Ragnar Trail South Africa Relay registration dates released

It’s the social, festival-vibe trail running relay event that has created a tribe out of the fit and fun folk around the world and it’s coming to SA in 2020.

Registration for the Ragnar Trail Relay events open on Friday the 29th of November. The Joburg event is scheduled for the 2nd and 3rd May in the Hennops Valley, which provides an ideal venue close to the city. The ever-popular Elgin Grabouw Country Club will host the Cape Town event on the weekend of the 23rd and 24th of May 2020.

The race weekends are set to bring something new and exciting to the realm of trail running in South Africa with the unique team relay format run non-stop through the day and night. Runners will be able to choose from three different team options. The Standard Team, where 8 people each complete the 3 different trail loops in a relay format, totaling 21km per runner and averaging 7km per loop. The Ultra Team of 4 people double up on the distance and the Black Loop Team consists of just 2 people who complete the 3 loop course on the Saturday and then take on the infamous 20km “Black Loop” on the Sunday.

Added to this is the great energy of the Ragnar Village. Teams set up camp for the weekend and enjoy the festival type atmosphere of the whole event where activities, food and of course marshmallows abound.

It’s running. It’s social. And it’s madness. But “It’s not crazy if we’re all doing it!”

Find out more at www.runragnar.com/za

Recognising the best behind the business of sport at the 2019 Hollard Sport Industry Awards

The very best work behind the business of sport which spans marketing, PR, digital, sponsorship, advertising, community investment, social media and branding were awarded at the Hollard Sport Industry Awards, held in Johannesburg on Friday night.

“We are thrilled by the increased number of entries we saw for this year’s awards as well as the caliber of work that has been done. Congratulations to all the winners and thank you to everyone who submitted entries. Without the work that they do, we wouldn’t see the iconic sport moments that have captured our attention as well as the development work that goes into bringing these sporting moments into our homes and common spaces. As an organisation, we find it meaningful to enable better futures through sponsorship of these important awards” says Heidi Brauer, Chief Marketing Officer of Hollard.

Biggest Winner’s

Levergy, the Sport and Entertainment arm of M&C Saatchi, took home four awards on the night including the Activation of the Year award for their work on “Nedbank Cup #Teamup4kzn” – an initiative which used the Nedbank Cup to drive awareness and raise funds for relief efforts and cleanup operations after the catastrophic flooding which hit Kwazulu-Natal 3 weeks before the Cup was played. The Levergy team also won Best use of PR (sponsored by Belgotex) for the excellent use of public relations around this same campaign as well as the Hollywood Bets sponsored category of Best Digital Platform for their SuperSport TV Twitter activation. Levergy also walked away with the much-coveted Agency of the Year for 2019, sponsored by Gallo Images.

One of the most sought-after awards on the evening, Campaign of the Year sponsored by Nielsen Sports, which was initially erroneously awarded to the wrong agency, went to Openfield for their outstanding work on the Vodacom Super Rugby campaign. Openfield also won Best Sponsorship of an Event or Competition for Vodacom Super Rugby, sponsored by WorldWide Sports.

T&W, winner of Agency of the Year last year, won the FujiFilm Best Audio-Visual content for 2019 for their Orlando Pirates 80 Legends campaign.

Best Sponsorship of a Team or Individual, sponsored by Golf Guys, went to creative sports marketing agency Retroactive for their work for client Biogen and James ‘Hobbo’ Hobson, the journey of a regular South African guy who went from being unfit and weighing 130kgs to completing the Ironman 70.3 in Durban in June. Not surprisingly, Retroactive, which was formed in October 2018 by Bryan Habana, Mike Sharman, Ben Karpinski and Shaka Sisulu also won Young Agency of the Year, sponsored by Modern Athlete.

Other awards on the night included:

  • Best Live Experience – M-Sports Marketing Communications (Carling Black Label Cup Match Day 2019) – Sponsored by Deloitte
  • Best New Sponsorship – Playmakers (Powerade Fit Night Out) – Sponsored by NB Sport Development
  • Development Programme of The Year – Peschl Sports and Spotlight Public Relations (Go! Durban Cycle Academy) – Sponsored by the Thebe Foundation
  • Participation Event of the Year – Stillwater Sport (FNB Run Your City Series) – Sponsored by Thirsti
  • Hollard Brand of the Year – DHL

Honouring The Greats

Highlights on the night include the awarding of the Leadership in Sports Business award, sponsored by Engen, to Francois Pienaar. Francois, who played for the Springboks from 1993 until 1996 winning 29 international caps while captain, is perhaps best known for leading South Africa to victory in the 1995 Rugby World Cup. In 2003, he founded the Make a Difference (MAD) Leadership Scholarship Programme, to produce the country’s next generation of young leaders.

