- Strong team fielded for 2014 event
- Russian twins joining Team Toyota
- Myriad of activations plan around Toyota sponsorship
With nine gold medals already in the bag from the previous four Comrades Marathons, Toyota South Africa’s Athletics Club’s elite runners will be aiming for another successful campaign at the 2014 event, both in the running field as well as off-track activities.
Team Toyota has swelled in its ranks with the inclusion of the Russian twin sisters Elena and Olesya Nurgalieva for this year’s attempt at five golds for the team. The 38-year old twins’ running CV speaks for itself with Elena boasting eight Comrades wins and Olesya achieving the Comrades first place twice over the past decade. In their inaugural race in Toyota colours (the 2014 Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon) the sisters achieved 3rd and 6th position for Team Toyota.
“We are delighted to welcome Elena and Olesya into our team for Comrades and hope for some exciting results from them both in this year’s event,” says Delia Jackson, Senior Manager: Sponsorships at Toyota South Africa. She added that Elena and Olesya will be present at Toyota’s stand at the Comrades Expo (held in Durban Exhibition Centre on Friday preceding race day on 1 June 2014. Also present at Toyota’s expo stand is the all-new Toyota Corolla Quest, the vehicle that is up for grabs as prize in this year’s Amabeadibeadi SMS competition (live draw of winner will take place between 16h00-17h00 on Sunday, 1 June 2014)
While the twin sisters are undoubtedly the ‘biggest guns’ in Toyota’s arsenal for this year’s race; the team’s effort will be further bolstered by former gold medalists Julanie Basson and Lesley Train. In the men’s competition, Team Toyota boasts the inclusion of Stehpen Muzinghi – the only man to win three consecutive comrades marathons from 2009-2011 since Bruce Fordyce’s glory days. He will be joined by, amongst others, the 2013 Comrades podium winners (3rd position), Mpesela Nlotsoeu and former All African Games marathon champion Johannes Kekana.
From an activation perspective, Toyota will again be leading the race with Yaris and Auris hybrid vehicles which will be utilised as lead vehicles and as it has become custom, the ‘last mile’ will be painted in red and white in an attempt to uplift runners’ spirits for the last section of the grueling race before entering the Kingsmead Stadium. This year, Toyota will also present some exciting hand-outs at Polly Shortts, about 10km into the race.
** For Amabeadibeadi SMS competition, the public can SMS the word “Toyota” to 34068 and stand a chance to win the Corolla Quest (valued at R174,900). Each SMS will cost R1.50 and all proceeds will be donated to the associated Amabeadibeadi charities.