PUMA UNVEILS INNOVATIVE NITRO™ VAN

Gqeberha, 4 April 2024 – PUMA is introducing a NITRO™ VAN to enable runners to engage with the brand’s comprehensive range of NITRO™ running shoes at Absa Run Your City 10km races and at a series of 5km warm-ups.

The NITRO™ VAN, which houses about 200 pairs of running shoes, will be unveiled at the Gqeberha 10km on 7 April and will also attend future Absa Run Your City races in Cape Town (12 May), Durban (7 July), Tshwane (25 August) and Johannesburg (24 September), as well as at PUMA NITRO™ RUNS.

The PUMA NITRO™ RUNS, which take place in the lead up to the Absa RUN YOUR CITY Series 10km races, provide a platform for runners and walkers to test out PUMA’s latest range which includes the Magnify, Liberate, Velocity, Deviate and Fast-R2 NITRO™ running shoes.

PUMA’s dedicated technical team will be on-site, offering guidance to ensure every participant identifies the shoe that aligns with their unique running style and requirements. Participants in these fun 5km run/walks can also win prizes including a pair of PUMA Velocity NITRO™ 3 running shoes.

The NITRO™ VAN will also facilitate engagement with PUMA retail partners across the country.

FOURTH ANNUAL ADIDAS RACE EVENT: WORLD-CLASS ATHLETES GEAR UP FOR ADIZERO: ROAD TO RECORDS SHOWDOWN ON CAMPUS IN HERZOGENAURACH

South Africa, April 5, 2024: Today, adidas Running announces an all-star line-up of athletes, new race distances and speed-focused course updates for the fourth iteration of its annual Adizero: Road to Records event, held at the brand’s headquarters in Herzogenaurach, Germany on April 27, 2024

Renowned for attracting top-tier athletes from across the globe, this year’s line-up brings 120 world class adidas athletes from 26 countries to compete in the newly-established 800m and 1 mile races, as well as the 5K and 10K. The races will take place on a specially designed course around the adidas World of Sports campus, with the aim of pushing the limits of speed. Among the confirmed participants is the current 10KM world record holder Agnes Ngetich of Kenya, former 5KM world record holder Senbere Teferi of Ethiopia, Yomif Kejelcha of Ethiopia, Jacob Krop of Kenya and 1-mile WR holder Hobbs Kessler of United States. 

Gauteng-based middle-distance sensations, Ryan Mphahlele, and KZN-based rising star, Tayla Kavanagh, will represent South Africa in Herzogenaurach.

Ryan is force to be reckoned with in the realm of athletics, showcasing remarkable prowess across track, Cross-Country, and road racing, particularly excelling in the 5km distance. Mphahlele’s relentless pursuit of excellence sees him setting his sights firmly on the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics. Familiar with breaking barriers, Mphahlele made a significant mark at the Adizero Road to Records event in 2023, clinching 5th place while shattering the South African record in the 5km. 

Tayla Kavanagh has already carved a notable niche for herself in the realm of middle-distance running, clinching two national road running titles by the tender age of 22. Not one to shy away from breaking barriers, Kavanagh made her mark at the 2022 Adizero Road to Records event, finishing in a notable 15th place. 

For the first time, the elite race course has been updated to be entirely run on tarmac and asphalt – removing the artificial grass sections from previous years – to make it even faster for the athletes. With each lap spanning just over 1.3km in distance around iconic adidas campus buildings, including Arena, Laces and Halftime, the course is set to be a visual spectacle for both athletes and spectators alike. Viewers from around the world will be able to watch the action unfold via the live stream on the adidas Running YouTube channel – last year’s event live stream generated over 75,000 views to date.

On race day, there will be a number of special guest appearances, including adidas legend Haile Gebrselassie, adidas athlete Joan Chelimo, football legend Alessandro Del Piero and the German Paralympic Athletics team. Following the conclusion of the elite races, there will be an Adizero: Road to Records 5k Run available for public participation, welcoming adidas employees, partners, adidas Runners and members of the public.

“For athletes, runners, running fans, employees, media, influencers, sport and business partners, Adizero: Road to Records means so much more than just a day of racing; it’s a celebration of athletes and sport at its best. It honors the top performances in the elite races, and the unyielding competitive spirit at the heart of our brand, while celebrating all types of runners in the 5km run, from PBs-seekers to beginners,” said Alberto Uncini Manganelli, General Manager Running & Credibility Sports at adidas. “This event shows our relentless commitment to drive sport and performance to new, unseen and unexpected levels, to make the best products for all runners – it unites us, our teams, athletes and partners to the same mission. I’m very honored to be a part of it.”

