This year’s Comrades Marathon was one for the history books, with first time competitor David Gatebe shattering the race record in a time of five hours, 18 minutes and 19 seconds. Imperial Truck Rental once again ensured that the media could tell the world about his achievement, and the agony and ecstasy of more than 20 000 other runners, by supplying trucks to carry the host of local and international media representatives covering the event.
The Imperial Logistics group company is proud of its long association with the world’s oldest and largest ultramarathon, and for the 2016 Comrades, which took place on 29 May, provided two four-ton dropside trucks, reveals Imperial Truck Rental managing director Johnny Wright. “These media trucks are customised for the Comrades. Built specially for the event, they feature special stands to seat the reporters and photographers, as well as exhaust attachments to lift exhaust fumes away from runners’ faces.”
This year’s Comrades Marathon was an 89.2-kilometre downhill run from Pietermaritzburg to Durban. Imperial Truck Rental’s media vehicles followed the front runners, the favourites and front ladies, moving back and forth along the route during the race. Wright explains that because this is a stressful and demanding exercise, each truck is manned by the driver and two assistants. “They must keep a close eye on runners, spectators, the traffic police and media motorbikes at all times. Totally focused and attentive driving is crucial on the Comrades route, and this was highlighted by a near accident this year involving two motorbikes and female race leader at the time, Caroline Wostmann.”
Constant two-way communication via radio between the truck cabs and the press on the back of the trucks is also required, to relay instructions, Wright adds.
The Comrades Marathon has been run every year – with the exception of the war years between 1941 and 1945 – since the inaugural event in May 1921. Imperial Truck Rental’s involvement with the marathon goes back 28 years. “We have driven alongside ultramarathon icons like Bruce Fordyce, Wally Hayward and Frith van der Merwe, and we look forward to continuing our association with this famous race,” Wright concludes.
With over 1 150 vehicles, Imperial Truck Rental has one of the largest fleets on the road, and with 23 branches throughout the country, it has the biggest footprint in South Africa. The company supplies vehicles with or without drivers to all types of industries nationally for any rental period required.
CMA General Manager, Chris Fisher says, “The Comrades Marathon Association is proud of its 28 year partnership with Imperial Truck Rental. The Comrades Media Trucks allow our media to get a first-hand view of the race as it happens. We are grateful to the Imperial Team for their dedication and effort.”