Sea of change for runners

2014-08-30 00:00

THE running arm of Martin Dreyer’s Computershare Change A Life Academy made a big impression at the recent 14 km Sandy Beach Run from Umhlanga to Suncoast as 10 runners clinched top 20 places.

John Ntuli, who also coaches the RMB Change A Life Academy mountain bike team, finished second while young team-mate Sanele Maphumelo was third.

The race was special for many of the team as it was the first event they’d taken part in outside of the Valley of a Thousand Hills. For others, it was a first ever glimpse of the ocean.

“With the Change A Life runners still novices, the buzz at the start of the Sandy made ‘butterflies’ in our runners’ stomachs do flick flacks,” described Dreyer. “Some of our Change A Life ­Zulus hadn’t ever seen the ocean before so what an experience running along the beach for 14 km was for them.”

Started as a canoeing programme built on Dreyer’s sublime paddling career in which he won the iconic Dusi and Non Stop Dusi Canoe Marathons seven times respectively, the Change a Life operation has since branched out into running and mountain biking.

“We got the running side of things under way about four years ago and it has been a fascinating journey,” said Dreyer. “Initially we identified nine schools in and around Nagle Dam and, once we had the buy-in from the headmasters, we started mapping out courses on which we could host a weekly cross country race at each school.

“Our paddlers were the co-ordinators of the weekly races at the various schools and they would record the times of the top 50 finishers each week. We started to identify talent at each school. At the end of each term, we hosted an inter-schools cross country race where the top 10 runners from each school competed.” ‎

The programme’s popularity saw it reach 18 schools in 2013.

“With there being more schools last year it was quite tough to organise 18 separate races every week so this year we decided to host four centrally located races weekly that the school runners can attend.”

It is from this schools’ programme that Dreyer’s 10-strong Change A Life team were born.

“Kwanda Mhlophe, one of our original paddlers and a very strong runner, is our running co-ordinator and he ensures the guys, organises various schools races, gets the running team training and lots more,” said Dreyer.

“Being between 16 and 20 years old, the team are still young and new to the racing scene. They’re developing with every race they compete in and hopefully we can start seeing them compete in some of the bigger races.

“For now, the smaller weekend trail running events and colourful events such as the Sandy are helping them grow tremendously,” said Dreyer.


(Beach Run 14 km)

2 - John Ntuli 55.40

3 - Joe Maphumelo 56.10

5 - Siyabonga Ngcongo 57.41

6 - Noyo Ngubo 57.50

8 - Mxolisi Zondi 58.15

10 - Nathi Mdluli 58.42

13 - Thobani Nzuza 59.43

17 - Mthobisi Mzolo 1:00:44

18 - Lungelo Mkhasibe 1:01:10

19 - Kwanda Mhlophe 1:02:13.

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