This year, for the first time, adidas has created a limited-edition Adizero: Road to Records race pack which all athletes will be wearing on race day in honor of Agnes Tirop of Kenya. The race kit includes 8-pieces of Adizero apparel and footwear – special editions of the Adizero Takumi Sen 10 and Adizero Adios Pro 3, as well as crop-tops, shorts and singlets. The leopard print designs and bright colorways are inspired by the race kit Agnes wore at Adizero: Road to Records in 2021, when she broke the women-only 10K world record. 

The late Agnes Tirop pictured winning the women’s 10K race and breaking the women-only world record at Adizero: Road to Records in 2021

The race pack was designed with the ambition to raise awareness for the issue of gender-based violence against women and to keep Agnes’ legacy alive, with a portion of the proceeds going to Tirop’s Angels – an organization set up by family members, fellow athletes and friends of Agnes following her tragic death in 2021.

Experience fast with the Adizero franchise available from March 28, 2024 via the adidas app, online at www.adidas.co.za and selected retailers. Follow the conversation on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter using #RoadToRecords and @adidasrunning.

 

Teen talent Ramokgopa making her mark in senior ranks

By Karien Jonckheere

Tumi Ramokgopa admitted the nerves kicked in when she lined up for the 400m hurdles at the final ASA Grand Prix meet of the season in Johannesburg last week. At just 16 years old, it was only her third race against senior athletes, she explained.

But the talented teen needn’t have worried. She stormed through the field to win in a time of 57.84 seconds, just six-hundredths of a second off the personal best she set a few days before.

That personal best sees her currently sitting top in the world in the under-18 ranks and fourth on the under-20 list for the 400m hurdles.

The Paris Olympics will come too soon for Ramokgopa, but she’s set her sights firmly on the World Junior Championships in Peru this August.

“I won’t lie, I’m shocked, but I’m proud of myself. I was scared before I ran because I was like: ‘Yoh, I’m running with seniors, I’m running with women,’” but you know, sometimes age doesn’t matter so I gave it my all. And I’m just grateful to God for giving me the strength,” said a thrilled Ramokgopa after her race at UJ.

Asked what her goal for the season is, the Prestige College Hammanskraal student explained: “I’m going for the SA [junior] record in the 400m hurdles and I want to see myself at World Juniors.”

Ramokgopa is coached by George Bradley who sees plenty of potential in his young charge, thanks to her impressive work ethic.

“Her main qualities that make me excited about her future in the sport are more related to her dedication, work ethic and already having a maturity about her,” said Bradley.

“For example, I was nervous about her racing against seniors in her first season doing 400m hurdles in 2023, as she is so used to winning. But she has shown that she can race ‘like a street-fighter’ if necessary – not only a great hurdle form but real substance. Some of the training for the long hurdles can be brutal. We minimise it due to her age, but she does it with zero complaining.”

Bradley explained that Ramokgopa has progressed from the sprint hurdles to the longer event with relative ease.

“Every year she is stronger, and she has developed a tremendous instinct as a hurdler, being able to make adjustments during a race if necessary.

“Tumi is an absolute pleasure to coach as she has an ingrained work ethic, strong listening skills and yet has an independent streak which just improves her ability to complete the assignment.”

As for just how far the talented teen can go, Bradley reckoned: “What she can achieve really depends on her continued focus and ability to avoid the typical distractions of her age group. Personally, I believe she can get right to the top, not only in SA, but in the world. So much depends on her path the moment she leaves school.”

Photo by Cecelia van Bers

 

Tebogo dominates again as SA mixed relay team set new national record

By Karien Jonckheere

Botswana’s Letsile Tebogo once again provided the highlight of the night at the third and final ASA Grand Prix meet in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

The 20-year-old blitzed to the fastest time in the world this year over 200m, powering to the finish in 19.94 seconds to eclipse the early-season time of 20.17 seconds that Jamaican Oblique Seville ran in Kingston 12 days ago.

“After we ran that 44.2 [in the 400m last week] we didn’t have enough time to train, so we were just resting and then just warming up and stretching. Producing this 19.9, it shows that everything is falling into the right track,” said Tebogo afterwards.

Lining up in the same race was two-time Olympic 100m finalist Akani Simbine, making a rare appearance over the longer distance. While he finished second to Tebogo in 20.32 seconds, he was pleased with the form he showed in a race he seldom runs.

“I’m happy with the performance, happy with the race. Very conservative actually, but happy with how I ran the 200,” said Simbine afterwards. “I didn’t actually have any expectations because I haven’t run a 200 in years.

