The University of Johannesburg is gearing up to host the second leg of the explosive new Varsity Athletics series, which takes place at the UJ Stadium on the Auckland Park Kingsway Campus in Westdene on April 22. Hot on the heels of the successful Varsity Sevens and Varsity Beach Volleyball tournaments, this made-for-television format will see 208 athletes from the eight top athletic universities compete for glory during the 100-minute broadcast. According to local organising committee chairman Francois Fouché, the televised nature of the three-leg series – which was inspired by the Varsity Cup rugby concept – makes for action-packed, adrenalin-pumping viewing. “This will be one of the few times in the past 20 years that South African audiences will be able to enjoy athletics live on TV.” Fouché said spectators were starved for great track and field meetings featuring top quality talent. “The UJ event promises a great atmosphere and solid performances on one of the best blue tartan tracks in the country.” He said the athlete to watch would be the university’s own long-jump sensation Zarck Visser, who currently occupies the top spot on the world rankings with a distance of 8.19m. He also finished second at last year’s African championships. Based on their performances, Fouché said the competition would provide an opportunity for students to qualify for places in national teams. “The most notable change from a regular meet is that field athletes will only have four attempts instead of six to fit all the events into the allotted time frame.” He said each team comprised 13 male and 13 female athletes, who would compete in a total of 18 events. “Points are awarded for each event and the team with the most points collectively will be named the winner on the night.” The institutions would then be awarded points based on their overall standings, which would be carried over to the next meeting, said Fouché. “The university with the most . . .
Future participants in the SPAR Women’s Challenge can start their training early following the introduction of the SPAR Little Ladies’ Race in Port Elizabeth on May 1. The 2km fun run, which takes place from Pollok Beach in the Summerstrand area, will be open to all girls aged eight years and younger. Participants may be accompanied by an adult woman but no boys or men will be allowed. “This road running festival is strictly for ladies of all shapes and sizes,” said SPAR Eastern Cape marketing manager Abri Swart. “It’s a fun and healthy way to say thank you to our loyal shoppers and give back to our community.” According to Swart, the SPAR Little Ladies’ Race was the ideal way to broaden the participation base of the event and introduce future customers to the family oriented retail brand. “It’s a very special addition to the Women’s Challenge, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.” He said the fun run would take place on the first day of late registration for the 5km and 10km senior events. “This means that moms, aunts and grans can register, collect their t-shirts and support their little ladies all on the same day. “The girls may run unaccompanied as there will be female marshals along the course to ensure everyone’s safety.” The Little Ladies’ Race follows a circular route from the registration tent on the grassed area, past the old Something Good roadhouse and along the seaside pedestrian walkway before returning along the landside footpath. Swart said all participants, but not their adult companions, would receive special finishers’ medals and be in line for lucky draw prizes. He said organisers anticipated between 500 and 1 000 participants in the inaugural race. Entrants may register at the following sports shops: Brian Bands, The Footballer, Sportsman’s Warehouse and Action Sports. They can also register from 8.30am on the morning of the race. According to Athletics South Africa rules, only girls nine years . . .
Tasol-GT rider David Maree held his nerve in a three-man sprint to win the Emperors Palace Classic, presented by ASG, in Johannesburg on Sunday to keep his team’s hopes for survival alive. Maree, whose squad’s title sponsorship expires at the end of the month, crossed the line first in 2:13:26, just a split-second clear of Bonitas’s Chris Jennings, with Westvaal-BMC’s Shaun-Nick Bester a further second back. According to Maree, the win was a much-needed one, especially ahead of their potential swansong at the Mzansi Tour, which starts on Wednesday. “We really needed this one for the team’s confidence and to show everyone that we’re not giving up. We’ll keep fighting and keep believing in our dream.” The Bryanston resident, who also podiumed in the Fast One in January, said the racing started at a furious pace on the fairly flat 104km course. “No one was giving anyone room to manoeuvre and the bunch didn’t let any moves slip away. It was definitely one of the harder ones this season.” A group of eight riders – with top teams Bonitas, Westvaal-BMC and Tasol-GT all represented – broke away from the peloton about 30km into the race. “We actually thought we would stay away but the MTN-Qhubeka feeder team chased us down and closed the gap with 40km to go.” They then rode together until the closing 10km, when the final selection of five riders went clear. Jennings launched the first of two attacks with two kilometres remaining, which saw the leaders shed an MTN-Qhubeka and ASG rider, leaving the eventual podium finishers to battle it out for position. “Chris attacked again with about a kilometre to go, so I let Shaun-Nick close the gap for me and then I had a huge sprint to the finish.” Describing himself as “an opportunistic sprinter”, the 23-year-old said the final uphill drag to the line had played right into his hands. “Because I am one of the lighter riders, an uphill sprint like that is really suited to my ability.” The women’s . . .
