‘Common heritage’ links Reunion runners to the Cape
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