Longest Day race this weekend

2016-08-03 06:00
Quinton Nortje (right) leads Lizette Botha up the ‘hill’ in the Mayor’s Gardens in Alexandra Park, during the 100 Mile (161km) category of the 2015 Capital Classic.PHOTO: jonathan                 burton

Quinton Nortje (right) leads Lizette Botha up the ‘hill’ in the Mayor’s Gardens in Alexandra Park, during the 100 Mile (161km) category of the 2015 Capital Classic.PHOTO: jonathan burton

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FOLLOWING many years during which Collegians Harriers Longest Day carried the flag, circuit racing has made a comeback in KZN. The 21st edition of Longest Day, run on a grass track of 333 metres­ over 12 hours, is being staged at Collegians Club on Saturday, 6 August.

Following the success of the 100 Capital Classic basket of events, which started in 2013 as a 100 mile journey with 50 and 20 mile options, Queensburgh Harriers recently hosted a circuit event on the fields of their school. Pietermaritzburg long distance runner, Deon Stumke (56) rounded off a challenging race, heading a field of 10 runners in the 24-hour category, when he completed 100 miles (161 laps of the one kilometre course), stopping the clock at 22:58 minutes.

After his win, Stumke said he “thoroughly enjoyed the race and will definitely be back next year”. He has been a regular participant in the Longest Day where he has his permanent number.

Circuit racing allows the option of staging many events in one. Leading the field, and raising the bar, annually, in this regard, is the local 100 Capital Classic. Presented on a one- kilometre tar circuit in Alexandra Park, the hosts, Capital Running, offer everything from six hours to six days.

This event has, in three years, provided South African and African Women’s records in both the 24-hour (Hazel Moller) and 48- hour (Melanie Delainey) categories and, in 2015, Johan van der Merwe equalled the South African six-day record of 815km and Kobi Oren set a new Israeli record when winning, with a distance of 818km.

“This equates to more than one and a half Comrades Marathons per day – for six days in a row. Eight of the 10 participants set personal bests of over 300 kilometres,” said John Hall, event organiser and managing director co-sponsor, AG Hall.

“The Capital Classic caters for everyone. The city and well-known local brands, Khaylihle and Blomeyers, have partnered with us to make a beautiful circuit that is runner and walker friendly. We have two six- hour races, during which you can run a Comrades qualifying time (five hours for the marathon distance) or just complete 32km to earn a medal. Other, more challenging distances and times cater for 100km athletes or 12 hour day and 12 hour night races. Then, of course, we have the big ones. 100 miles (161km), 24 hours, 48 hours and 6 Days.” said Hall.

Six-day racing stems from the 19th century when gambling on the athletes in these events was popular.

The 100 Capital Classic, which places this city firmly among the leaders in ultra distance events, takes place from 16 to 24 September. For more information and to secure one of the limited entries visit www.100cc.co.za or email John Hall at john@aghall.co.za For information, contact Les Burnard at 082 336 7244. - Supplied.

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