It was an evening of record breaking at the second leg of the Investec Night Relay on Thursday, with athletes in the running and walking categories registering improved performances. Not only were records shattered on the 21km course around the North End Lake in Port Elizabeth, but event organiser Mike Zoetmulder of Zports recorded the most entries in the three-race series so far. Current leaders and defending champions, Gamble Pharmacy, managed to push even harder this time around after breaking the 2012 course record at last month’s series opener. Their five-man team crossed the finish line another 14 seconds faster to record a winning time of 1 hour 4 minutes and 42 seconds. “They managed to pull this off despite one of their star team members still recovering from the Two Oceans Half Marathon which took place in Cape Town last weekend,” said Zoetmulder. Gamble Pharmacy’s Uitenhage-born Olympic marathon runner Lusapho April did not only take part in the Two Oceans, he managed to clinch second place behind winner Stephen Mokoka. “I took it easy on Thursday after some serious training for the Two Oceans,” said April. He added that the Investec Night Relay was a nice change of pace from his rigorous marathon training. “I really enjoy it. It is just nice to have fun with running from time to time.” April, who will be in Germany competing in the Hannover Marathon, will miss the final race of the series on May 2. “Gamble Pharmacy are more than two minutes ahead of their closest rivals (the NMMU Young Guns who finished second on Thursday), so it will be difficult to close the gap, even without April,” said Zoetmulder. Gamble Pharmacy team member Mariano Eesou was not worried about having to compete without April, as he had confidence in his team. “We have someone lined up to take his place. We might not break a record again, but I’m sure we will be first across the finish line.” Eesou was also thrilled about their latest . . .
The 2013 Aspen Trans Karoo mountain bike race promises to be the ultimate endurance test as cyclists tackle the 240km down ride route from Sutherland to Ceres. The one day race starts at 07h00 on Saturday, 6 April, in Sutherland’s Church Street and will finish at the Kaleo Guest Farm, 25km north of Ceres. Considered as one of the longest single stage endurance mountain bike races in South Africa, the distance, including 5 compulsory check point stops must be completed within 17 hours in order for participants to avoid elimination. The popularity of the race is increased by the fact that entries are limited to only 500, due to the sensitive eco-systems that the race traverses. Well-known riders Hannes Hanekom and Willie Engelbrecht will form part of the field of top cyclists. Riders can once again expect tough sections on route including the daunting descent of Ouberg Pass and the 14km climb up the Skittery Pass, which forms part of the new section of the route. The magnificent beauty of the Tankwa Karoo will entertain riders with its sweeping vistas and abundance of wildlife. Participants will compete in solo male and female categories, as a tandem team or as a 2-member team to tackle the gruelling race. Riders can also enter a 3-member relay team in support of the official race charity, the Sifiso Nxasana Paediatric Trust, which aims to support the improvement of the level of paediatric health care in South Africa. As official race partner, the Northern Cape Tourism Authority is once again delighted to add this exciting event to its ever-growing sporting calendar. According to CEO Sharron Lewis, this is yet another opportunity to build on the province’s increasing reputation as the mecca for adventure and extreme sports. “This iconic race is just one of many sporting events that the province has hosted during recent years and it delivers a significant boost on our busy sports calendar, which now includes mountain biking, paddling, skateboarding and high . . .