“So for me it was just come out here and just run, something which to us actually was just a training run, and see where we’re at with training… So happy with it, happy where I finished, healthy and looking forward to the season.”

In Simbine’s absence in the shorter sprint, long jumper Cheswill Johnson ran the fastest 100m time of the night, winning the first final in a time of 10.18 seconds while Tamzin Thomas won the women’s 100m in 11.48.

The South African team of Gardeo Isaacs, Amy Naude, Zakithi Nene and Zeney Geldenhuis ensured the evening ended off on a high, setting a new national record in the mixed 4x400m relay. The quartet finished in a time of 3:14.97 to get the better of Kenya and Botswana and improve on the previous national record that was set by the SA team at the African Games in Ghana just over a week ago.

“This was tricky because I also had a 400 earlier [in the pre-programme] that I also ran but… it was a good team effort, national record, qualify for world relays, then it’s a good day,” said Nene afterwards.

“It feels great, the 4×400 mixed is still a new event for us,” added Geldenhuis. “Last week in Ghana they broke the SA record and then tonight we broke it again. We’re very happy about that because we’re taking it step by step and the team gets stronger.”

Ramp your way up to better fitness with Vitality Run Series

Beginning a journey towards fitness isn’t just about breaking a sweat – it’s about igniting your passion, propelling you towards a lifestyle filled with energy and purpose. One way to do this is to incorporate race events into your fitness routine. The Vitality Run Series is one of the many race events people can take part. It’s not just about crossing the finish line; it’s about embracing a lifestyle where every stride fuels your passion for physical activity, eventually leading to a habit of regular physical activity.

Training for a fitness event like the Vitality Run Series is a great way to keep up or even start good fitness habits. Plus, you’ll also have the chance to have a lot of fun and interact with other walkers or runners.

The data backs this up. Vitality Global, in collaboration with the London School of Economics, recently released a study on habit formation. The study revealed that forming a habit to stay active prolongs your life. The research also finds that when you’re inactive and start walking at least 5,000 steps three times a week for two years, it can add up to three years to life expectancy.

“At Discovery Vitality, we want to motivate people at all fitness levels to get moving more regularly, so they can experience the physical and mental health benefits associated with regular physical activity,” says Dr Mosima Mabunda, Head of Wellness at Vitality.

“From incentivising members to participate in weekly parkrun events across the country (where both Vitality and non-Vitality members can participate) to timed race events such as the Vitality Run Series – it’s all about motivating individuals and communities to take advantage of the many exciting opportunities they have to become progressively healthier,” adds Dr Mabunda.

Take care: set goals based on where you are in your activity and fitness level. Diving into intense activity too quickly can demotivate you to keep up the activity or lead to injuries.

“It’s always best to increase your training load gradually. Getting fitter happens when you have developed a habit to train regularly. We found that slowly increasing the duration and intensity at which you exercise is key to boosting your cardiorespiratory fitness, measured as  VO2 max.

If you want to set fitness goals that build your fitness levels steadily, the year-long Vitality Run Series is a perfect way to do so in 2024. So, take a look at the calendar and plan ahead to take part in a Vitality Run Series event near you,” adds Dr Mabunda.

What is the Vitality Run Series?

The Vitality Run Series includes a total of 17 events, all of which are open to the public across the country. This set of running events promotes better health through exercise and social interaction. Held in the Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape, and Eastern Cape, these events have become hugely popular among the national running community and are also attracting more newcomers to the sport.

Dr Mabunda says, “Anyone can join in, and there are different distances to choose from. So, people of all fitness levels can challenge themselves throughout the year. You can either gradually increase the distance you run or aim to beat your previous times on the same shorter distances.”

Extra perks make the series even more motivating for Vitality members

By completing a Vitality Run Series event, Vitality members can earn points towards their Vitality status and weekly Vitality Active Rewards exercise goals:

  • 5 km and 6 km = 300 points (+ 500 bonus points)
  • 10 km or 15 km = 600 points (+ 500 bonus points)
  • 21 km = 1,500 points (+ 500 bonus points)

What’s more, when running with the Team Vitality club, Vitality members get 50% back on race entry fees in cash or Ðiscovery Miles. There are also delicious snacks, fruit, drinks, and a pink wave of kudos at the VIP hospitality area after each race!

Get extra support to train with a community of like-minded people and connect with a champion in a Team Vitality Zone or on Facebook with the Team Vitality Running Club or Team Vitality Cycling Club.

