The Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) has announced that more than R4.5-million has been raised for charitable causes off its 2016 Comrades platform this year.

CMA General Manager, Chris Fisher said, “We are pleased with the successes achieved by our charities this year and are proud to hand over the funds raised to these six official Comrades charities today.”

The organisations that benefit from the CMA’s charity drive are the Durban & Pietermaritzburg Community Chests, PinkDrive, Sports Trust, Starfish, Wildlands and World Vision, who through the Comrades Marathon fundraising platform and their own efforts, raised in excess of R4.5 million.

The Comrades charity initiative started in 1999 as a means of giving back to South Africa’s needy and to improve the social and environmental landscape. More than R24-million has been raised over the past 10 years.

572 runners signed up for the Race4Charity drive this year, of which 329 runners raised more than R5000 and qualified to start in the Charity Seeding Batch.

For the second year running, the Top Charity Fundraiser was Carel Nolte who raised more than R170-thousand for PinkDrive. He will be officially acknowledged for his sterling efforts at the 2016 Old Mutual Spirit of Comrades Awards in October.

CMA Vice Chairperson, Cheryl Winn says, ‘We thank every runner who so selflessly worked towards the benefit of our charities. Training for the ultra-marathon is hard enough, let alone to go out there and drum up support for our fundraising initiatives. We are very grateful to each of you.’

CMA Board Member and Head of the CMA’s CSI Committee, Alen Hattingh says, ‘As the Comrades Marathon, we pride ourselves on doing more for our charity drive as well as for the local community via our CSI Programme.’

Hattingh adds, ‘The CMA has undertaken several projects in this regard, namely: the annual Greater Edendale Race incorporating the AIMS Children’s Series Race, the KZNA Relay Challenge, the Underprivileged Runners Programme, building an outdoor gym in Pietermaritzburg as well as committing to our Staff’s CSI initiatives. It is deeply fulfilling to be involved in any such way to engage with and empower our communities.’