You Take it From Here

It doesn’t matter how many times we get selected to do pacesetting duties at the big races, it is always special. From the moment we apply to pace one of these races, to when we get selected, through the training and planning to the start, the actual pacing of the race, to crossing of the finish line… the whole experience is unreal. But sometimes there is also a tinge of sadness in the race experience. – By Monique Scutte

Running To Coffee – Pretoria Edition

Uniting Passion for Running and Community: The Story of  Running To Coffee

Hey, fellow runners and enthusiasts! My name is Amish Kooverjee, and I’m thrilled to share the journey of Running To Coffee.. What began as a simple desire to blend my love for running with social interaction has blossomed into a vibrant community that celebrates health, friendship, and of course, coffee.

From Solo Runs to Social Club

At 23, fresh from studying sports science and now pursuing my honors in Biokinetics, I felt a void after stepping away from team sports. Seeking a way to fill that gap, I invited friends to join me for runs, followed by coffee, in Pretoria. Little did I know, this casual gathering would evolve into something much larger.

With my partner Paul Scrutton, we co-founded the Running to Coffee group, catering to young individuals eager to lace up and hit the pavement. Our group caters to everyone, from casual joggers to seasoned marathoners, providing a platform to challenge oneself while forging connections with like-minded souls.

Growing Together, One Stride at a Time

What started as a modest weekly gathering has burgeoned into Pretoria’s largest social running club. Thanks to the power of social media – particularly our WhatsApp group and Instagram page – our reach extended beyond Pretoria’s borders, attracting sponsors and runners from other cities.

Our diverse membership, comprising mostly young working adults and students aged 19 to 27, reflects the inclusive spirit of our club. We convene three times a week – Wednesday evenings, Friday mornings, and Sundays – offering ample opportunities for our members to bond over their shared love for running.

More Than Just a Run

The club is not only about running but also about creating a safe and enjoyable community. Running in a group is especially appealing as it offers safety and fun, which is essential in our country. We have a simple setup where people just show up and run, supported by a team of different individuals who help us by using their hobbies,  for example one of the guys that run with us, Liam Burgess, takes photos just for fun and they come out incredibly. This has helped us grow significantly through social media.

I started this club to change the perception of running and make it cool, particularly among people our age group. It’s about balancing social life with physical activity and offering a fun alternative to nights out all the time. It’s also just such a great and different way to meet people. 

Our activities extend beyond mere running; they include music, themed runs, and occasional social events. Through creative initiatives and the magic of social media, we’re redefining running as a cool, social endeavor that strikes the perfect balance between fitness and fun.

Embracing Community, Embracing Growth

For me, Running to Coffee transcends a mere hobby; it’s a passion project that has enriched my life and those of our members. It’s a testament to the power of community and the willingness of individuals to leverage their talents for collective growth.

I urge young people to step out of their comfort zones and channel their skills into meaningful pursuits.

Join Us on the Run

If you’re intrigued by our story and eager to lace up your running shoes, we invite you to connect with us on social media. Simply follow the link in our bio to join our WhatsApp community, where we share details of upcoming runs and events.

Our weekly schedule typically includes:

Wednesday: 17:00 from LC Sports Campus or Hoka

Friday: 6:00 (10km) and 6:30 (5km) from JOYN Coffee

Additional run days are announced via our WhatsApp Community Chat, ensuring you never miss an opportunity to join us on the road.

Embrace the Journey

In closing, Running To Coffee  is more than just a running club; it’s a lifestyle that celebrates health, friendship, and the simple pleasure of a post-run coffee. We invite you to join us on this journey, where every stride brings us closer together. See you on the road!

Spar Women’s Challenge Tshwane 2024 launch – entries are open

Thursday, 23 MAY 2024

Tshwane leg of SPAR Grand Prix launched

  • Top field of elite athletes expected to line up for third leg of the 2024 SPAR Grand Prix Series in the nation’s capital.
  • SPAR Women’s Challenge Tshwane 2024 Launch – Entries are open.

Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa: The Tshwane leg of the prestigious SPAR Grand Prix, part of the 2024 SPAR Women’s Challenge Tshwane was officially launched yesterday at a prestigious event held in the heart of Pretoria. This highly anticipated race is scheduled to take place on 3 August 2024, at 2 PM, at SuperSport Park in Centurion. Participants can enter online or at selected SPAR stores across the region.

This will be the third leg of the five race SPAR Grand Prix series, the largest and richest (R 2 million) women’s only road running series in the world.

The launch event was graced by prominent figures, including top athletes who will represent South Africa at the Olympic Games in Paris this August. Among the distinguished guests were Olympic hopefuls Cian Oldknow and Irvette van Zyl and celebrated Olympians LJ Van Zyl, René Kalmer, and Caster Semenya. These athletes add prestige and inspiration to the event, highlighting its importance in the South African sporting calendar. 

Ralph Rajagopaul, SPAR North Rand Marketing Executive, warmly welcomed the guests. His arrival in a SPAR2U mellow van was particularly notable; this electric vehicle demonstrates SPAR’s dedication to sustainability and a greener future, aligning with global efforts to combat climate change.