Here are the Vitality Run Series race dates for different provinces in South Africa for the remainder of the year:

  1. KwaZulu-Natal:
  2. Johannesburg:
    • Race against Cancer: 22 June 2024
    • Rockies Gerald Fox Memorial Race: 14 July 2024
    • Randburg Harriers Challenge: 28 July 2024
    • Old Eds Road Race: 11 August 2024
    • Wanderers Road Race: 25 August 2024.
  3. Garden Route:
    • George: 7 September 2024.
    • Plettenberg Bay: 28 December 2024.
  4. Tshwane:
  5. Eastern Cape:
    • Gqeberha: 12 October 2024.

Dr Mabunda concludes, “If you haven’t signed up for a Vitality Run Series race yet – sign up now. Then you can see for yourself how much fun you can have and how wonderful feeling fitter can get!”

 

https://www.discovery.co.za/vitality/vitality-run-series-2024

Munyai keeps eyes on the prize as he targets third Olympics

By Karien Jonckheere

Clarence Munyai may not have the Olympic qualifying time for the 200m in the bag just yet, but he’s confident it will come.

The former national champion ran 20.91 seconds for fourth place at the second ASA Grand Prix meet in Pretoria this week, some way off the 20.16 required, but the season has just started. And with 50 per cent of athletes qualifying for Paris through world rankings, Munyai finds himself safely within that quota for now.

“Yes, I still have to get the qualifying time, but I’m confident I’ll get it,” reckoned Munyai.

“One thing about sport that I like is you always have the next week, like you have a competition this week, then you have a competition next week. So obviously some competitions you do well, some you don’t do too well, and obviously as an athlete you learn how to pick yourself up and go to the next one,” he added.

It’s hard to believe that at just 26 years old, Munyai is gunning for his third Olympic Games, having burst onto the scene as a teenager and setting the current SA 200m record of 19.68 seconds when he had just turned 20.

For the past three years, he’s trained alongside SA 100m record holder Akani Simbine, under the watchful eye of coach Werner Prinsloo.

“He’s a really nice training partner,” Munyai said of Simbine.

“I learned a lot from him. I have my strengths, and he has his strengths, we kind of rub off on each other, and it’s nice to run with someone like him because you push each other in sessions.

“At the end of the day, that one big goal that we’re all working towards, I feel like as an athlete you need someone that has that motivation as well. I feel like it’s really good and it pushes both of us.”

Being confident in his training, Munyai can look ahead to what he would like to achieve in Paris later this year. He reached the semifinal of the 200m at the last Olympics in Tokyo but is now ready for the next step.

“Making the final, and obviously in the final anything can happen because we’ll have eight lanes and then everyone has the same opportunity. So it’s about putting the race together and executing, then everything should go to plan,” he said.

With several months to go before then, however, he pointed out: “Everything’s on track. I feel really strong, I feel fast in training, and obviously now it’s just about putting it together in a race, so that’s what I’m looking forward to. I just want to race and am looking forward to all the races now.”

GENERAL ENTRIES OPEN FOR THE ICONIC RHODES RUN

GENERAL ENTRIES OPEN FOR THE ICONIC RHODES RUN ON 29 JUNE 2024

For the first time in the race’s long history, general entries have opened for the 34th Rhodes Run taking place on Saturday, 29 June 2024. The challenging route follows roads and paths high above the historic village of Rhodes situated in the southern Drakensburg mountains of the Eastern Cape. Friday, 17 May, is the closing date for entries in this iconic trail run.

For more than three decades, entry to the Rhodes Run was strictly by invitation only. This year will see a new approach to the Rhodes Trail Run entry process. In an effort to make the Rhodes Run accessible to a broader community, a three tranche process has been instituted for the 2024 event by Rudi Hiestermann and Heather Ralph who have taken over the reins of organising the Rhodes Run from the Raubenheimers who coordinated the event for 26 years.

A first call for entries was issued to runners who received an invitation in 2023. The field was widened during phase two with invitations being sent to runners on the waiting list as at 08 July 2023. The organisers have now opened entries to any interested trail runner for the 2024 event before the closing date of 17 May 2024. The race has a limited field of 300 runners. Half the race numbers have already been filled.

Heather Ralph, the organiser of the Rhodes Run explains; “Since assuming responsibility for this incredibly special event in 2023, we want to open the opportunity for participation to all trail running enthusiasts who want to explore the exceptional beautiful scenery of the majestic Drakensberg mountains.”

“Stepping in the very large shoes left by the Raubenheimers who forged the legacy of the Rhodes Run is daunting. However, as the popularity of trail runs especially in the unspoilt areas of our country has increased exponentially, we are wanting to attract more people to the Rhodes Run and the attractions of the area by opening the entries to any interested participant. The revised entry process adopted for 2024 has already received a positive response.”

