Winn blocked by CMA losers


On Friday, Comrades Race Director, Rowyn James was quoted as being “adamant that both he and organisers were always open to comment, both positive and negative.” He failed rhis test on Monday morning.

Just how does James respond to criticism from Cheryl Winn, the matriarch of Comrades? Shortly after posting the image below on her Facebook and Instagram accounts, Winn was blocked from accessing her Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) account.

Cheryl Winn’s personal Facebook comment on last night’s Carte Blanche expose on the Comrades cutoff controversy. Her access to her CMA account was blocked immediately thereafter.

After Carte Blanche aired their segment on the Comrades cutoff controversy, Cheryl Winn was distraught with the brazen lack of accountability and flippant attitude displayed by the Comrades Race Director. Winn, who is a former race winner (1982), Chairperson (2018-21) and Vice-Chairperson (2014-17) of the CMA, had been waiting for official comment from CMA before making any personal remarks on social media. She was expecting an “abject apology” and that the CMA “would to the right thing.” Sadly, like most in the running community, she was let down.

Winn, whose late husband Mick was the founding Chairman of the CMA, says, “It blows my mind. I never thought I would see the day I would be proud NOT to be on the CMA Board.” Although she feels there are still some honourable people on the Board, it appears that after an emergency meeting last week, the Board has given their full support to James.

Winn elaborates, “There seems to be no comprehension whatsoever or acceptance of responsibility for having ‘robbed’ hundreds of passionate people of their dreams, money and sacrifices.”

Winn’s view of James’ interview on Carte Blanche, “A half-hearted apology for the ‘jogger’ remark but no responsibility whatsoever for the unconscionable error that cost hundreds of runners thousands of Rands and destroyed their dreams”.

Rowyn James might think, “It’s all water under the bridge” but I doubt this sentiment is shared outside of his CMA cronies and close circle of friends. If there are still honourable women and men on the CMA Board, it’s time to make yourself known.

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7 Replies to “Winn blocked by CMA losers”

  1. They live in a tower far away from reality…no concept of accountability nor remorse…Absolutely power corrupts…I wonder what sponsors think

  2. It’s time for those of us who are paid up members of the CMA to stand up and be counted! James may be accountable to the Board, but the Board is accountable to us, the members. The time has now passed to be engaging with James – perhaps a petition of members should be sent to the Board seeking, at the very least, the censure of James for his inept handling of this matter (contrary to everything the spirit of the Comrades Marathon espouses) and a full and unconditional apology to the runners, whose medals were taken from them, and to the sponsors and advertisers who were let down by the “damp squib” that was the end of Comrades this year. Failure to do so should elicit a Special General Meeting or an appropriate reaction at the Annual General Meeting (I will be seeking a copy of the Constitution in this regard). Relating to my assertion, “inept handling”, I am not referring to the actual errors made on the day – although inexcusable, they cannot now be undone. I am referring to James’ failure as Race Director to put his hand up, take responsibility and accountability for what went wrong and provide the assurance that measure will be taken to ensure that it never happens again. To the extent that he has said anything, he has simply made it worse for the image of the CMA. I would encourage all readers of this blog to go to and to read what is contained on that page. In essence, what is stated there makes the case for James to answer – read especially “Our Vision”, “Our Mission”, “Our Purpose” (especially, “is comprised of a race for competitive athletes that is also an accessible, inspirational and attainable challenge for otherwise ordinary individuals”), “Our Driving Philosophy” and then below “Accountability”, “Dignity and Respect” (especially the reference to, “The manner of treatment or care, that ethically supports and promotes, and does not undermine, a person’s inherent humanity and self-worth, regardless of any difference)”, though all of this text is of importance.

  3. It looks like Rowyn James has painted himself into a corner, and no amount of spin is going to get him out of it. Blocking the accounts of anyone who has the temerity to question his decisions will only serve to increase his isolation, and no amount of spin is going to change the proven fact that he messed up badly, where had he taken well meant and well intended advice, not only would he have succeeded in producing a good run on Comrades day, but also would have taken most of the credit for it. I would imagine that in private he is feeling highly embarrassed, but his mile high ego won’t let him admit it to himself. Rowyn, you may have done a good job in the past, but organising an event like Comrades is a team business. If you are no longer a team player, then it time for you to stand down because no one will want to work with you.

  4. Here is my take on this year’s Comrades mishaps

    1) Hollywood Bets – Personal but I have to mention it
    Running with a Hollywood Bets number, as an advertising board for all to see, where I personally see betting as a sin. Yet, I have to run with the number. Who is placing what bets with regard to cut-off points, and number of runners finishing at the 12th hour?

