‘Com­mon her­itage’ links Re­union run­ners to the Cape

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

TO­MOR­ROW’S an­nual Slave Route Half Marathon prom­ises to be big­ger and bet­ter than ever, with a strong el­e­ment of Gal­lic flair set to in­fuse the oc­ca­sion.

A del­e­ga­tion of ath­letes, coaches, mu­si­cians and gov­ern­ment lead­ers from the French In­dian Ocean is­land of Re­union ar­rived in Cape Town last night to take part in the fes­tiv­i­ties with four strong ath­letes slated to join the ex­pected 10 000-plus par­tic­i­pants set to take part in the half marathon, 10km run and walk and 5km fun run to­mor­row morn­ing.

The is­land shares a com­mon her­itage with Cape Town linked to slav­ery, and specif­i­cally its eman­ci­pa­tion, and the lo­cal French Em­bassy of­fice has been ac­tive in forg­ing an ex­change be­tween the two cen­tres around this im­por­tant her­itage theme.

Re­union holds eman­ci­pa­tion fes­tiv­i­ties an­nu­ally in De­cem­ber and there is po­ten­tial for a re­cip­ro­cal visit to the is­land by Cape Town ath­letes later this year.

The Malay an­ces­try is com­mon to both Re­union and Cape Town and Bo-Kaap fea­tures promi­nently in to­mor­row’s race, in­clud­ing one of the steep­est climbs in road run­ning to the top of Long Mar­ket Street. Other slave her­itage points along the route in­clude the slave whip­ping post, the gal­lows, the wa­ter pump house and the dun­geons.

At­lantic Ath­letic Club’s Sibusiso Madikezela has been a strong podium fin­isher in re­cent years, rac­ing to a course record in 1hr 7 min 27 sec in last year’s race af­ter suc­ces­sive run­ners-up ef­forts, and will be back to de­fend his ti­tle.

His im­pres­sive vic­tory in the Sa­fari Half Marathon in Welling­ton last week sug­gests he will again be the ath­lete to beat to­mor­row.

2017 run­ner-up Duane For­tuin suf­fered a lengthy in­jury fol­low­ing his race last year, but is on the come­back trail hav­ing won the Cen­tury City 10km last month, while the women’s com­pe­ti­tion could again come down to a bat­tle of the vet­er­ans with “over-40’s” Bulelwa Si­mae and Tanith Maxwell hav­ing tak­ing the top two po­si­tions last year.

The Re­union quar­tet com­prise Ruddy Bar­rett, Eddy Cle­mentz, Camille Bryas and Anne Atia.

The Half Marathon gets un­der­way from Dar­ling Street out­side the City Hall at 07h00.

The 10 km run starts at 07h15, the 5km Fun Run / Walk at 07h30 and the 10km Big Walk at 07h45. – Stephen Granger

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