City of Choice to lose half marathon

2012-01-04 00:00

DESPITE the undertakings made one year ago Pietermaritzburg is set to lose road races and the valuable boost to local commerce as Alex Wasps have announced the cancellation of their half marathon on January 15.

Following a Witness article a year ago, where it was shown that local commerce benefited from millions of rands through the club road races, the then mayor, Mike Tarr, undertook to address the cost of supplying traffic officers and other issues affecting the hosting of road running in the city.

At the launch of The Witness Marathon­ last year both he and Aleck Skhosana, the embattled president of KwaZulu-Natal Athletics, made a point of stating that they had agreed on action to be taken and yet Vic Hydes, the race organiser, finds that nothing has changed.

“I sent all the [application] paperwork in some time ago, but never heard anything from the Traffic department,” said Hydes yesterday. “Eventually I took a day off work in December to try to sort everything out. When I arrived at the offices I was told that they had been waiting for me to come in. How was I to know this?”

Hydes had tried to seek assistance from KZN Athletics, but with that office closing in mid-December and only opening next week there is little that could be done.

Over 130 clubs have called on Skhosana and his executive to resign.

The next events listed for the City of Choice have been reduced to: The Weekend Witness Maritzburg Marathon (February 26), Comrades (June 3) and the Longest Day at Collegians Club at the end of July.

Many South African athletes and coaches were shocked to hear of the death of UK and international coach Frank Horwill on January 1.

Horwill (84) was the founder of the British Milers’ Club and formulated the five pace training theory which is widely used for coaching middle-distance runners, including multiple world record holder Sebastian Coe who heads the 2012 London Olympic committee.

Horwill was a regular visitor to South Africa conducting coaching seminars and courses around the country including Durban where he left a lasting impression.

Many South Africans runners travelling to London would link up with Horwill at Battersea Park track where he held sessions most Tuesday and Thursday nights.

The only race this weekend is the Moffatt Optical Ronnie Davel memorial commencing at Laddsworth School in Hilton.

This is the first event of the new year and is sure to attract a large field for the 7 am start.

The event, which was first held in 1979, is run in memory of the former Hilton Harriers club member who died from a heart attack. The course utilises the Mondi forestry roads and mixes road with trail surfaces.

There is a special award to the club with the most participants. Lucky draw prizes will be distributed through the field and for those who enter the associated five-kilometre fun run.

Entries will be taken on Saturday from 2 pm to 5 pm and on race morning from 5.30 am to 6.45 am. Walkers are welcome and a three-hour cut-off limit is applied.

For more information, contact Gill Bure at 082 772 9310.

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