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The Comrades – No turning back!

22 January 2018Gerhard van Emmenis, Bonitas
Gerhard van Emmenis, Principal Officer of Bonitas.

Gerhard van Emmenis, Principal Officer of Bonitas.

On Sunday 10 June, 20 000 runners will gather in the early hours of the morning in Pietermaritzburg for the start of the Comrades Marathon. For those who have entered and qualified for South Africa’s most prestigious ultra-marathon, it will be the culmination of long hours on the road training for this big day. Once that gun is fired they will need strength, determination and guts to tackle the 89km ‘down-run’ to Durban to cross the finish line before the cut-off time at 5.30pm. The Comrades is a race that is known for pushing athletes to their limit, its camaraderie and contribution to charity.

Major sponsor, Bonitas Medical Fund, is again part of the supporting team making sure that pre-race, on the day and post-race assistance and guidance is given to the athletes striving to achieve their goals. Bonitas has been part of the Comrades ‘team’ for over a decade and an integral part of the medical aid schemes’ sponsorship includes the co-ordination and hosting of the countrywide Novice and Woman’s seminars as well as the ‘general training’ Comrades roadshows.

These interactive seminars include tips and advice on training, rest, nutrition, hydration and pacing. Athletes are able to hear from, talk to and ask questions of a panel of experts from fields as diverse as sport psychology, medicine and dietetics. Official Comrades Coach, Lindsey Parry, will also be on hand to provide invaluable advice about the route, the psychology of the race and what to expect at the start and finish.

Bonitas has never wavered in its belief of celebrating ordinary people doing extraordinary things. ‘Completing a Comrades marathon is an achievement and we support and champion these athletes,’ says Gerhard van Emmenis, Principal Officer. ‘As a South African company that promotes quality healthcare the fit with this ultra-marathon is a good one. It gives us the opportunity to talk about making better wellness and lifestyle choices and to encourage people to pursue and achieve their goals.’

‘With the Comrades Marathon 2018 theme being ‘Asijki – No turning back’ we are even more determined to be with the runners every step of the way as they make it to the finish line in Durban..

Cheryl Winn, Chair of the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) says, ‘We continue our quest to stage a memorable ultra-marathon not only for the participating athletes and the spectators along the route but also the millions watching it on television across the globe. It is one of the most inclusive sporting events in South Africa, with a big heart and always gives back to society. That makes us proud.’

‘Our partnership with the Comrades is a long one and we are pleased to have shared the journey with so many athletes and supporters over the years,’ says Van Emmenis. ‘For us it goes beyond the branding and logo rights. It’s about sharing in the passion of the race, celebrating the tenacity of the runners, being part of a legacy that supports true grit and determination as well as a helluva lot of preparation and being able to give back to charity. It’s a winning combination.’

The Comrades Marathon Amabeadibeadi Campaign consists of six official charities, namely: CHOC (Childhood Cancer Foundation South Africa), Community Chest Durban and Pietermaritzburg, Hillcrest Aids Centre Trust, Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa, Wildlands Conservation Trust and World Vision South Africa.

For details of the Bonitas Comrades Roadshows, The Bonitas Comrades Novice Seminars and The Bonitas Comrades Women’s Seminars go to the official Comrades website www.comrades.com or download the Comrades Marathon App.

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