The Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) has announced that two Top 10 finishers in the 2015 Comrades Marathon Men’s Race have been suspended. CMA Race Director, Rowyn James has advised that Joseph Mphuthi and Sandile Ngunuza who claimed the sixth and ninth positions respectively at last year’s Comrades Marathon have been suspended by the national drug testing authority, the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS). This is with immediate effect for two years.
Accordingly, they will not be allowed to participate in the Comrades Marathon until completion of their suspensions. This ruling comes in the wake of a powerful warning to potential cheats recently issued by CMA General Manager, Chris Fisher. Fisher issued a cautionary notice to all runners, saying that the issue of alleged cheating will be vigorously addressed.
Provincial athletics body, KwaZulu-Natal Athletics (KZNA) has agreed to partner with the CMA to put an end to the unsportsmanlike conduct. The two organisations are collaborating and will make use of additional technologies to highlight irregularities in future Comrades Marathons. The CMA has stated that other forms of cheating, including supplying false information or not running the full race distance will in future be dealt with in a similar fashion by the KZNA Disciplinary Committee.
Fisher said that race officials, marshals, volunteers and nearly twenty thousand runners will all be encouraged to be on the lookout to expose any cheats at this year’s Comrades Marathon on Sunday, 29 May 2016. The CMA has further advised that it, together with KZNA reserve the right to request that the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport implements blood tests as opposed to urine tests, where deemed necessary. The 91st Comrades Marathon will be the 45th down-run in Comrades history, starting outside the Pietermaritzburg City Hall at 05:30 and finishing 12 hours later at the Kingsmead Cricket Stadium.