Covering a distance of 86.96 km between Durban and Pietermaritzburg in the KwaZulu Natal province, the Comrades Marathon is arguably the biggest ultra-marathon in the world, with thousands of runners from around the globe taking to the road each year.
Once again the official vehicle supplier, Toyota will contribute largely to the overall success of the Comrades Marathon, as the title affords the company the platform to effectively display its vehicles in terms of their versatility, quality and durability. Providing vehicle support to the race organisers, Toyota will form an integral part of the event, ensuring that all planning and management duties are completed in good time and ahead of the field.
Adding to this Toyota has supplied Prius hybrid vehicles to act as lead vehicles for the front running male and female runners. As a so-called full hybrid, the Prius emits very little CO2 emissions and no other noxious gasses (NOx), thereby ensuring that the lead runners have little other than clean air to breathe.
Toyota's involvement in athletics is rooted in its on-going support of the Toyota Athletics Club, consisting of a mix of young promising athletes and high profile professionals.
"To Toyota South Africa Motors, the Comrades Marathon is more than just a corporate sponsorship. As a company we are taken by the spirit of hard work of the organisers and even more by the spirit of camaraderie that we see every year amongst the thousands of runners. We are looking forward to this year's event and we wish our colleagues in the Toyota Athletics Club and all the runners of this year's up run the best of luck," says Dr. Johan van Zyl, President and CEO of Toyota South Africa Motors and a Managing Officer of Toyota Motor Corporation.
In its second year as official vehicle supplier to Comrades, Toyota will increase its involvement in the event with well-known coach John Hamlet who has compiled a powerful blend of athletes, set to perform as well as their vehicle counterparts. Three-time Comrade's gold medallist, Lindsay van Aswegen is a huge asset along with 36 year old Julanie Basson, winner of several marathons and ultra-marathons. Another Toyota athlete to watch will be 29 year old Gift Kelehe who placed 14th in last year's Comrades Marathon.
Adding to John's select few are the Toyota Athletics Club members. Some names to watch for this year's event include Peter Mothubi, Lucas Nanyane, William Mokwalakwala, Kheledi Molete, Harmans Mokgadi and Joseph Mphuti. This team is further strengthened with the likes of Tsotang Maine, London Mabapa, Mamorallo Tjoka, Brian Zondi, Sipho Dlamini, Sipho Maisela, Herbert Mazongolo and Tumi Malefetsane.
Wrapping up Team Toyota is Highveld Stereo's weekend DJ, Brad Brown. Having lost over 60kg's in the last year, Brad is an inspiration to his team mates as he sets out to complete the race for the first time.
New to Toyota's Comrades portfolio is the company's title sponsorship of the Toyota redsockfriday UNOGWAJA 2011 - this year in aid of AmaBeadiBeadi. UNOGWAJA 2011 is the journey of four men who will cycle from Cape Town to Pietermaritzburg over ten days (totalling 1730km) before completing the gruelling marathon the following day will run in the Comrades marathon - all to raise money for charity.
The cyclists will be stopping at Toyota dealerships in Kokstad, Montagu, Oudshoorn, Cradock and Graaf Reinet and you can follow their trip on YouTube, the Toyota website or the redsocks website. For more information, visit www.redsockfriday.com.
The AmaBeadiBeadi consists of five charities, namely the Community Chest, Wildlands Trust, Sports Trust, PinkDrive and Starfish; all which benefit from the UNOGWAJA 2011 journey and the AmaBeadiBeadi charity competition, in which one lucky person will win a Toyota Corolla, sponsored by Toyota. Any person who wishes to participate can sms the word "TOYOTA" to 38275. The sms will cost the sender R1.50, which will be donated to the AmaBeadiBeadi charities.
Leveraging their involvement with UNOGWAJA and AmaBeadiBeadi and in celebration of their 50 year anniversary in South Africa, Toyota will be making the last mile the most festive with a line-up of entertainment including performances from three celebrity artists, Slikour, Kwesta and Smakz. Renowned hip hop artist, Slikour, rose to fame with his band Skwatta Kamp and since then has been nominated for two SAMA awards and walked away as the winner of Channel O's Music Award. These artists will be supported by up to 10 000 people who are expected to be at the last mile on the 29th of May.
With DJ's, music and giveaways and a guest appearance from 2009 Idol's runner up Graeme Watkins, there is much to look forward to at the last mile and you don't want to miss out! An adrenalin-bursting event lies ahead and we'll leave it to Toyota to Lead the Way!