Durban - Participants in this year's National Youth Run could stand the chance of winning prizes to the value of over R80 000.
Over R20 000 worth of lucky draw prizes will be awarded to random participants of both the 5km and 10km races.
However, the big prize will once again be offered for schools for their participation in the event. The schools awards include R15 000, R12 000, R10 000, R8 000 and R5 000 prizes up for grabs to the five schools with the most finishing participants.
The Comrades Marathon Association (CMA), in conjunction with KwaZulu-Natal Athletics, will again stage the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sport and Recreation National Youth Run.
The event will be staged on Saturday as a prelude to the 2009 Comrades Marathon.
It consists of a 10km Road Race/Walk and a 5km Fun Run/Walk, aimed primarily at exposing young people to the joys and benefits of running, while also providing the youth with a tangible opportunity to participate in the "Comrades Marathon experience".
The organisers have managed to secure an extremely pleasant venue with a sea-view at Riverside Sports and have put together an attractive and enjoyable route through Durban North suburbs, which takes in occasional glimpses of the sea.
The 10km Race/Walk starts at 9am and the 5km starts at 9:15am, with an official cut-off time of 10:30am for both races.
Entry fees for the event are R10 for the 10km (minimum age 15) and R5 for the 5km (minimum age nine), making it affordable entertainment for the whole family.
CMA stated that while the main focus of the event is on youth, both the 10km and 5km races are open to participants of all ages and present Comrades Marathon runners, walkers and joggers are welcomed to enter.
Aleck Sikhosana from the KwaZulu-Natal Athletics said the Comrades Marathon, by its very nature, is not suitable for young runners, but that does not mean they should not offer them something within the context of the whole Comrades experience.
Mr Skhosana said the National Youth Run would provide an important vehicle towards the achievement of their objectives to increase the number of female runners.
In keeping with the traditions of the Comrades Marathon, official finishers of the National Youth Run will be awarded gold, silver, bronze and copper medals. T-shirts will also be awarded to the first 3 000 finishers of the 10km.