Gijimas 50km a test of endurance
Top athletes and future hopefuls all set to push bodies to fresh heights
The second running of the Real Gijimas-owned 50km road race from Zwelitsha to King William’s Town takes place on Sunday next week. It comes at a time when thousands of runners countrywide are dedicating their thoughts and efforts towards one or both of the Two Oceans 56km and Comrades Marathons.
The Two Oceans is now a mere four weeks away, while Comrades is just 11 weeks down the “road”.
Throughout South Africa, varying opinions and training options are being shared among runners and long runs vary between 50 and 70km on some schedules.
A 50km now will do far less damage than the greater options.
Real Gijimas have confirmed they have received interest in their race from across the land, with the latest commitment coming from the Nedbank Club based in KwaZulu-Natal.
Many of the local Comrades hopefuls, in particular, will line up at the start, while also expected to be in the field are runners who have never before gone further than the 42.2km of a standard marathon.
Their rationale is likely to be that the 50km distance is not too far removed from racing a Two Oceans in 2020, or simply as a tester to see how they hold up at a greater distance before committing to a 2020 Comrades.
There is something special about the dawn of a new decade for runners, and looking back this will be confirmed by both the marketing of races and the response from the number of runners who commit.
The year 2000 was huge, 2010 was bigger still, and organisers can brace themselves for an almighty big 2020.
Next year will also see the third running of the Zwelitsha to Mdantsane 50km. Any race takes a good three years to approach maturity.
Alex Kambule, the chairman of Real Gijimas, has indicated that they are hoping for a field of 350 this year, and that seems a realistic number for year two.
Of the local runners with the potential to podium are Nedbank’s Nkosinathi Nzingo and Xolisile Sinkintana, Mzwaele Gqotile of Eskom, Mbuyusile Mema of Old Mutual, Xolisile Mashicila of Overtakers, last year’s third placed Siyabulela Madlavana from Easy Equities Born 2 Run, Mabula Zuko of Qolokweni AC and the Oxford Striders duo of Peter Chiwaya and Mndeni Zulu.
The course is a tough one, though there is an overall drop in altitude from the Zwelitsha start to the finish in Mdantsane, and that alone will encourage runners to chase the pace.
The race starts at 5.30am, which is 49 minutes before sunrise, and it is therefore likely to be cool in the early stages, while warming up to 22°C. In other words ideal running conditions...