would have been able to be hosted in June,” read the statement.

The impending third wave of Covid-19 widely anticipated around April to June this year has ended any such hopesand makes the hosting of any mass event in the near future highly unlikely.

Centenary celebrations to continue

However, the good news is that the Comrades Centenary Celebrations are imminent. With the first Comrades Marathon held on Tuesday, 24 May 1921, the CMA will launch its Centenary Celebrations on Monday, 24 May 2021.

The CMA also confirmed that the second Comrades Marathon virtual event will take place on Sunday, 13 June 2021.

Runners will be able to run in any location, outside in their garden, or neighbourhood, all at their own pace, in a similar fashion to last year’s successful inaugural Race the Comrades Legends, which saw 43,788 participants from more than 100 nations uniting in a single virtual event.

The CMA will share further details of the virtual event, the Comrades Centenary Celebrations and other festivities in due course.