Legendary long distance athlete Zola Budd has just completed the Two Oceans half marathon in blustering wind conditions. Running in the colours of The Unlimited, Budd finished in a time of 1 hour 24 minutes and 49 seconds to be the second veteran lady to cross the finish line. “I am really pleased with the results as I targeted an 84 minutes finish. The race was great, but the wind was slightly problematic. The start went very well and I managed to get close to the front runners and did not have too much traffic. I managed to maintain a consistent pace throughout the race. The hills were quite steep, but it was not as bad as I expected,” mentioned Budd at the finish. According to Budd, her result today is proof that her training for the Comrades is on track and her time is a good indication that she should be able to achieve a silver medal in the Comrades. Commenting on the race, Budd said: “The atmosphere at the start of the Two Oceans is incredible and the support along the whole route is absolutely amazing. This puts this race in a completely different category.” URL: http://www.theunlimited.co.za Twitter: Facebook: YouTube: Author: Ronelda Visser from Peridot Communications. Originally distributed by MyPR.co.za. No of Images Uploaded: One To gain access to One image/s please Like, Tweet or +1 this article: [l2g] Images: Zola Budd at the finish line of the Two Oceans half marathon in Cape Town. [/l2g] . . .
Legendary athlete Zola Budd will be returning to South Africa to participate in two of the most iconic road races in the country, the Two Oceans and Comrades marathons. Budd created headlines last year when she tackled her first marathons on home soil. Running in the colours of financial services provider The Unlimited, Budd will compete in the half marathon distance of the Two Oceans at the end of the month before focusing on the gruelling 87-km Comrades ultra-marathon in June. Budd was mentored by Comrades superstar Bruce Fordyce for her maiden run last year and has intensified her training this year. “I have been training very differently from last year and have upped my mileage significantly as I am much stronger now. As it is an up run this year, I’ve thrown in some very tedious hill runs on the treadmill and I have also added some serious track workouts. Whilst Bruce will be helping me while I am in South Africa, I don’t have a coach this year, but a friend has been helping me plan my build-up training. It is very difficult to stick to a set programme when you have three kids and travel as much as I do,” says Budd. The 47-year old Budd admits that her experience from last year has definitely influenced her training and race schedules. “I ran both the Two Oceans Ultra and the Loskop within a month last year and in hindsight I think I just asked too much of my body. I have decided to be more conservative in terms of racing this year and have therefore opted for the half marathon in the Two Oceans,” Budd explains. “I’ve set my sights on a silver medal in the Comrades, which means a sub 7½ hour finish. I reckon that the combination of my experience in the race last year and my current level of training, this time will be within my reach if everything goes well on the day.” Budd catapulted herself into the athletics history books when she broke the long distance world record as a barefoot teenager during the 1980s and went on to become a world . . .
Passionate paracyclist and Business Liaison Officer for Casual Day, Brunhild Strauss, qualified for a medal by finishing the gruelling Cape Argus 2013. After recovering from the race, he wrote this blow-by-blow account of the race. More than 35 000 cyclists participated in the 36th Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour, the largest individually timed cycling event in the world. This was my fourth Cape Argus as a person with disabilities riding a handcycle. I am a paraplegic person which means I only have the use of the top half of my body. The race covers 109km and an amazing experience, not only because of the participants but also the people who line the route to give encouragement. This creates such a wonderful atmosphere and the moral support ensures that the participants don’t give up. This year I flew the Casual Day flag. Casual Day, a project of the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in SA (NCPPDSA), made it possible for me to participate this year. The starting line for the 2013 Argus was in Hertzog Boulevard at the Cape Town Civic Centre, the onto the N2, down the M3 along the False Bay Coast past the entrance to the Cape of Good Hope, along the Atlantic coast, over Suikerbossie Hill and on to the Cape Town Stadium in Green Point. In the early morning the paracyclists along with thousands able-bodied cyclists set off, 5 000 at a time. During the chaos we handcyclists are lying close to the ground. We increase our speed over the first few kilometres, realising that the only way to survive is to get into a routine and maintain a certain speed. The Wynberg stretch goes well. Sometimes I keep up, especially on the downhill. That’s when I shout “Keep your line, check left, right”. It’s a nice feeling when I get to pass for a change and other cyclists have to make way for me. Uphill it’s a battle again. The Muizenburg and Kalk Bay stretch has such beautiful views that I forget about the pain in my arms. I enjoy the welcoming sea . . .
