Russian coach's run vs. the Comrades Marathon
13.03.2018 — News
Oleg Kharitonov (Russia) promised to run 40 kilometers almost every day from March 4 through September 18, 2018. Runs will take place in cities of Russia, South Africa, Great Britain, the United States, and Turkey.
When walking in New York City’s Central Park or along the Thames Embankment, don’t be surprised if you see a man in a T-shirt or a jacket bearing the message: "Give the prize money to a Russian girl!" It is him – the track and field coach from Ekaterinburg.
Kharitonov’s idea of the monthlong run was prompted by the organizers of the Comrades ultramarathon (South Africa). In June 2017, Alexandra Morozova, one of Kharitonov’s student-athletes, came in second in the famous race. She covered the 85-kilometer distance between the cities of Durban and Pietermaritzburg in 6.5 hours. Alexandra was to receive around $18,000 as prize money. However, no money has been transferred to the runner’s account within the last 9 months.
Oleg Kharitonov told a RusBusinessNews reporter that the Comrades administration used various pretexts to avoid fulfilling their obligations. For example, in one of their last letters they refer to the absence of the respective directive from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
The Comrades Rules and Regulations do not have special requirements for Russian runners. However, they do exist, as stated by Alexander Golovin, a Master of Sports, a participant of the 2017 marathon.
In his letters to Alexander Golovin, Rowyn James, the race director, refers to the "guidelines" from the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS), stating that Russian amateur runners … are not eligible for awards!
Note that Alexandra Morozova is not a member of the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF), which was suspended in 2015 after the doping scandal. Her non-membership is supported by the official letter submitted by the Russian amateur runners for registration for the Comrades Marathon. The girl trains in her free time between her work and looking after her ill mother.
Tired of the monthslong useless correspondence, Oleg Kharitonov embarked on his marathon, aiming to draw attention to the arbitrary decisions of the Comrades administration. He started his run in snow-covered Ekaterinburg, in 20 degrees below zero.
During his 40-kilometer runs, the coach intends to collect money for taking legal action against Comrades organizers. Anyone can join Kharitonov after donating 200 rubles for the right to participate in the unprecedented intercontinental protest run.
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