ECR Big Walk: Thousands step out to enjoy winter warmth on Durban’s beachfront

2010-05-25 00:00

THEY came in their droves for KwaZulu-Natal’s biggest walk. All shapes, sizes, ages and abilities were part of the East Coast Big Walk held on Durban’s newly refurbished beachfront and sports zone.

Terence Giles from the Wings Club in southern Durban took the lead from the gun in the competitive 20 km route, which crossed over the Umgeni River into Durban North before returning back past the new 2010 stadium to the George Campbell grounds in Brickhill Road. Giles was initially challenged by the Bluff’s Basil Kok, who still looked strong as he approached halfway, but was chased down by Chrispen Jera and Mr Price’s Charikai Madawo.

This duo upped their pace over the final third to secure the minor podium places behind Giles, who took one hour 58 minutes and 59 seconds for the 20 km journey. He was the only walker to dip under the two-hour barrier while Jera got the better of Madawo for second in two hours three minutes and 57 seconds. Madawo was 30 metres off the pace.

Kok had to settle for fourth, but was first in the 50-59 age group, over seven minutes ahead of Graham Ellis, who was second in the age group, with ninth-placed Riaan Craffert the first in the 40-49.

Boxer’s Philipah Chidziva took a more conservative approach to the race, lying in second for much of the first half, but then overtaking Maryna Gray to take the lead and victory in two hours 15 minutes 53 seconds. The experienced Chidziva was also first in the 40-49 category, while Margaret Botes, the Eskom Gijima clubmate of Gray, finished fourth, but first in the 50-59 group. Martha Pait, walking as an independent, took third spot over seven minutes adrift from Gray in two hours 24 minutes and 59 seconds.

While over two hundred walkers completed the distance in under 2:55, there were almost 1 100 walkers finishing the 20 km, while an additional 15 000 recreational walkers were snaked around the four different distances on offer.

This was the seventh hosting of the event, which commenced in 2004 with 1 800 walkers and has grown to match the sort of numbers that Comrades Marathon and the Spar Ladies’ race have attracted in recent years. By far the most popular distance was the 5 km, but the 10 km and 15 km had many out on the road enjoying Durban’s awesome winter warmth.

This year’s race, which was assisted technically by Savages Athletics Club on behalf of KZN Athletics, was technically superior to previous races. A full set of 20 km results will be available in today’s Witness.

Men: 1 Terence Giles Wings 1:58:59, 2 Chrispen Jera IND 2:03:57, 3 Charikai Madawo MrP 2:04:10, 4 Basil Kok Bluff 2:05:35, 5 Graham Ellis IND 2:12:59

Women: 1 Philipah Chidziva Boxer 2:15:53, 2 Maryna Gray Eskom 2:17:00, 3 Martha Pait IND 2:24:59, 4 Margaret Botes Eskom 2:25:47, 5 Dolly Mbangi IND 2:27:04

See list of results, page 6.

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