Nantes to host fourth annual Unity Race

2019-09-10 06:00
Nantes Athletics Club launched their fourth annual road race to take place on Heritage Day (Tuesday 24 September) at the Vangate sport complex on Thursday 5 September. Here are, from left: Lester Cameron (Western Province Athletics president), Nadia Gamieldien (Nantes AC marketing manager) and race director Leon Hendricks.PHOTO: Rashied Isaacs

Nantes Athletics Club launched their fourth annual road race to take place on Heritage Day (Tuesday 24 September) at the Vangate sport complex on Thursday 5 September. Here are, from left: Lester Cameron (Western Province Athletics president), Nadia Gamieldien (Nantes AC marketing manager) and race director Leon Hendricks.PHOTO: Rashied Isaacs

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Nantes Athletics Club (AC) in Bridgetown, is encouraging Capetonians to join the club’s annual race at the Vangate sport complex on Tuesday 24 September, before indulging in their respective Heritage Day braais later in the day. This year’s race is set to be more impactful, not only to celebrate South Africa’s melting pot of cultures, but to take a stand against gender-based violence in communities as well.

The running club’s fourth race is set to be bigger and better than last year, with organisers working tirelessly to top the club’s previous races.

The club’s pre-race media launch took place at the Vangate sport complex on Thursday 5 September, giving members and the media a taste of what to expect on race day. “Our vision is that of a greener, brighter future. We want to dedicate this race to the women and children who have lost their lives through brutality, and take a stand,” says Nantes AC’s chairperson, Errol Poggenpoel.

Cassiem Mohamed, affectionately known as Boeta Cassiem, a running coach at the club, is excited for the race as it brings people together – especially during a difficult period for many communities.

“I’m excited about the race since it’s a means to unite communities. More individuals should participate in sports because it’s a good outlet for any negativity, stress and violence,” he said.

Mohamed, a 64-year-old prostate cancer survivor, highlighted the importance of finding something enjoyable that allows you to be consistent in keeping fit.

“If there is no enjoyment, people won’t come back. There are too many people in the community who believe that if they have diabetes or high blood, they can’t exercise. Regular exercise will benefit them a lot,” he added.

The running club takes the safety of its club members seriously, especially during training. According to the race director Leon Hendricks, for the Nantes AC Unity Race, the club worked closely with the City to ensure compliance for all safety protocols. “For the race, we have hired private security and we are fortunate enough to have neighbourhood watch volunteers come on board. We will also have the support of the police on race day and we have made safety a top priority,” he said.

Nadia Gamieldien, the club’s marketing manager, boasted a zero budget for the promotion of the race. In spite of this, the marketing team has managed to create hype around the race, informing supporters of change of the race’s date from Freedom Day to Heritage Day.

“It’s been a tough journey and we have had to think out of the box and we’ve managed to organise many exciting things and we’re looking forward to everything to come,” Gamieldien said.

There are various distances to ensure that anyone can participate in the festivities. Individuals and groups can register for the 10km run, 10km league walk or 5km fun run, with the first race, starting at 07:00.

Entry fees vary from R30 to R100, depending on age and running license, for the 10km races and R30 for the 5km fun run.

There is a cash incentive for any runner who can set a new record, the winners and lucky draw prizes for participants.

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