16 March 2016

Countdown To The Ultimate Human Race – The 2016 Comrades Marathon

Submitted by Viv Quann
Countdown To The Ultimate Human Race – The 2016 Comrades Marathon

PIETERMARITZBURG, 16 MARCH 2016 – In just over 2 months, nearly 20 000 runners from all over the world will take on one of the most challenging, humbling and life-affirming events of their lives, the 2016 Comrades Marathon, happening on Sunday, 29 May 2016.

Now in its 91st year, the Comrades Marathon is the world’s largest and most prestigious ultra –marathon, with this year’s ‘Down Run’ taking runners along an epic 89-km route across KwaZulu-Natal’s unrelenting mountainous terrain, from Pietermaritzburg to Durban. 

“This prestigious ultra-marathon right here on our shores ranks as one of the toughest in the world pushing athletes beyond their limits on every level. Crossing the finish line before the 12-hour cut-off time is an extraordinary moment for every runner, whether it’s their first time or 20th. The slogan of this year’s race ‘Izakuthoba’ meaning ‘to humble one’ is a feeling that first time runners and many who are returning will remember long after the race is over. As Nedbank we are honoured to once again sponsor the Comrades Marathon, marking the 35th year of our participation in this timeless race,” says Tobie Badenhorst, Head of Sponsorship and Cause Marketing at Nedbank.  

What makes this marathon truly remarkable is the camaraderie and support it generates between runners and spectators alike. Where this support is really brought to life is at the only official spectator point along the Comrades Marathon route – the award-winning Nedbank Green Mile – where every runner is uplifted, encouraged and considered a winner for competing.

In the 2016 edition of the Comrades Marathon, the Nedbank Green Mile will be located on Kloof’s Old Main Road, which is approximately 26km from the finish line in Durban. Once again the Nedbank Green Mile is free to all spectators and open from 8am to 3pm on race day. 

In this mile, Nedbank creates an inspiring and lively theme and atmosphere where spectators can provide vital support to uplift runners as they embark on the home stretch of the Ultimate Human Race. 

Says Badenhorst, “The 2016 Nedbank Green Mile theme is Green & Gold. Green equals Nedbank, growth, harmony, rejuvenation, recycling, energy and safety; Gold equals success, achievement and triumph, extravagance and wealth in any form, which perfectly describes the courage, love, laughter and participation shared between runners and spectators.”  

When runners reach the Nedbank Green Mile, they would have completed around 63 km of the race and for many, every part of their body will be aching as they fight to get beyond-tired legs to carry them to the finish line before the gun goes off at 5:30pm. After this time they won’t receive a medal and won’t be allowed to cross the line. Crucial to helping runners get their medal will be the support generated along the Nedbank Green Mile

 “The NedbankGreenMile started out as a water table 35 years ago. From those humble beginnings, it has since evolved into the only official spectator point along the route, creating a mile-long family-friendly, community-orientated space where everyone can be part of the Comrades Experience,” adds Badenhorst.

In 2016, the Nedbank Green Mile will feature grandstands for spectators, a big screen TV broadcasting live race coverage throughout the day, race commentary, live music and entertainment, a kid’s zone, food and beverages, plus many more surprises. Spectators are encouraged to wear green and gold in their clothing and accessories to cement what the green mile stands for. 

Says Badenhorst, “In Nedbank’s commitment to supporting the local community, all proceeds from food and beverage sales along the Nedbank Green Mile will go to local schools, charities and other causes. All entertainment will be sourced from KZN keeping the economic impact local. There will also be an interactive recycling programme in place throughout the zone ensuring we don’t leave a footprint.”

Easy access to the Nedbank Green Mile can be gained from the M13 Hillcrest - Pinetown alternative highway travelling east towards Durban at the Pioneer off ramp. Follow the sign boards or follow www.facebook.com/nedbanksport or @nedbanksport on Twitter for more information. Use the hashtag #NedbankGreenMile to join the conversation.

All are welcome and entry to the Nedbank Green Mile is free, so come be part of the action from 08h00 to 15h00 on Sunday, 29 May 2016!

Editors’ Notes

Nedbank is an official major sponsor of the 2016 Comrades Marathon. 

The first Comrades Marathon took place on 24th May 1921, Empire Day, starting outside the City Hall in Pietermaritzburg with 34 runners. It has continued since then every year with the exception of the war years 1941-1945, with the direction alternating each year between Pietermaritzburg and Durban, the so called up & down runs. 

The Nedbank Green Mile is the only official spectator point along the marathon route, offering Comrades supporters a perfect vantage point to view all the race action. It is located along Old Main Road in Kloof and is just 26km from the finish line in Kingsmead, Durban. 

Entry into the Nedbank Green Mile Spectator Zone is free and festivities start at 8am. 

This year the 89-km marathon starts in Pietermaritzburg and ends in Durban on 29 May 2016.

Published in Sports Range