The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Sue Destombes, who has been the Secretary General at COSAFA (the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations) for the past five years. Sue has a career spanning more than 40 years, primarily in marketing and event management in the soccer industry and was hand-picked by FIFA to act as a mentor in their Female Leadership Development Programme. Sue has worked tirelessly to promote women in football and was instrumental in bringing back the COSAFA Women’s Championship, as well as securing funding for the tournament, despite lack of sponsorship interest.

Personality of the Year, awarded to someone who has had a memorable year in the local sport industry and who has raised the profile of the industry in a manner that demonstrates innovation, leadership and business acumen, was given to Annelee Murray. Annelee has been involved in rugby for the past 20 years, 19 of which as the PR Manager for the Springboks. She is an integral part of the team, having been with them through 225 test matches, 7 coaches and 15 captains and is often referred to as the hardest working Springbok, which is testament to the passion and dedication with which she approaches her life’s work.

The Sports Person’s Lifetime Community Award, sponsored this year by Tshikululu Social Investments, is presented to an individual with a minimum of 20 years of significant philanthropic contribution to community and sports development. This year this prestigious award was awarded to Morne Du Plessis.

A member of the International Rugby Hall of Fame, Morné is the owner and director of Sports Plan. Among its achievements, is the establishment and management of the Sports Science Institute of South Africa with Tim Noakes, and the Bioenergetics of Exercise Research Unit at the University of Cape Town.

The Sport Industry Group, the organiser of these awards in Johannesburg, is represented in South Africa by Creative Space Media and is a networking organisation that sits at the heart of sport. Through editorial content and constant engagement with the industry, the Sport Industry Group looks to celebrate excellence and stimulate conversation, setting the agenda for the world’s most dynamic industry

Can Johannes Continue SPAR Grand Prix Domination?

The 2019 SPAR Grand Prix Women’s 10km Challenge series has reached its midway point, with Namibia’s Helalia Johannes firmly in the lead after three wins in the first three races. Now, can she make it four from four in the Pretoria leg on 3 August, or will her change of focus open the door to her rivals?

On the 23rd of June 2019, Helalia Johannes (Nedbank Namibia) exceeded expectations when she won the Durban leg of the 2019 SPAR Women’s Challenge series in 30 minutes and 59 seconds, the fastest time ever run by a woman on South African soil. That shattered the course record of 31:18, set by Colleen de Reuck in 2000, and also gave Johannes yet another new Namibian national record, in a year that has seen her post five new national marks across various distances. It also gave her three wins out of three in the SPAR series, after earlier wins in Port Elizabeth and Cape Town.

Tadu Naru (Nedbank Ethiopia) was second in 32:36 and three times SPAR Grand Prix winner, Irvette van Zyl (Nedbank Central Gauteng) was third, in 32:57. The top three all received 10 Grand Prix bonus points for finishing faster than last year’s winning time of 33:07.

Johannes now has 90 points, Naru has 86, and Van Zyl, for whom this year’s Durban leg was her first podium finish this year, has 78. They have opened up a big gap between themselves and the chasing pack, with 2017 Grand Prix winner Kesa Molotsane (Murray & Roberts Free State), who finished seventh in Durban, currently in fourth place on the log with 67 points.

After the Durban race, Van Zyl made it clear that her priority had been earning bonus points. “I knew I couldn’t keep up with Helalia, but I was running for bonus points,” she said. “As long as you earn bonus points, you can keep in touch with the top runners. If one of them doesn’t run all six races, you are right up there with them.”

Grand Prix coordinator Ian Laxton agrees that bonus points could decide the outcome of the Grand Prix title. “Anyone who doesn’t run all six races will battle to win. The top three are so close that if one drops out, another is lying in wait for her,” he said.

Johannes, who is the reigning Commonwealth Games marathon champion, said after the Durban race that she would be turning her attention to training for the marathon at the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar on 27 September. “I have been concentrating on shorter distances this year, but I will be doing more long-distance training from now on,” she said. “I don’t know how that will affect me if I run in Pretoria and Pietermaritzburg in the SPAR series.”

Van Zyl said the presence of international runners like Johannes and Naru was doing much for road running in South Africa. “They are forcing us all to run faster,” she said. “But it will be interesting to see what happens in the altitude races, in Pretoria and Johannesburg. And we are all really going to struggle to get bonus points next year!”

The Durban race was one of four in which juniors can earn points in their own category. Naru, who is 18, has an 11-point lead, with 20 points from the two races so far. In the 40-49 category, Bulelwa Simae (Boxer WP) leads the category with 14 points from three races, with Janene Carey (Boxer KZN) in second position on 10 points. The leader in the 50-59 category is former Comrades Marathon gold medallist Grace de Oliveira (Murray & Roberts KZN), with 11 points. Olga Howard (Nedbank WP) leads the 60+ category with 23 points.

In the club competition, Nedbank is firmly in the lead with 424 points, followed by Maxed Elite Zimbabwe with 138. Boxer is in third place with 132 points.