LEANDRI VAN SCHALKWYK
Run/Walk For Life Polokwane on Saturday presented the club’s 11 entrants in this year’s Comrades Marathon with their goodie bags during a gathering at Nguni Grill.
The athletes joined by the support group that would be assisting them during the race enjoyed a hearty breakfast after which the goodie bags, including a special club T-shirt, were handed to them.
Florence Mamabolo, Brenda Bopape, Allan Johnson, Koashik Mistry, Casio de Sousa, Johan Geldenhuys, Jerry Mamabolo, Richard Rambiyana, Emmanuel Mukondeleli, Jerry Madau and Laetitia Geldenhuys are hoping to each achieve their personal best during the race and thereby also make the club proud.
Bopape, a novice, said she was very excited about her first Comrades and explained that she decided to enter because her fellow runners at the club encouraged her.
“It was always a dream of mine to run the Comrades. I am ready although I believe it is going to be a huge challenge,” Bopape said.
Allan Johnson aims to complete his 10th race and earn his green number. He said he was very positive about the race and that it would be a big achievement for him to complete his 10th Comrades. He already has six Vic Clapham and three bronze medals.
Johan and Laetitia Geldenhuys are siblings taking on the race together for the first time.
“This is my third Comrades and I am calm and positive, because I trained hard. It is an honour and privilege to do this with my sister,” Johan said. Laetitia previously ran the Comrades four times.
Florence Mamabolo and Jerry Mudau, the club’s first women and man over the finish line last year, both hope to improve their times. Mamabolo finished in 10:05 to earn a bronze medal. “I want to push myself this year to get a Bill Rowan medal this year,” she commented. Mudau clocked a time of 11:12 and brought home a Vic Clapham medal. He remarked that it is a wonderful experience to run the Comrades and that he wants to improve his time to obtain a bronze medal.
The athletes were briefed on what energy and strength boosters they would be supplied with along the route. These include jelly babies, bananas, soup and boiled potatoes apart from the much needed water.
“This small club has a very strong bond and we support each other where we can. On most Saturdays we arrange our own races to practice and to back each other on the road,” Marais said and added that the Management of Run/Walk For Life Polokwane wished the athletes good luck and knew they would make them proud.
LEANDRI VAN SCHALKWYK