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Top of the Morning!

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The
Morningside Running Club was established in 2005 by Angus Hudson and in seven
years has grown to some 150 members. Angus is now the Honorary Life President
of the club and no longer serves on the committee, but he is still extremely
active in club matters, particularly when it comes to major events like the Old
Mutual Two Oceans and Comrades Marathon. He remains an inspirational figure in
the club, in particular to people starting out as runners, and his big,
friendly personality really did set the tone for the club right from the start.

 

COLOURFUL CHARACTERS

This
club has never been one for the ‘big names’ in the sense of elite or famous
runners, but it boasts quite a few big personalities, like Angus, that make
club life that much more fun and interesting. Another that deserves a mention
is Club Captain Roland van der Merwe, who would never be described as a quiet
person. He’s always laughing and joking, and is often the life of the party at
Morningside social gatherings, but he is also greatly appreciated by his
clubmates for his hard work and dedication. For example, he often volunteers to
be the tail sweep runner in extreme trail runs such as the Wild Coast Wild Run
and Lesotho Wild Run.

 

Other
colourful characters and social members include Richard McEvoy, who can lay
claim to 22 consecutive silver medals at Comrades (20 of them under seven
hours), John Woodnut, who has run a marathon on all seven continents and has
some interesting stories to tell, and former chairman ‘Bobby Buck,’ now
residing in ‘Slaapstad,’ who has 20 Two Oceans ultras and 12 Two Oceans 21s to
his name. They are always willing to assist any runner by sharing their experience
and advice.

 

FRIENDLY AND SOCIAL

Current
Chairman Gerry Comninos says that leading the club is more pleasure than hard
work, thanks to the great spirit in the club. “I’m blessed to be working with
an efficient committee who handle the administrative task of issuing licences,
the club finances and of course the coordination of both our social and race
events. We often participate in running water and support points at prominent
races, which typically end up more as having fun rather than work. Morningside
road runners are known for their friendliness and socialising.”

 

That
sees Saturday morning runs often end up with breakfast at one of the local
cafes, and long social get-togethers in the clubhouse after Wednesday night
time trials. The actual clubhouse is a small hut in the grounds of the
Morningside Country Club, so members usually end up in the neighbouring hockey
pub, which is a hive of activity every Wednesday night. Morningside Country
Club is a great facility and being associated with it is very beneficial to the
running club, with many other sporting facilities available, which encourages a
healthy, fit and friendly atmosphere.

 

BUT STILL SERIOUS RUNNERS

A
large portion of the club participates in the Wednesday time trial, which is reputed
to be one of the hardest in Gauteng. It offers 8km and 5km routes, both with a
lot of climbs, which are quite a challenge for those who want to work on their
speed. Many of the members are regulars at the weekend races, where the club’s
blue chequered gazebo is also often seen. Morningside has about 50 participants
entered for Comrades 2012, and they have all the support and motivation of the
rest of the club behind them, although all the non-Comrades runners are just as
important to the club.

 

GIVING BACK AS WELL

The
clubs hosts the News to News Run twice a year, a fun club run from News Cafe
Rivonia to News Cafe Woodmead, to raise funds in aid of breast cancer awareness.
Gerry explains that it is neither a sanctioned CGA event, nor a prominent item
on the running calendar, “but it is beginning to enjoy somewhat of a cult following,
and we hope to keep this going every year.” Other notable charitable drives by
Morningside members include that of the club’s first registered member, Tracy
Bamber, who has raised over R800 000 for various charities, including
Children
in the Wilderness and The Wilderness Trust, while
Raoul Jacquand is the top donor in
the Comrades Marathon’s 2012 Race4Charity, having raised R66
124.27
for World Vision SA,
all through running!

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