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TomTom & New Bus for Comrades Pacesetters

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Leading GPS watch manufacturer TomTom has pledged its support to the Modern Athlete Comrades Pacesetters for the 2017 Comrades Marathon, and another pacing stalwart has come on board to complete the pacing schedule, meaning there will be an official bus every 30 minutes from the sub-8:30 bus all the way through to the sub-12:00 bus.

The 92nd running of the Comrades Marathon will not only once again feature the Modern Athlete Comrades Pacesetters – the only official pacesetters in the race – but this year there will be more buses than ever, and the pacesetters will all be wearing the latest technology from TomTom on their wrists to help them monitor their pace at all times and bring their buses home on time.

Having just signed up as the technical sponsor of the Comrades Pacesetters this week, Chantal Grobler, the Senior Account Manager & Sports Specialist for TomTom South Africa, says “This will be a great partnership for all parties, as the TomTom brand stands for technology and reliability, and we are happy to be supporting the popular pacing buses that so many runners have come to rely on at the Comrades Marathon.”

Echoing her thoughts, Modern Athlete Editor Sean Falconer says, “TomTom has been a regular supporter and partner of our magazine for several years, and we are thrilled to welcome them on board our Comrades Pacsetting Programme as well. These Pacesetters are volunteers who sacrifice their own racing goals in order to help other runners achieve theirs, and any help we can give them in hitting their target times is a priority. Therefore, TomTom’s accurate GPS watches will take away the need to do complicated mental arithmetic during the race to work out when the bus on pace, as the watches will give instant feedback, allowing the Pacesetters to focus on their bus passengers and creating a great vibe in their buses. We’d like to thank TomTom for this important and generous contribution.”

New Sub-10:30 Bus Added
The other breaking news is that regular sub-11:00 Comrades Pacesetter of the last two years, Chris Kubeka, has also come on board once again, agreeing to carry the sub-10:30 flag this year, meaning that the Modern Athlete Comrades Pacesetters will now offer a bus every 30 minutes from 8:30 to the end of the race. This has never been done before, and Sean says he is understandably excited about this year’s programme.

“One of the highlights of the Comrades Marathon is watching the official Pacesetters bring their buses home, followed home by a huge crowd of singing, dancing, crying, high-fiving, fist-pumping, hugging and kissing runners. The buses have become a huge part of the race, and while some runners complain about the huge buses blocking the road and making overtaking difficult, many more love the vibe created in the buses. In past years, Modern Athlete usually organised the standard sub-9:00 Bill Rowan cut-off, sub-11:00 Bronze cut-off, and sub-12:00 Vic Clapham cut-off buses, and in 2016 we added a sub-10:00 bus, which proved just as popular as the more established buses. Now in 2017 we are going even bigger, adding sub-8:30, sub-9:30, sub-10:30 and sub-11:30 buses. It’s really incredible to see so many selfless volunteer Pacesetters willing to help other runners.”

Trusted Pacesetters
The list of Comrades Pacesetters has been co-ordinated by well-known Gauteng Pacesetter Buks van Heerden in conjunction with the Modern Athlete team, and along with a host of newcomers, this year we welcome back many well-known Comrades Pacesetters of previous years. Our volunteer Pacesetters are all experienced pacers with many Comrades medals between them, and some of these guys and girls have built up a dedicated following by carrying the time flags in many races:

Sub-8:30
Sameul Corneluis

16 Medals
2016 – 10:46:21, 2015 – 11:11:28, 2014 – 7:30:39

Sub-9:00
Johan Van Tonder

15 Medals
2016 – 8:54:32, 2015 – 8:54:05, 2014 – 8:56:00

Sub-9:00
Sbusiso Mlangeni
1 Medal
2016 – 9:29:19

Sub-9:30
Claus Kempen
12 Medals
2016 – 8:06:50, 2014 – 8:24:32, 2013 – 8:49:43

Sub-10:00
Linda ‘Coach’ Hlophe

13 Medals
2016 – 9:57:22, 2015 – 10:29:07, 2014 – 10:42:14

Sub-10:00
Maropeng George Mojela

8 Medals
2016 – 7:48:35, 2015 – 8:19:50, 2014 – 8:32:18

Sub-10:30
Chris Khubeka

15 Medals
2016 – 10:51:09, 2015 – 10:47:03, 2013 – 10:44:44

Sub-11:00
Jackie Campher

15 Medals
2016 – 10:53:42, 2015 – 10:45:36, 2014 – 9:45:52

Sub-11:00
Madoko Ndhlovu

12 Medals
2016 – 10:54:21, 2011 – 10:48:33, 2010 – 9:56:14

Sub-11:00
Jeff Ramokoka

18 medals
2016 – 10:51:49, 2015 – 10:45:37, 2014 – 10:42:15

Sub-11:00
Arnold Nkosi

9 Medals
2016 – 10:46:20, 2015 – 10:53:51, 2014 – 11:17:42

Sub-11:30
Charl Whitaker

10 Medals
2016 – 10:49:59, 2015 – 10:47:56, 2014 – 11:20:58

Sub-11:30
Lucas Seleka

10 Medals
2016 – 9:29:07, 2015 – 10:33:22, 2014 – 10:31:48

Sub-11:30
Gerald Pavel

5 Medals
2016 – 10:12:00, 2015 – 10:26:57, 2014 – 9:38:40

Sub-12:00
Buks Van Heerden

15 Medals
2016 – 11:54:24, 2015 – 11:13:19, 2014 – 8:46:08

Sub-12:00
Derrick Rondganger

10 Medals
2016 – 11:53:24, 2015 – 11:56:52, 2014 – 11:53:40

Sub-12:00
Thabile Madube Mathe

8 Medals
2015 – 11:41:06, 2014 – 11:46:20, 2013 – 11:53:48

Sub-12:00
Carolien van Heerden

2 Medals
2016 – 11:54:24

Sub-12:00
Shahieda Thungo

1 Medal
2016 – 11:52:30

Modern Athlete would like to thank all of our Comrades Pacesetters for their incredible spirit and camaraderie, and being willing to take on the responsibility of helping fellow runners. We look forward to welcoming all our buses home on Comrades race day.