Finishers of the Emperors Palace Classic in Johannesburg will once again be treated to shoulder-to-shoulder racing when the Circuit Spectacular kermesse takes place after the road race on Sunday, April 14. According to organiser Wynand de Villiers, from ASG, many national Classics presented post-race kermesses as part of the entertainment in the past, but the focus on mass participation has seen this invitation-only event dwindle. “For us it’s a no-brainer. It is such an exciting event and the venue lends itself perfectly to this type of racing.” He said the top finishers in the 104km feature race would be invited to take part in the circuit race that took place within the confines of the resort. The kermesse typically lasts 45 minutes plus one lap and offered a handsome prize purse of R10 000, said De Villiers. In addition, riders could help themselves to cash prizes ranging between R500 and R1 000 at each of the three hotspots. “It is a great value-add for our participants and spectators,” said de Villiers. The sixth edition of the Emperors Palace Classic has been moved from its traditional slot in February to autumn to present riders with an opportunity to participate in a Classic at a less congested part of the season. “February has just become too crowded,” he said. De Villiers said the new date was designed to attract riders who had trained for the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour and still had some residual fitness in their legs. “It’s perfectly positioned for those who want to keep the legs moving.” He described the route as “fast and flat” and it offered sprinters something to sink their teeth into. A single climb made its appearance at the halfway mark, but he said the incline won’t do much to slow the pace. Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg, who is currently racing for Argos-Shimano in Europe, took the win last year and De Villiers speculated that a rider like Herman Fouche would be hard to beat in 2013. “He definitely has . . .
In the recent Boardwalk Hobie 16 Sailing championships held from 21 to 24 March 2013 in Port Elizabeth, a total of 8 races were sailed over three days (Saturday was blown out). Conditions were mostly below 12 knots with flat seas and the wind from the East, South and West to make for an interesting and complete regatta under the hand of bridge officer, Doug Allison. On the first day of sailing sailors were greeted with a perfectly sunny and calm day and were eventually called out in the early afternoon by Race Officer Doug Allison who, in the light South-Easterly of 6 to 8 knots, set a Windward Leeward (Sausage shape) course with the start in line with Shark Rock Pier, the top mark in line with Admiralty Way and the bottom marks in line with Humewood beach - a perfect spectators course which presented the Hobies with the choice of staying inshore and sailing close to Bird Rock on their way up to the first rounding mark. First around the top mark was the Plettenberg Bay duo of Blaine and Roxanne Dodds, eager to stamp their authority on the regatta and avenge their 2nd place of 2012, they were followed by local husband and wife sailors Andrew and Angela Ward who have been training and dieting up a storm in preparation for these nationals. From the top mark a downwind leg saw many of the boats opt to hug the shoreline looking for a land breeze before taking the outermost gate buoy on the bottom gate mark before the long march back up the beat for the top mark. Most Hobies opted to hug the shore line and dodge Bird Rock on the return back up to the top. An increasing wind velocity and wind shift greeted the back markers as the predicted increase in wind velocity and shift made it's appearance. Most of the back markers completed the last leg to the finish on a reach. With the wind increasing to 28 knots some Hobies were seen to capsize and the rescue boats stood by. After one race on Day one the top three finishers were: 1. Blaine and Roxanne Dodds 2. . . .