    2) Major Sponsor – Mr. Price
    Comrades is all about the Comradery. Athletic clubs arrange go-away parties, support crews, etc. in spirit of the comrades. Recently ASA had threaten clubs that they are not allowed to provide durable Comrades branded items to athletes completing in Comrades and that clubs have to buy sub-standard Mr. Price goods, where stitching become loose after and sizes grow bigger after a few washes, rendering the items useless after a half a year. Yet, after you finish the Comrades, you get handed a Comrades logo. Now you can’t probably use that on your clothing as well. Maybe CMA is trying to cut budgets, and with this threat, they will not hand these logo’s out next year, because what is the use of it anymore?

    3) SuperSport
    ASA signing with SuperSport as official broadcaster of Comrades, taking away the pleasure of watching Comrades away from most in South Africa, which can not afford premium DSTV packages or data to stream the Ultimate Human Race. Going the same way as Cricket and Rugby in South Africa, where transformation is forced at top level, because South African kids can’t watch the sports through out his childhood, stirring and creating the anxiety when still a toddler. All Comrades runners didn’t just run the Comrades, they 1st watched it on accessible Television, not once, a couple of times. Now that is gone as well. SuperSport does provide much more opportunity and viewing experience, and someone is getting a lot of money for it, by all means do it, but what ever happened to delay broadcast?

    4) Wrong Shirt Sizes
    Not saying anything except stating the obvious.

    5) Running out of various Medals on Race Day
    How do we try to limit people for getting medals, that they deserve, but budget cuts does not allow it. Lets do ridiculous cut-off times.

    6) Pietermaritzburg start – Seeding Disaster
    Runners was forced to move all the way back and enter from the H block and to walk on the sidewalk to the seeding batch. Great thought, but please inform the runners before hand. Don’t let them get to the estimated batch from a side street, only to find out you need to walk around a couple of blocks to enter at the back. Some runners eventually pushed the barriers over, to try to get in the seeding batch on time. This obviously didn’t go well the the ones that didn’t understand this and a stampede followed.

    7) Pietermaritzburg – Sound Disaster
    Budget Cuts?

    8) Pietermaritzburg – Route delays
    Going through Epworth (if that is the suburb’s name) back roads caused unnecessary delays and twisted ankles.

    9) Comrades for the elite-, runners, not the joggers
    Well done to all the elite runners. Those who broke the records, those who did personal bests, and those inspiring the select few kids that does have the opportunity to watch Comrades. I take nothing away from the elites runners. The same also go to all the other runners, that did personal bests for a down run and Comrades finishes. This possibly the best chance anyone had in getting a medal for finishing in a higher timeslot. For the ‘joggers’ out there, that would have finished, without a doubt. Well done to you, even if you didn’t make it past Pinetown and Sherwood. My heart goes out to all who lost out on 1st Medal, Back-2-back, Green number and other special occasions and celebrations. That include the time on the road, where you could have been with our family, training, preparing for the Comrades.

    10) No Hero’s
    Ladies and Gentlemen, it is now the last couple of minutes of the Comrades, please remain calm and do not block any of the last bunch of runners going to try to make the finish before 17:30. Wait, what??? I think enough was said about this, and Legend Bruce Fordyce said it all in his silence when the shot was fired.

    11) Cut-off times
    I do think Comrades should have cut-off times, cut-off times that are to save the runners that will never make it on time to the finish. Cut-off should not be used for CMA’s personal gain and with an abuse of power.

    12) Traffic on the routes
    Just mentioning, but there was a lot of official vehicles blocking the roads closed to Drummond and the end. Does not help runners try to stick to one side of the road, since the vehicles are everywhere.

    13) Personal support at Start and End
    I understand that Pietermaritzburg start, Kingsmead is a logistical nightmare for the Comrades, but I do think more could be done to let my kids be able to experience the start and the end of a Comrades. No spectators are allowed at the Pietermaritzburg start and there was no use going into Kingsmead stadium for spectators. The best place was just outside Kingsmead stadium. Kingsmead big screen was used for advertisement, and should have been at least used to show a feed of the Comrades. Maybe it is was in breach of the broadcasting agreement, where no ordinary South African citizen are allowed to watch it.

    14) CMA behavior in response and valuable remarks coming their ways.
    Let’s block everyone’s voice everywhere we can, delay until the topic disappears and in the meantime start a commission of inquiry. Where have we seen this before?

    There was a lot of good in the Comrades routes as well, plenty of waterpoints, plenty of medical facilities, plenty of support. Let just say, after Epworth and between 1km before and after each cut-off’s everything very well organized.

    Anyway, enough said and sorry for the long read, if you made it thus far with all my grammar and spelling mistakes.

    I was looking at Mr. Price online store for a while now. I can’t find an official Mr. Price BLACK armband with the Comrades logo on it. This I will wear during next year run (inspired by the legend himself), but with the Comrades logo upside down. To morn the loss of the greatest race and comradery that was part of this year’s Comrades.

  5. All your points are well put.
    Comrades Marathon is for every person who has the ability to train and build up for the race.
    We are all winners just by finishi ng in the race.
    The attitude from the race director is shocking and shows no understanding of the true Comrades ethic.
    Runniing in the race changed the lives and mindset of thousands of people.

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