INTRODUCTION OF ROBERT MTSHALI MEDAL
17 October 2018
Athletes who complete next year’s Comrades Marathon in 9 hours to sub-10 hours will be awarded the newly introduced Robert Mtshali Medal. Made of titanium, this will be a stunning new addition to the Comrades Marathon Medal Collection and will join the ranks of the esteemed Comrades Marathon Gold, Wally Hayward, Isavel Roche-Kelly, Silver, Bill Rowan, Bronze and Vic Clapham medals.
Mtshali was the first unofficial Black runner in the 1935 Comrades Marathon, finishing his race in a time of 9 hours and 30 minutes. His efforts were not officially recorded as government and race rules of the time stipulated that, in order to compete in the Comrades Marathon, you had to be a white male.
Friday, the 24th of May 1935 saw Mtshali participating in the 15th Comrades Marathon, a Down Run, joining the 48 official entrants on the starting line. He ran the grueling 89km unofficially, but was warmly welcomed into the Durban finish venue on the then Old Fort Road track grounds (now KE Masinga Road) by the crowds of supporters and spectators. The maverick runner clocked his time of 9:30 and was awarded a special presentation by Councilor V.L. Shearer. He was one of only 35 finishers.
In 2005, to mark the celebrations of the 80th Comrades Marathon, the Comrades Marathon Association unveiled a magnificent bronze plaque at the entrance to the Comrades Marathon Museum to commemorate Robert Mtshali’s courageous and ground-breaking 1935 run, in symbolic recognition of the many Forgotten Comrades, both male and female, who so bravely completed the race unofficially prior to 1975 when participation in the race was officially opened to men and women of all races.
“The Robert Mtshali Medal will certainly be an added incentive for those runners finishing in 9 hours to sub-10 hours,” said CMA Chairperson, Cheryl Winn. ‘We anticipate that the introduction of this new medal will have a huge impact on the race, in terms of providing both a powerful reminder, symbolic recognition and reconciliation with an unfortunate aspect of our past and in terms of added impetus to the 2019 Comrades Marathon with an achievable incentive for Bronze Medal runners to pick up their pace and run faster.”
The 48th Comrades Marathon Up Run will start at the Durban City Hall at 5h30 and finish 12 hours later at the Scottsville Race Course on Sunday, 9 June 2019.’
Prize money totaling R4.3 million is up for grabs in next year’s event with R500-thousand for both the Male and Female Winners, and an additional R500-thousand should a runner break the best time for the Up Run.
The opening date for entries is Friday, 19 October 2018. The entry period closes on 10 December 2018 or as soon as the entry cap of 25,000 has been reached. Entry fees for the 2019 Comrades Marathon are as follows:
South African: R600.00
Foreign Athletes – Africa/ SADC countries: R1500.00
Foreign Athletes International: R3800.00
Runners can enter as follows:
· online via the Comrades Marathon website: www.comrades.com;
· by posting their completed entry form with proof of payment to the CMA Office: P.O. Box 100621, Scottsville, 3209;
· by handing in their completed entry form together with payment at Comrades House, 18 Connaught Road, Scottsville, Pietermaritzburg.
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