The road to the 2023 Comrades Marathon officially began today at the launch of the 2023 race and marketing campaign.

Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) Chairperson, Mqondisi Ngcobo unveiled the slogan, “This is it – Ziyasha”, as runners and supporters anticipate the 2023 running of The Ultimate Human Race.

Adding to the occasion, and building on the momentum generated from this year’s race, for three existing partners the road continues, and for one new partner, it’s the beginning of the road less travelled. All deals were concluded by Flash Sponsorship, the exclusive commercial agents to the Comrades Marathon, and Managing Director Richard van der Schyff talks us through the four announcements.

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First up, and joining an exclusive set of partner brands, Deep Heat are heating things up as they come onboard as a Tier 3 partner to the Ultimate Human Race as the Official Race Rub supplier.

“Deep Heat is forever etched in my psyche & one smell of that distinctive scent takes me straight back to the change room preparing for a rugby game. It was also used in the boarding house as a means to create mischief, but less about that for now” he smiled. “To now have Deep Heat as the Official analgesic gel for the Comrades Marathon is one hot partnership, and the alignment of the brands is perfect. Providing a combination of cash & product, Deep Heat is a big brand that fits with the stature of the world’s oldest, largest and most famous ultramarathon, and will be available at the eight Physio stations along the route on race day. I have no doubt the runners will feel the same. Bring on the heat!”.

 

Secondly, and with great delight, Comrades renews its Tier 1 partnership with Mr Price Sport as the Official Sports Apparel partner.

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“Mr Price Sport have been the epitome of a “partner” to the Comrades Marathon standing by the Association during what has arguably been its toughest economic period. Signing on months before Covid-19, the proudly South African and Durban based retailer stepped up to provide runners t-shirts for two virtual Comrades races during the pandemic with limited return on their investment. Until now, finally enjoying the real thing during this year’s race with a significant retail presence at the Expo, a satellite retail store at Comrades House, a refreshment station in Hillcrest & a team of elite runners competing for race honours. To see them commit to a further 3 year partnership speaks volumes about the strength of the Comrades brand and how the property has assisted on delivering value sports apparel & equipment to all South Africans via their network of 163 stores and counting.”

Thirdly, Comrades renews with Southern Sun Hotels as the exclusive Hotel accommodation, conference, venue and hospitality services partner.

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“This is an accolade for the Comrades Marathon as Southern Sun Hotels have come to the party with a full service offering including bed nights, conference facilities and venues. As a major role player in South African sport sponsorships, it is a privilege to conclude such a deal with the group so entrenched & committed to sport. The Comrades prides itself as the most inclusive sporting event in South Africa, and to be welcomed back with open arms by SSH is like coming home.”

And finally, Comrades Marathon have renewed its partnership with Imperial Truck Rental, part of Imperial Logistics a member of the DP World Group of companies, as the exclusive Truck Hire supplier.

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“Some things just make sense: the Imperial Logistics Media Truck at the front of the Comrades Marathon is as synonymous with the race as any of the 5 major hills on the route, take your pick. It’s as simple as that. Providing additional vehicular services to the Ultimate Human Race, Imperial Truck Rental contributes in a meaningful manner ensuring that the Comrades remains the road running race at the top of every runner’s bucket list.
“Today was a great day for the Comrades, its partners, Flash Sponsorship, and most importantly the runners. Support like this speaks to the strength of the Comrades brand as an event of National importance, and this is why the world’s oldest, largest and most famous ultramarathon is able to stage such a world class event for what will be the 96th time in its 101- year history” concluded van der Schyff.

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The 96th Comrades Marathon will be a Down Run on Sunday, 11 June 2023, starting at the inland City of Pietermaritzburg at 05h30 and ending 12 hours later in the coastal City of Durban. Due to the ongoing roadworks, the distance will be approximately 90km. This will be the 48th Comrades Down Run, which is finally on par with the same number of Up Runs.

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