Our January Favourite is Back!

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After a one-year absence, Bedfordview Athletics Club in partnership with Dis-Chem Pharmacies is proud to once again bring you the Dis-Chem Pharmacies Half Marathon. Taking place on Sunday 16 January 2022, this will be the 20th edition of this long-time favourite on the Johannesburg racing calendar.

Having seen this year’s race cancelled due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, the club is incredibly excited to be able to invite runners to once again visit the famous 21.1km course – some will say infamous – which winds its way through Bedfordview, Morninghill and Primrose. Though challenging, runners will be rewarded with spectacular views, particularly as the road crests and dives down Primrose Hill.

Unfortunately, the Centrum 5km dash will not take place in 2022, due to the entry limitations, and spectators and supporters will not be allowed at the event, especially at the race venue itself. However, there will be marshals stationed along the route, to offer runners words of encouragement as well as make sure all are kept safe on route. Also, due to the current restrictions, the race will only offer four water points, and runners are therefore encouraged to break out the hydration packs and bring their own water.

More Entries Than Originally Expected

Traditionally one of the biggest half marathons on the Central Gauteng calendar, the race will be restricted in numbers of entries this year, but as Race Director Charn Swart explains, this is already more than originally expected. “Under current guidelines from Athletics South Africa, we originally applied for a live event with 2000 runners, but they looked at our event plan and granted permission for 3000.

“Then, after entries were launched, we negotiated further with ASA and are delighted to announce we have received the go-ahead for a further 500 live entries! Our live event plan is viable for 4000 entries, so we are confident that we are able to cope with the approved 3500 entries safely, within, all current restrictions.”

More good news is that a further 500 virtual entries will be available for runners who cannot get a live race entry. The Virtual run will be untimed and unsupported and can be run from 17-23 January 2022. All 4000 entrants will receive a Dry-fit event T-shirt.

Charn is obviously just thrilled to see the race back on the calendar. “Hosting this race means a lot to our club. Runners are eager to compete after months of training without a real purpose, and we are also hopeful that races like ours will encourage new runners to get involved in road running, especially when they get a taste of the enjoyment of taking part in shorter distances. Most importantly, this gives running clubs a chance to recover financially after losing members that left due to there being no races on the calendar, and it also brings in much-needed revenue earned from hosting the race.”

Ready to Pick Up Your Race Pack?

As with all events, the topic of vaccinations is front of mind, and will come into play with the Dis-Chem Half Marathon as well. The event is open to both vaccinated and unvaccinated runners, but your vaccination status will determine when you can collect your race number and T-shirt. The three days of registration will be:

Thursday 13 January

Dis-Chem Nicolway

09:30-17:00

Friday 14 January

Dis-Chem Park Meadows

10:00-17:00

Saturday 15 January

Virgin Active Bedfordview

09:30-15:30

  • Fully vaccinated runners will be able to collect their race packs on any of the three collection days, and they will need to produce their vaccination certificate (note, not an SMS) and ID.
  • Partially vaccinated and unvaccinated runners will only be able to collect their race packs on Saturday 15 January – the day before the race – and will need to provide a valid negative Covid PCR test result not older than 48 hours. Alternatively, they can undergo an on-site Rapid Antigen test at race pack collection, at their own expense.
  • All athletes will be screened and have their temperature taken at collection venues and on race day.

On the topic of vaccinations, both Charn and Stan Goetsch of headline sponsor Dis-Chem are encouraging all runners to get vaccinated. By being vaccinated, mass events can operate again, knowing that all runners entering the event space have the ability to fight COVID-19. As Stan says, “While it is difficult to plan with certainty in these uniquely challenging times, Bedfordview Country Club Athletics and ourselves are looking ahead to once again witness the joy, the spirit and the excitement of the challenge of a live road running event at this traditional season opener.”

Charn leaves us with this, “Runners will have the best possible experience that we can offer on the day, within the COVID-19 protocols necessary to host a race.” So, will you be one of the lucky runners taking to the streets of Bedfordview? Then make sure you get your entry in right away, as they will be snapped up quickly!

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