Fresh from winning a wet and wild K-Way MaxiRace Cape Winelands 75km trail ultra, we sat down with Brandon Hulley to talk about his transition from rugby player to elite trail runner, and his unfinished business with 100-milers. – By Sean Falconer
With miles and miles of untouched ‘nothingness,’ the Salt Pans Ultra 100km in Botswana is like nothing I have experienced before. You feel like you are on another planet, like Charlize Theron in that alien movie, Prometheus, and this made it my most epic trail running adventure to date! – By Carla Lea Farina
As one of the funniest guys of running in South Africa, Rory Petzer is almost always laughing (in between eating)… except in the 2022 Comrades. He reckons he had nothing to smile about that day! Happily, the 2023 race went much, much better, and now he’s ready to take on the running world. As long as it doesn’t keep him away from his dogs too long, and he can be left in peace to think of his next jokes. Let’s just say there’s a lot going on in this comedian’s head! – By Sean Falconer
The new (well, almost new) World Road Running Championships took place this month, and besides heralding an exciting new chapter in global road running, the event proved a hugely successful outing for Team South Africa. – By Riel Hauman & Sean Falconer
It’s been a fantastic year for Thabang Mosiako, with scintillating performances over the 10km and half marathon distances that have thrust him into the top three or four on the all-time South African performance lists. He recently led Team South Africa to a bronze medal at the World Road Running Champs, and there appears to be more to come from this prodigiously talented athlete, but it wasn’t so very long ago that he was in despair and thinking of hanging up his running shoes for good. – BY Manfred Seidler
Road running receives R2 Million annual injection for the next 10 years with the launch of the Balwin Sport Marathon Series; and to top it you could win a fully furnished apartment worth R800k!
Balwin Sport will be investing R2 million annually over the next 10 years as the title sponsor of four iconic races in South Africa, Jeppe, Cape Peninsula, Phobians Pretoria, and Dolphin Coast marathons. All these marathons are Comrades qualifiers, with the first three races being Two Oceans Qualifiers.
Balwin Properties, a developer that cares about environmentally responsible building practices and the delivery of high-quality apartments to its valued clients, has launched Balwin Sport, a division of the Group aimed at promoting a healthier lifestyle amongst its clients, staff, and all South Africans.
Steve Brookes, CEO and founder of Balwin commented, “Since the pandemic we’ve explored ways of promoting a healthier lifestyle amongst all South Africans. Through the careful re-allocation of existing marketing budgets, we were able to launch Balwin Sport, which will inject more than R2 million into South African road running annually, by becoming the title sponsor of some of the country’s oldest and most iconic marathons over the next 10 years.”
Road running legend Barry Holland – holder of a record 49 consecutive Comrades medals to date – and race director for Dolphin Coast Striders, has been appointed as the overall race co-ordinator for the series. “Road running is one of the most accessible sports and allows anyone, from weekend warriors to elite athletes to compete. I am very excited about the opportunities that Balwin Sport’s title sponsorship will unlock, not only in growing road running across the country but also in uncovering the potential top talent of the future through the respective clubs’ development work,” says Barry.
The first Balwin Sport-sponsored marathon kicks off on 11 February 2024 with the two-lapper Jeppe Marathon, followed by the Cape Peninsula Marathon on 18 February 2024, the Phobians Pretoria Marathon on 25 February 2024, and finally, the Dolphins Coast marathon on 17 March 2024.
All the title marathons are Comrades and Two Oceans Marathon qualifiers except for the Dolphin Coast marathon, where participants can only qualify for Comrades. The marathons are some of the country’s oldest, with the Cape Peninsula Marathon being run for the 56th time in 2024, having been founded by Celtic Harriers in 1964.
To further motivate participation, runners over any of the title event distances (5km, 10km, 21.1km, or 42.2km) could qualify to win a fully furnished Balwin apartment when they visit one of the developer’s show units after the races, with participants being given more than 7 months to boost their chances after the events.
Ryan Kalk, MD of Balwin Sport and Balwin National Sales Manager explained, “Our key objective is for people to participate and get healthy. Participants who enter and complete any distance on the day of the race and follow this up with a visit to any of our show apartments at our developments countrywide will stand a chance to win a fully furnished apartment to the value of R800,000.”
