Getting back into the swing of things

2009-01-16 00:00

ATHLETICS moves into full swing with the first of the 2009 Nedbank road-running series events commencing at 6 am in Tshwane tomorrow.

With over R200 000 in prize money on offer, many of last year’s leaders have entered this fast 21 km race, including defending champion Wirimai Juwawo from Zimbabwe, who covered the course in a useful 64 minutes and 35 seconds, outrunning Hendrik Ramaala by just over a minute.

A large Lesotho contingent of over 20 athletes will focus on taking the spoils back to the mountain kingdom and, with the likes of Mabothile Lebopo, Moeketsi Mosuhli and Lebenya Nkoka running, the South Africans will have their work cut out for them.

The race also provides a good pipe-opener for those preparing for the Durban South African Marathon Championships, which double as a qualifier for the World Championships in Berlin.

Richard Mavuso, Lewis Masunda, George Mofokeng and Enos Matlane are expected to use tomorrow to hone their speed for the Durban event, where they will be representing their provinces.

The women’s race will also be hotly contested, with Thabitha Tsatsa, Sharon Tavenga and Samukeliso Moyo leading the foreign charge against South Africans such as Charne Bosman and Rene Kalmer.

Locally, track and field athletes are back in action tonight for the first of the youth, junior and senior leagues from 5 pm at Kings Park.

This three-hour meeting is the start of the build-up to the Yellow Pages Series, which was launched in Johannesburg yesterday. The six-leg series commences in Potchefstroom next Friday, visiting Tshwane, Port Elizabeth, Stellenbosch and Durban, before the final leg in Germiston on March 6.

The Yellow Pages sponsorship also includes both the SA Senior Track and Field championships in Stellenbosch on March 13 and March 14, and the SA Youth and Junior championships in Tshwane on March 27 and March 28.

Although athletes will be using the whole series to meet the qualifying standards for the World Athletic Championships in Berlin in August and World Youth Championships in Sudtirol, Itay, in July, the two championships are primary selection criteria for the teams.

There are two half-marathons this Sunday, with the Halfway Toyota Scottburgh 21 km commencing from the local country club. There is a generous three-hour cutoff for runners with an additional 30 minutes for walkers.

For the more competitive, there are three cash prizes in each category, including walkers. Entries will be taken at Scottburgh Country Club on Saturday from 2 pm to 6 pm and on the race morning from 4 am. Barry Phillips has more details at 082 955 2526.

Alex Wasps host Sunday’s traditional Alex Wasps two-kilometre run, near the Long Market Girls’ School in Pietermaritzburg.

This circular route has a challenging start, but the running becomes easier as it proceeds through the Pietermaritzburg suburbs. Runners should, however, beware of the leg-shattering, sharp downhill near the 15 km mark.

The race starts at 6 am with a truncated 15 km distance for walkers. Participants can enjoy the use of the swimming pool after the run and the local Moth club normally provides a breakfast.

Entries are taken on Saturday between 4 pm and 5 pm and on race morning from 5 am. A two hour, 45 minute cutoff is applied to both distances. Vic Hydes has more details at 084 982 2048, 033 394 2726 or

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