It’s the announcement we’ve all been waiting for…
…when and how can you enter the 2023 Comrades Marathon.
Entries for the 2023 Comrades Marathon open on Tuesday, 22 November 2022 and the number of entries will be capped at 20 000, There will only be one entry window for the 2023 edition of the Ultimate Human race and the window will close at 4:30pm on Friday 9 December 2022, or when the entry cap of 20 000 runners has been reached.
The 2023 edition of the Comrades Marathon is also the last chance for any international runners who deferred their 2020 entry due to the Covid-19 pandemic to use their entry.
Let’s dive into what this actually means…
You will only have one opportunity to enter the 2023 Comrades Marathon. You’ll need to make sure you enter the race before 4:30pm on Friday 9 December 2022. Our advice would be to enter sooner rather than later because there are only 20 000 entries available for the race in 2023 and if past years are anything to go by, those 20 000 entries will sell out long before 9 December 2022.
The Impact of Covid 19 on Comrades Entries in 2023
If you are an international runner who entered the race in 2020 but was unable to take part due to the race being canceled as a result of Covid 19 pandemic, 2023 is the last opportunity you have to use your deferred entry. After the 2023 Comrades Marathon, those deferred entries will be obsolete.
Let’s now dig into how much it will cost to enter the 2023 Comrades Marathon…
How much does it cost to enter Comrades?
In 2022 there was a substantial increase in the cost of an entry due to a number of factors that the Comrades Marathon Association outlined across various media channels. The CMA has announced that they are not increasing the cost of entries for the 2023 running of Comrades.
For South African runners, the entry fee is R1 200. For athletes who reside outside of the African continent, outside of South Africa, the entry fee is R2 000 while for International runners an entry will cost R4 000.
For the first time, the Comrades Marathon Association are allowing runners to pay their entry fee in 2 installments. Upon entering you can pay 50% of your entry fee upfront and then you would need to pay the remaining 50% by 28 February 2023 in order to secure your entry.
If you deferred your 2020 entry to 2023, you will not have to pay any additional entry fees.
If you are one of those incredible Comrades runners that have successfully finished 25 or more Comrades Marathons, then entry to the 2023 Comrades Marathon is free.
As always all Comrades entry fees are non-refundable.
How to enter the 2023 Comrades Marathon
There is only one way to enter the 2023 Comrades Marathon and that is online. You can do it either on the Comrades website or via the Comrades Marathon app.
Unlike in previous years, you will NOT be able to post or hand deliver your entry to the Comrades Marathon Association.
If you choose to enter the 2023 Comrades Marathon online, you’ll need a debit card, credit card, or visa/MasterCard in order to pay for your entry.
You can enter online by going to comrades.com or by downloading the Comrades App.
Online entries for the 2023 Comrades Marathon officially opened on Tuesday 22 November 2022.
Do you have to belong to a running club to enter the Comrades Marathon?
You don’t need to be a member of a running club at the time of entering the Comrades Marathon, but if you are a South African you will need to be a member of a running club in order to run the Comrades Marathon.
You will also need to be a member of a running club which also has to be in the province in which you reside. So, for example, if you live in Gauteng you need to be a member of a running club in Gauteng.
If you fail to stick to the domicile rule your entry into Comrades will be rejected (unless you are registered on the current ASA National List)
You will also need to have a 2023 license in order to run the Comrades Marathon.
You obviously won’t have your 2023 license when entries open, so you will be able to enter Comrades without it, but you will need to update your 2023 license details, as well as your qualifying race and time on, or before 2 May 2023.
How do 2023 Comrades Marathon substitutions work?
Comrades have yet to announce if there will be substitutions in 2023.
In the past the substitution period allowed you to potentially get your hands on an entry if you missed out in the initial Comrades entry period. All Comrades entry criteria as mentioned before will apply and no late substitutions are accepted.
Now to the Comrades substitution nitty gritty and how it has worked in the past…
The Comrades Marathon Association handles the substitution process.
That means there will be no more horse-trading for entries and money-changing hands that shouldn’t be changing hands.
If after entering Comrades, you are not going to be able to run for whatever reason, you will then be able to place your entry up for substitution. Comrades will then refund you your entry fee (minus a 15% admin fee).
Those substituted entries will then go back into the ‘entry pool’ where runners who missed out on an entry in the first entry window can enter in the substitution window. There will however be an R200 admin fee added on top of the existing Comrades entry fee.
Another big change with regards to the substitutions, because of the change outlined above, is “like for like” substitutions are no longer necessary.
In the past, if you were a South African runner you could only substitute with another South African runner for example, but that is no longer the case. It seems all substitutions are created equal after all 🙂
Entering Comrades as an international runner
As a runner the is from outside the borders of South Africa, a special set of rules and guidelines to enter and run Comrades applies.
As an international Comrades runner, you will need to read and be familiar with IAAF rule 4 and ASA rule 9.
You will note from those rules, that if you are planning to run the Comrades Marathon in 2023 you will need written approval (also known as a permit) from your National Federation…
…BUT and it’s a big but, those rules will only come into play if you are in contention for a category prize.
That means the vast majority of international Comrades runners who simply want to experience the Ultimate Human Race DO NOT need a clearance letter.
If you as a foreign athlete are registered through a South African club, it is the responsibility of the club to assist you in securing the permit and make sure the race organizers get hold of it before race day.
If your paperwork as a foreign runner is not in order, the Comrades Marathon Association has the right to reject any foreign entry which is deemed to be in violation of IAAF rule 4 and ASA rule 9.
So in summary, if you’re an international runner chasing prize money or a category prize, you MUST HAVE a clearance certificate from your federation. If you’re not, then you are fine without it.