Strong field for Moun­tain


On Satur­day, 12 Au­gust, over 370 run­ners took to Gra­ham­stown’s streets in the an­nual SPAR Oak Cottage Moun­tain Drive half-marathon. The event, spon­sored once again by SPAR Oak Cottage and sanc­tioned by East­ern Prov­ince Ath­let­ics (EPA), was or­gan­ised by Gra­ham­stown-based Run/Walk for Life Ath­let­ics Club.

Andile Mot­wana and Ndileka Mrak­wendlu (both from Ti­narha ath­let­ics club) won the men and women's cat­e­gories re­spec­tively. Both led from start to fin­ish, and were awarded King and Queen of the Moun­tain re­spec­tively for reach­ing the top of the Moun­tain Drive first.

The cold, crisp Satur­day morn­ing air was filled with an­tic­i­pa­tion and adren­a­line as the run­ners took on the phys­i­cal chal­lenge with vigour. Host club Run/Walk For Life Ath­let­ics Club or­gan­is­ers en­sured the event had a smooth running. Twizza and Gro­cott’s Mail added to the spon­sors list, with the pa­per’s sports re­porter Sa­man­tha Carolous among the race or­gan­is­ers, while the soft drinks com­pany sup­plied cool drink along the route and at the fin­ish line.

The 21.1km par­tic­i­pa­tion league event, which started and fin­ished at Rhodes Uni­ver­sity’s Prospect sports com­plex, al­lowed walk­ers to also take part in the half-marathon.

Ath­letes made their way along African and Som­er­set Streets to­wards Makana Re­sort below Grey Dam.

There they be­gan the up­hill Moun­tain Drive climb fol­lowed by the de­scent to the N2 en­route to the In­dus­trial Area via Raut­en­bach Road, round to the golf club along Cradock Road. There­after it was a quick four-kilo­me­tre route through the sub­urbs to the fin­ish line on the Prospect field.

The rang­ing course al­lowed run­ners and walk­ers of all var­i­ous age groups four hours to meet their personal fit­ness ob­jec­tives.

“It (the race) was tough, but it is what I wanted to do and I ful­filled my goal,” said 58-year old Al­bany Saints and Sin­ners Multi Sports club ath­lete, Jus­tice Yaka.

Mot­wana won a new record time of 1:07:10, clip­ping al­most two min­utes off the pre­vi­ous record set in 2014, when Run/Walk For Life took over or­gan­is­ing. In sec­ond place was Me­likhaya Frans (Ikhamva ath­let­ics club), with his club mate Amos Ny­ongo com­ing third. Mrak­wendlu took the women’s win in 1:32:21 with Rhodes Uni­ver­sity Ath­let­ics Club mem­ber, Sarah Rauben­heimer sec­ond and Claire McCann third.

Said McCann: “[The race] was awe­some, well or­gan­ised and just amaz­ing. All these 50 and 60-year-olds were pass­ing me. Peo­ple in Gra­ham­stown are so fit!”

Win­ners in the men’s and women’s 35-39 age group in­cluded Ge­orge Nt­shiliza, a for­mer Two Oceans Marathon win­ner, and lo­cal ath­lete, Candice Ser­fontein.

Photo: David Stoloff

Sec­ond woman home in Satur­day’s SPAR Oak Cottage Moun­tain Drive half-marathon was Rhodes Uni­ver­sity Ath­let­ics Club mem­ber, Sarah Rauben­heimer who fin­ished in 1:34:01.

Photo: Sue Ma­clen­nan

SPAR Oak Cottage Moun­tain drive half-marathon women’s win­ner, Ndileka Mvak­wendlu crosses the fin­ish line in 1:32:21.

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