The Comrades Marathon has been awarded Gold Label status by the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU).
The accolade is a feather in the cap for The Ultimate Human Race which holds a number of high-profile awards which have all contributed to the event's local and global prestige.
The IAU introduced its own labelling system for qualifying events to ensure that the race route is measured to conform to World Athletics (WA - formerly known as the IAAF) regulations as well as enjoying recognition by its own national athletics federation, being Athletics South Africa.
This effectively means that only athletic performances in IAU labelled races are officially recognised. This is not only important for possible "Best Performances" but also for the calculations of any travel grants distributed at major IAU competitions.
The IAU Labels are certifications granted by the international body to ultradistance races and are categorised according to IAU Gold Label, IAU Silver Label and IAU Bronze Label.
The labels are conferred on IAU ultramarathon races in various categories. In order to qualify for the Gold Label status, the Comrades Marathon had to meet the following criteria:
Race history and performance:
• Gold – the race must have existed for 3 years (3 editions) at least and if not, it must have had an IAU silver label for the previous year.
• Gold and Silver – at least 5 athletes (mixed men and women) performances at international (gold) or national level (silver) in one of the three previous years.
• Gold – the route must be measured by an Official “A” or “B” WA/AIMS measurer following the WA rules (with the Jones Counter).
• Gold and Silver – a technical delegate must be appointed prior to the race, decided between LOC, IAU General Secretary and Area Representative.
• Gold – Anti-doping control has to respect the WA guidelines and the numbers of controls will be discussed with the IAU. Costs are met by the race organisation or the national federation.
CMA Chairperson, Cheryl Winn said, “We are grateful to the IAU for conferring the impressive Gold Label status on the Comrades Marathon. This is indeed an honour and a privilege for the CMA; as well as being a massive show of confidence in the thousands of Comrades members, volunteers and stakeholders who execute a remarkable event year in and year out.”