Com­rades runners gear up

MEC wishes province’s ul­tra-marathon par­tic­i­pants well, in­clud­ing govern­ment of­fi­cials

The New Age (Free State) - - NORTH WEST NEWS - ELFAS TORERAI elfast@the­newage.co.za

ATH­LETES tak­ing part in the gru­elling Com­rades Marathon on Sunday have vowed to bring back medals to the province.

The 94th edi­tion of the ul­ti­mate ul­tra­ma­rathon will see runners test their en­durance from Dur­ban to Pi­eter­mar­itzburg.

Ath­letes do­ing the up run will be mo­ti­vated by the fact that it was last won by the province’s Gift Kelehe, who won the ti­tle in 2015.

Kelehe from Rusten­burg and other ath­letes from the province will take to the tar­mac look­ing to bring pride to the province.

Govern­ment of­fi­cials are also ready to sweat it out at the week­end.

Po­gisho Pholo­holo, who ad­min­is­ters the head of depart­ment’s registry at the pro­vin­cial depart­ment of so­cial devel­op­ment, will be among those lac­ing up his run­ning shoes on Sunday morn­ing.

He said his goal was to win a Bill Rowan (sil­ver) medal.

“I am ready for this great day in my life. I had enough train­ing ahead of this marathon and I hope I will do my best in the race to lift up the name of Bokone Bophir­ima,” Pholo­holo said.

Pholo­holo is not a Com­rades novice. He will be tak­ing part in the race for the third time.

He will be joined by Letl­hogonolo Seiso, se­nior state ac­coun­tant in the depart­ment of so­cial devel­op­ment, who will be tak­ing part in his first Com­rades Marathon.

De­spite be­ing a new­comer to one of the world’s most tax­ing races, Seiso said he was look­ing for­ward to it and wanted to do his best.

He said his train­ing sched­ule had pre­pared his mus­cles and he would try to last the dis­tance and even fin­ish in the medals cat­e­gory.

Act­ing so­cial devel­op­ment MEC Fenny Gao­laolwe wished the pair luck ahead of their de­par­ture for the race.

“I wish these am­bas­sadors good luck in rep­re­sent­ing the province as a whole,” Gao­laolwe said.

“As a depart­ment we have ap­pre­ci­ated the dili­gence and dis­ci­pline of Po­gisho Pholo­holo, which we as­sume is en­hanced by his dis­ci­plined train­ing. The pa­tience, ef­fi­ciency and pro­fes­sion­al­ism of Pholo­holo are ex­cel­lent traits a pub­lic ser­vant should as­pire for.”

Gao­laolwe said the marathon is a good mar­ket­ing tool for good health that ev­ery­one should as­pire to.

She said it took a strict diet, dis­ci­pline and ex­er­cise to keep the body in shape.

“We want to en­sure that well­ness and fit­ness are en­trenched in the life­styles of govern­ment em­ploy­ees.

“As a province we are com­mit­ted to beat­ing life­style dis­eases linked to obe­sity and high blood pres­sure.”

She hailed the Com­rades Marathon as a per­fect plat­form to win the bat­tle against life­style dis­eases.

Gao­laolwe said she hopes the North West team would bring home medals, cit­ing that the province had al­ways done well at the ul­tra-marathon, with the feats of Gift Kelehe and his brother, An­drew, well doc­u­mented. An­drew won the Com­rades Marathon in 2001.

“We hope our runners will draw in­spi­ra­tion from the brothers to bring pres­tige to the province,” Gao­laolwe said, adding that she ex­tended her best wishes to Gift Kelehe too.

“Gift Kelehe will be de­fend­ing his up run ti­tle and we hope his ex­pe­ri­ence and past glory will stand him in good stead.”

PIC­TURE: COM­RADES MARATHON

FIT AND HEALTHY: The Com­rades Marathon will take place on Sunday.

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