Slave names give runners wings

2016-03-15 06:00
Each of this year’s participants in the Slave Route Challenge will be running for one of the 8000 names of slaves found on the “column of memory” on display at the Iziko Slave Lodge.

Each of this year’s participants in the Slave Route Challenge will be running for one of the 8000 names of slaves found on the “column of memory” on display at the Iziko Slave Lodge.

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This year’s Slave Route Challenge on Sunday 8 May will see participants run the usual scenic route through the city while also giving honour to individual slaves of the Cape’s past.

Each runner will carry one of the 8000 names of slaves who appear on a “column of memory” at the Iziko Slave Lodge in the city centre.

This was announced at the launch of this year’s edition of the race at the museum last week.

Farouk Meyer of Itheko Sport Athletic Club and organiser for the Slave Route Challenge explains runners will have a specific purpose and a special honour in this year’s race, referring to the “column of memory” on which the names of 8000 men, women and children are inscribed.

“This year, every person who registers will run on behalf of one of these names on the column, allowing each runner to honour a specific person who was an important part of our country’s past.”

More than a raceOrganisers say the Slave Route Challenge is more than just a race: it is a tribute to the trials of dispossessed people who contributed to the early development of Cape Town and, as a result, South Africa.

The race route takes runners past several historically significant landmarks, such as the Castle of Good Hope, Grand Parade, the Whipping Post, Old Slave Church, the Iziko Slave Lodge and the Slave Tree Plaque.

“Today the Iziko Slave Lodge is a site of memory – a place of reconciliation and hope. The Slave Route Challenge provides the runners the opportunity to actively engage with this history and to, beyond the race, explore, discover, reflect and reconnect with their roots,” says Paul Tichmann, curator of the Iziko Slave Lodge.

Meyer says this year’s race aims to honour individuals and celebrate the collective history and diversity of both the race entrants and the people they are remembering.

“This takes the race to a whole new level, and personalises it for each runner, while at the same time instilling a sense of unity and meaning – something so critical at this point in time for our country,” says Meyer.

5km to half marathonThe event is presented by Itheko Sport Athletic Club under the auspices of Western Province Athletics. While there is a minor change in the title and logo of the race this year, it still forms part of Metropolitan Life’s mojo series which celebrates the community, and Metropolitan Life remains the race’s main sponsor.

Since the inaugural race in 2011, the annual Slave Route Challenge has consisted of a half marathon and a 10km run, as well as a 5km fun run and walk, and a 10km big walk for those who prefer a more leisurely pace.

The half marathon is scheduled to kick things off at the starting point in Darling Street at 07:00, followed by the 10km run at 07:15, the 5km fun run and walk at 07:30 and the 10km big walk at 07:45.

To enter visit www.iamrunningfor.co.za.


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