Bruce King of Jeppe Athletics Club says, “The Balwin Sport Jeppe Marathon is the first event in the series, but as a race it comes with a long 40-year history. We are looking forward to this tremendous new period in the race’s history. Balwin and Jeppe have a common ethos and we look forward to this becoming the marathon series of choice for runners.”
Glenn Muller of Celtic Harriers Running Club says, “The Cape Peninsula Marathon, hosted by Celtic Harriers is the oldest marathon in Cape Town and takes runners along an awesome route with the Atlantic Ocean a constant reminder of what a privilege it is to run this race. We are excited beyond words to have Balwin Properties as the title sponsor on board and their mantra of ‘Lifestyle Experience’ will elevate the Balwin Sport Peninsula Marathon to a must-do event where thousands of human stories of accomplishment can be interwoven into this iconic brand.”
Grahaeme Gertschof of Phobians Athletics Club says, “The Pretoria Marathon has been around for over 30 years, as one of the most prominent running events in the city. Hosted by Phobians Athletics Club, we want to grow the race to become a “big city” marathon – a nationally recognised, not-to-be-missed event on the running calendar.”
A New House. Under Armour Levels Up Menlyn Mall.
Officiated by Head of Retail, Brent Venter, the grand store opening unveiled a ‘New House’ that showcased Under Armour’s new cutting-edge city concept. This new concept boasts a palette designed to reflect the Under Armour brand elements and embodies three specific design principles: Authentic, Strong and Active.
“Not only are we focused on growing our distribution footprint but we are also challenging ourselves to show up significantly better in our existing doors. I’m really proud of the team who have brought this concept to life. I’m sure that you’ll agree that this new space optimises our efforts to inspire and delight our athletes with a powerful assortment of premium technical products to service their performance needs. We’re enjoying some excellent brand momentum at the moment. I’m excited to see our strategy playing out. More to come in the coming months,” states Darren Cooke, Managing Director of Brands, Ares Holdings (Pty) Ltd.
The ‘New House’ plans are a testament to Under Armour’s rapid expansion across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), since establishing a presence in the market just over a decade ago. Under Armour’s EMEA revenue at the end of its latest financial year is 60 per cent larger than pre-pandemic levels. This makes EMEA the fastest-growing Under Armour region globally, with a strong focus on South African team sport athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike.
In keeping with its focus and goal of helping athletes to level up, the final store concept features performance products across popular co-gender train and run collections such as RUSH, Iso-Chill, HOVR, FLOW, and many more. For Under Armour, every new store is an opportunity to push athletes further, showing them what it takes to be the best, as well as providing them with the best apparel to do just that.
Under Armour believes in the transformative power of sport to unite, inspire, and change the world. For two decades, “Protect This House” has served as a rallying cry, instilling pride and determination in athletes worldwide. It represents the unwavering commitment to push limits, achieve greatness, and embrace the “we” mindset, fostering teamwork and mutual trust. Through the unveiling of the ‘New House’ Menlyn store, the brand hopes to remind their friends of the brand, Under Armour athletes and shoppers alike, of the sense of ‘team’ and generate a welcomed feel when they step into the store.
Under Armour invites you to be part of this exceptional celebration of athleticism and innovation at the “New House” store in Menlyn Shopping Centre.
Find us at Menlyn Mall Shopping Centre, Shop G173 Menlyn, Pretoria, and experience the future of athletic excellence.
With her fourth consecutive win in the 2023 SPAR Grand Prix Series in Tshwane, two-time defending series champion Tadu Nare of Ethiopia wrapped up her third series win in a row. Meanwhile, the Tshwane leg of SPAR Women’s Challenge made a welcome return after its COVID-enforced hiatus, and thousands of women took to the roads for either a 10km or 5km outing.
When they talk about a scenic race with a stunning view, they normally don’t mean running straight up a skyscraper, but if it’s a view you’re after, then the Ponte Challenge is well worth the climb. It may not be specifically running-related, but it is an interesting fitness challenge, and in a quite iconic location in Joburg, for good measure. – By Juliana Ambrosi with Sean Falconer
They say that if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again until you do. Well, Eugene Lekay must have that advice imprinted on his psyche, because the man who has started the Comrades Marathon 21 times in the last 25 years finally earned his 10th medal in 2023 and claimed his Comrades race number 17696 in perpetuity. This is his story of a quarter of a century journey to a Green Number, with numerous challenges along the way, but also a testament to one runner’s determination to achieve his goal. – By Sean Falconer