‘Spirit of Comrades’ warm-up run

2009-05-10 00:00

SUNDAY’s Comrades Marathon may attract the attention and present the ultimate challenge for thousands of runners, but the National Youth Run on Saturday is fast becoming a popular event for everyone who aspires to being part of the spirit of Comrades.

Last year’s inaugural event attracted over 3 000 runners into the five- and 10-km distances and a substantially increased field is expected for Saturday’s race from Riverside Sports Ground in Durban North at 9 am.

“We hope to transform the picturesque Durban North into a buzz of activity as athletes are expected to jostle for positions in an effort to snatch the lucrative prize money on offer”, said Weziwe Thusi, the new MEC for Arts Culture Sport and Recreation in one of her first events since taking office.

The department and the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) will bus in hundreds of athletes from as far as Uthrecht, Msinga and Umzimkhulu. The events are open to people of all ages and abilities, but the R61 000 prize money is restricted to the 15- to 19-year-olds in the 10-km distance, of which R50 000 is awarded to the top five schools and the rest to the top performers.

The Youth Run is one of three Comrades projects involving Sport and Recreation sponsorship. An athletes’ village provides pre-race accommodation for 200 KZN runners and a R10 000 prize for the first KZN man and woman across the finish line on Sunday.

The MEC said she has been so motivated by the project that she will be running in Saturday’s five-kilometre event.

The project is a partnership between Sport and Recreation, KZN Athletics, the CMA and the Umsobomvu Youth Fund.

“Running is the most accessible sport and one of the easiest for young people to enter and sustain,” said Malose Kekana, CEO of the Umsobomvu Fund, who will be running his sixth Comrades.

Comrades runner and kwaito star Kabelo is patron of the event and he will present the prizes.

Enter at Comrades Marathon House or at Durban Comrades Expo until Friday at 7 pm. For more details, call 031 312 9374 or visit www.comrades.com.

Read Norrie Williamson’s full story at www.witness.co.za

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