Comrades Marathon Technical Manager, Celi Makhoba, has confirmed that runners are not allowed to run with music in this year’s event.
Makhoba stresses that this is not a Comrades rule, but rather is in accordance with IAAF Competition Rules:
2. Any athlete giving or receiving assistance from within the competition area during an event shall be warned by the Referee and advised that, if there is any repetition, he will be disqualified from that event.
For the purpose of this Rule, the following shall be considered assistance, and are therefore not allowed:
b) Possession or use of video or cassette recorders, radios, CD, radio transmitters, mobile phone or similar devices in the arena.
According to Makhoba, the referee may warn the runner first, but immediate disqualification is possible. The rule is detailed in both the entry form, as well as the final race instruction.
Comrades King Bruce Fordyce has aligned himself with the CMA’s decision:
I agree wholeheartedly with the CMA. Headphones have only one place in my opinion and thats on the treadmill in the gym. On South African roads you need all your senses working for you – and besides which, this is the Comrades. Where’s the camaraderie in cutting yourself off from everyone around you.
What are your thoughts? Will you risk running the race with music?