The 52km route starts and ends in the village of Rhodes. Commencing at an altitude of 1800m, the route reaches its highest point at 2680m and has an average “on top” of 2560m. The cumulative climb is approximately 1600m. Depending on the prevailing weather conditions, the trail run ascends on gravel roads then meanders along stock paths and trails through farms along the Lesotho border to just below Ben MacDhui (the second highest peak in the Eastern Cape at 3001m), before descending along the road that accessed the now closed ski resort, Tiffendell.

The idea of the race was conceived during a discussion between Rhodes property owners over a couple of drinks in 1986. The intention was to put Rhodes back on the map before it followed the same fate as other small platteland villages which faded into obscurity. This vision led to the birth of a unique event on the South African sports calendar. The first event was staged in July 1989, and was almost called off due to very heavy snow falls during the night before the event.

If the terrain does not provide enough challenge for those brave enough to tackle the Rhodes Run, the inclement weather in the Eastern Cape Highlands adds another dimension to the race experience. It is common for the temperature at the start to be below zero (usually around -10 degrees Celsius!). However, the warm hospitality of the Rhodes community and the festive atmosphere created by the participants and their families more than compensates for the cold tough conditions of the Rhodes Run.

As organisers residing permanently in Rhodes, Heather and Rudi are passionate about involving the local community in all aspects of the Rhodes Run from catering, arranging activities, hosting to crafting the components of the  goodie bags. Heather stresses, “With the support and participation of the community, we are striving to create an experience for runners and their families that is cherished in their memories and brings them back year after year.”

Testament to this is the number of repeat participants with 1177 people having completed the Rhodes Run more than three times, nine have more than 20 races under the belt with two hold the reverted Gold Race numbers of more than 30 events.

In the true spirit of trail running there are no financial prizes, other than a few floating trophies.   All the runners are treated equally with the same pre and postrace hand-outs that are sourced from craft projects in the local community.

Surrounded by magnificent mountains and pristine rivers, the Rhodes village dating back to the Victorian-era was declared a conservation area in 1997. Participants and their families can soak up the tranquil village ambience which is a fantastic weekend getaway.  The organisers have many activities planned for the weekend to keep the supporters occupied during the race.

More information is available on www.rhodesrun.co.za and race organiser, Heather Ralph, can be contacted on heather@rhodesrun.co.za

https://www.rhodesrun.co.za/enter-now/

Tebogo, Haingura and Sekgodiso light up the track at second ASA Grand Prix

By Karien Jonckheere

Botswana’s athletes stole the show at the second ASA Grand Prix meet of the season in Pretoria on Monday night.

Better known for his exploits over 100 and 200m, having medalled in both events at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest last year, Letsile Tebogo looked right at home in the 400m. The 20-year-old stormed to a comfortable victory in a new personal best of 44.29 seconds, so also securing Olympic qualification in the event.

Tebogo gave a hint of what he could do in the longer distance when he set a new world best of 30.69 seconds over 300m at the Simbine Curro Classic Shootout in Pretoria last month.

With his sights set firmly on the podium at Paris 2024, Tebogo told SuperSport: “No human is limited so you have to do everything that it takes.

“For us coming here it was just to check how the body was going to respond because we’ve been doing a lot of gym so you can see how the body runs and if I will get tired along the way.

As for what comes next, the world junior record holder over 100m added: “The plan for now, I think we’re going to rest for a week or two because it shows that the speed is there… the other plan for the Diamond Leagues is just to run and get used to them so that we cannot be scared when we meet in Paris at the Olympics.”

Earlier in the evening, Tebogo’s compatriot, Hethobogile Haingura claimed an Olympic qualifying time of his own in the men’s 800m.

A man on a mission to get to Paris, Haingura took to the front immediately and completed the two-lap event in 1:43.94, well under the required time, and also slicing a second and a half off his PB in the process.

The man from Botswana probably didn’t realise it at the time, but he had run the fastest ever 800m time on South African soil. The previous mark of 1:44.57 set back in 1996 in Cape Town belonged to Marius van Heerden, who sadly died of Covid in January 2021.

As Haingura collapsed to the track after his race, he was embraced by his elated training partner, Prudence Sekgodiso, who also produced an impressive performance in the women’s 800m on Monday night, dipping under the two-minute mark once again to take the win in 1:59.93. The 22-year-old South African set a new personal best of 1 minute 58.05 over 800m just a few weeks ago in Pretoria to also book her ticket to Paris.