Event: Women’s Long Distances Date of birth: 1985/04/09 Personal bests: 800m (2:03.36),...
COMRADES CHEATS WARNED
The Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) has issued a warning to potential cheats ahead of the 91st edition of the iconic race.
Race organisers said on Monday the issue had been brought to their attention through allegations raised by a growing number of concerned runners.
“We had no option but to raise our concerns with KwaZulu-Natal Athletics (KZNA) who have agreed to partner with us in putting a stop to this unsportsmanlike conduct,” Fisher said.
The two organisations would collaborate and make use of additional technologies to highlight irregularities in an attempt to reduce the amount of cheating by amateur runners in the 20 000-strong field.
In 2014, the CMA disqualified 14 non-elite participants who failed to complete the full 89km distance, after Wits mathematical statistics lecturer Mark Dowdeswell discovered irregularities in the timing splits at the 2013 race.
Numerous other amateur runners have been accused of hitching rides or running with other individuals’ timing chips and race numbers in recent years.
Others have also been accused of lying about their qualifying times on the race entry form, which affects seeding places at the start.
“We understand that this is a tough and demanding race that requires a lot of training and hard work,” Fisher said.
“It is for this reason that the integrity of those runners who honourably complete the Comrades Marathon needs to be safeguarded.”
KZNA would deploy additional officials along the route in order to ensure the rules were followed by participants.
“Allegations against cheating runners stem from complaints from other athletes, with some running clubs going as far as to supply the CMA with individuals’ names,” the organisers said in a statement.
Officials would be on the lookout for the so-called ‘park-and-ride gang’ who drove part of the route and ran the rest.
“If you don’t cross all of the (electronic chip timing) mats, we will want to know why,” Fisher said.
The athletes on the list of names they had received would be closely monitored, and technical officials would inspect suspicious split times, while other participants were urged to keep an eye out for cheating.
“If we catch them and they are found guilty, we will name and shame them,” Fisher said.
The 2016 Comrades Marathon, a ‘down’ run between Pietermaritzburg and Durban, will be held on May 29.