Some of SA’s best to miss championships in Malawi

2010-09-10 00:00

THE Southern Regional Half-marathon championships will be held in Malawi on Sunday, with the South African team at less than optimal strength.

Virtually all southern region countries have confirmed participation in the championships, which is the first time Malawi has hosted a road race. The country has previously only held international cross-country as it does not have a synthetic track.

Athletics South Africa have declared the championships as a final and compulsory test for the selection of the team to the World Half-marathon championships in China in October. But doing so will automatically exclude some of the country’s top performers as the likes of Rene Kalmer and Tanith Maxwell had made alternative commitments long before the introduction of the new selection criteria.

Maxwell had, with the knowledge of ASA, been contracted to last week’s Bristol Half-marathon where she finished second, while Kalmer had focused on achieving Commonwealth Games selection, but with the late criteria in that event being restricted to the top four in the continent, she has missed out on representing the country in both events.

A number of top South African men have also withdrawn in favour of racing in a leading UK 10 km event, and then there is also a clash of date with the SA Cross-country Championships, which have been scheduled for the same weekend.

The Cross-country Championships will be held in Tshwane tomorrow and be competed over a fast course around the University of Pretoria.

Almost 3 000 runners from 17 provinces have entered the championships and they range in age from eight to 80.

The major focus will be on the cream of South African middle-distance running athletes, who are all signing up to claim a stake in the preliminary national squad ASA hope to announce after the conclusion of the event.

This week’s late notification of the KZN team has forced a number of changes to the original 100 athletes and five managers announced this week for tomorrow’s cross-country.

In the team that departs this morning are Mpumelelo Mnyandu, Puselesto Dladla, Zinhle Mtshali, Mbali Mokoena and Ntokozo Mkhize.

Thobani Chagwe, who ran a very good time in the recent 10 km SA Championships in Paarl, will tackle the Junior eight kilometre event.

The women’s age group combinations carry the province’s best hopes of team prizes and individual gold medals.

The largest event of the weekend will be Sunday’s Lifestyle Dolphin Coast Ultra, which includes distances of 50 km, 21,1 km and 10 km. All distances are open to runners and walkers and start from the Lifestyle Centre in Ballito at 6 am.

This year’s course has been changed into the out-and-back format to improve safety, marshalling and refreshment tables. The finish remains at the College grounds below the Lifestyle Centre. For details, call Barry Currin at 082 480 0925

Collegians Harriers host the historic Duke of York (flying) 16 km on Sunday from Boulder Hill through to the clubhouse in Boschoff Street in Pietermaritzburg. A 10 km distance is offered for those looking for a less taxing outing, but both events welcome walkers. The race commences at 7 am and runners are advised to take junction 69 from the N3, turn left to cross the Comrades route at Ashburton Spar and drive five kilometres to Boulder Hill.

Andre Booysen has more information on the race at 082 318 5137

Tomorrow afternoon the Biggarsberg club host their annual Mpati Mountain race, which covers a tough 15 km course from King Edwards Park at 2 pm. Ken Vorster has more details at 082 821 8004

A track and field sub-youth league will be held at Newcastle Primary school tomorrow morning. Mr Grey has more information at 083 225 2582

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