Excellent earnings await top SA runners abroad

2010-08-13 00:00

SOUTH Africa’s leading short distance athletes will be in action in Paarl tomorrow morning for the second of the SA 2010 road running championships. The 10 km event, which had previously been held in Stellenbosch, has been moved to a new route in Paarl and will be sponsored by the National Lottery.

Kwazulu-Natal is sending a team of 13 athletes, with the best chances for medals coming from Thobani Chagwe in the Junior Men, while among the women, individual and team awards are possible.

The full KZN team is:

Senior Men: Siyabonga Nkonde

50-59 Nicholas Dlamini

Juniors: Thobani Chagwe: Sithabiso Mkhize

Senior Ladies: Tanith Maxwell, Cary Ann Smith, Makhosi Mhlongo, Daniella Adlam

40-59 Grace De Oliveria, Lise Muncha

50-59 Ann Weeden

Juniors: Puseletso Dladla, Mpumelelo Mnyandu

Tanith Maxwell could well set a new personal best of 33 or 34 minutes as she completes her final preparation for her trip to Europe at the end of the month.

The Boxer athlete will be competing in the Bristol Half-marathon and then three weeks later the Berlin Marathon where she will be hoping to get down towards a two hour, 30- minute barrier.

With back-up from Cary Ann Smith, Makhosi Mhlongo and Daniella Adlam, there is potential for the quartet to repeat their team medals of last year. Similarly, the trio headed by Grace de Oliveira in the age group team will have everything to run for and could easily make the podium.

Even more positive is the identification of both male and female juniors, which provides hope for the future of the sport. Indeed the selection of the juniors proved quite challenging for selectors who seemed to have a glut of upcoming talent.

The current unsettled state of the sport, which remains under interim administration, continues to impact negatively on events. It is understood from Gauteng North officials that Stephen Mokoko, arguably the country’s most talented distance athlete and 2009 10 km champion, will not be defending his title as a result of late notification of selection and omission from the SA team to the African Championships.

Those athletes who do go and are able to perform well can earn excellent incentive money if they make the world’s top 50 ranking (based on 2009 times), or set a new South African 10 km record, but the route change is likely to make that a bigger challenge as the runners learn the route for the first time this year.

Back in the province, the annual Witness Capital Climb starts from the Pietermaritzburg City Hall at 8 am tomorrow . This is one of the most strenuous 15 km mountain race-type events on the KZN calendar. While it is well within the reach of the well- conditioned club runners, it also attracts a large field of recreational and temporary licensed runners who are advised to ensure they take it in a more leisurely fashion. There is also an age restriction on both the five-kilo­metre fun run (nine years and older ) and the 15 km distance, which takes runners up and past the aerial at World’s View.

The referees and organisers have been given instructions to apply age limits strictly, and under the new Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Act, they risk the future of the event should they fail in this regard.

That said, the scenery along the route and views from the top make these very special events for the runners. There are prizes for the first male and female runners to the top and the usual prize money for the top performers to the finish.

Temporary licences will be on sale for all non-club runners who opt for the 15 km distance.

Tony Morrison has more details about the race and number collection at 083 3749 502

The kwaMashu 15 km challenge will be held from the Princess Magogo stadium on Sunday starting at 6 am. This is a hilly and challenging course around one of the country’s biggest and most historic townships. The event is full of character and gains great community support. More details are available at 083 7068 150.

The next leg of the Sports Zone/ Brooks Time Trial League will be held on Thursday, August 19, at Lahee Park. Pinetown and Districts host this league event. Piet Vorster has more details at 071 6783 563.

Today is the closing date for entries for the final Midlands 100 mile race to be held between Winterton and Pietermaritzburg on Friday, August 27. The race has a 26-hour cut-off, challenging runners on the downhill route to the City of Choice.

Major climbs include the infamous Griffins Hill and the long climb up to Rosetta from Mooi River. One of the most vicious is the final climb up to Hilton before the tortuous tumble down into the sleepy hollow.

More information on the race and entries is available from John Hall at 082 491 7679

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