Rajagopaul commented, “The SPAR Women’s Challenge Tshwane is more than just a race; it’s a movement that celebrates and empowers women. This year, we continue our mission to support girls in developing communities, ensuring they have the resources to live healthy and fulfilled lives. We are proud to be part of this journey towards empowerment and well-being.”

The event also honoured the top runners who will participate in the SPAR Grand Prix Series, the most prestigious series of its kind on the continent. This year, the series boasts a prize purse exceeding R2 million, underlining its status as a significant event in African athletics.

The SPAR Women’s Challenge Tshwane is committed to charitable causes. This year, the focus is improving sanitary health among young girls in developing communities. In a significant gesture of support, Caster Semenya will receive the first donation of over 1000 packets of SPAR Petal Sanitary Pads. These pads will aid the numerous development programs that Semenya champions, furthering her work in empowering young women.

The campaign hashtag for this year is #ChooseYou. This theme is a mighty rallying cry for women participating in the SPAR Women’s Challenge Tshwane. It encourages women to prioritise themselves, their dreams, and their well-being amidst the demands of daily life.

Another good reason to take part in the SPAR Women’s Challenge Tshwane in August is that all women entrants over the age of 18 will be in line to win a Proton X50, a compact SUV that blends innovation and power valued at R450 000.

As the main sponsor and organiser, SPAR’s involvement extends beyond financial support. Their messaging revolves around celebrating women’s achievements, fostering solidarity among participants, and promoting a culture of empowerment. Through strategic partnerships and community engagement, SPAR reinforces its commitment to championing women’s causes and making a tangible difference in women’s lives across Tshwane.

Prudence and Akani light up the athletics weekend with world leads

By Karien Jonckheere

Both Prudence Sekgodiso and Akani Simbine produced world-leading performances over the weekend, laying down important markers in the build-up to the Paris Olympics.

Competing in her first international race of the season, Sekgodiso ran a spectacularly timed 800m at the Diamond League meet in Marrakech on Sunday night to finish in a new personal best time of 1:57.26 which was also the fastest time in the world this year. The previous best of 1:57.56 had been set by Uganda’s Halimah Nakaayi just a day earlier.

“I didn’t expect to run so fast,” admitted the 22-year-old afterwards. “Winning was in my mind but not with such a fast time. It’s crazy fast. I am so proud of myself tonight.

“Achieving a world lead and a personal best is just amazing. But I cannot say that this performance will change something for me in terms of goals and expectations. For the Paris Olympics, I will try to reach the final. I want to be in the big eight.”

Sekgodiso confirmed her next race will be in Nancy, France on 25 May before heading to the Diamond League meet in Stockholm on 2 June.

Meanwhile, over in the USA, Simbine stormed to victory in the 100m at the Adidas Atlanta City Games in a sizzlingly quick 9.90 seconds. That saw him getting the better of continental rival Ferdinand Omanyala of Kenya, who was second in 10.00. Simbine’s time not only makes him the quickest in the world so far this year but also means he has now completed a full decade of running sub-10 second times each year.

Asked if his performance puts him in the conversation regarding being the king of African sprinters, Simbine simply smiled and said: “I’ve always been part of the conversation, I never left.”

As for his ambitions this season, the 30-year-old added: “I need to get my position on the [Olympic] podium so that’s what we’re working towards and I’m focused towards that.

“South Africa is making a lot of noise in the sprints,” he added.

“There’s a lot of us, not just from South Africa but the southern region of Africa… the youth that’s coming out are really great and I’m excited to be part of the Games still and be racing against these young kids so ja, I’m looking forward to it and hoping to stay on top.”

Akani, Wayde and Tatjana head Team SA as first batch of Olympic athletes announced

By Karien Jonckheere

Akani Simbine, Tatjana Smith and Wayde van Niekerk were all among the 39 athletes who officially had their tickets to Paris confirmed for later this year when the first Olympic team announcement was made by the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic and Paralympic Committee (SASCOC) in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

Teams were announced across seven sporting codes, with two more official announcements to come in the next two months.

The athletics team is far from complete with the qualification period still open and those athletes booking their tickets via world rankings yet to be finally determined.

Among those at the team announcement on Wednesday was young 400m star Lythe Pillay, who has just returned from helping the South Africa 4x400m quartet to a silver medal at the recent World Athletics Relays in the Bahamas.

“It’s really exciting. It’s still a bit surreal,” he said of making the Olympic team. “I’m really process orientated. I’m always just fixated on training and doing what I have to do. I very seldom take time to sit back and really acknowledge what has just happened and what I’ve achieved… it’s given me more of a sense of motivation to progress and keep pushing.”

Also thrilled to have booked her trip to Paris was Cian Oldknow who is one of three women, along with Gerda Steyn and Irvette van Zyl, to have qualified in the marathon.

“Until it’s official, it’s always a bit like – ooh, are we actually going? So I think now it’s starting to sink in that I really made the team,” she said. “I’m very excited… I can’t wait for what’s coming. I’m so excited to be on the start line with all my role models.”

Meanwhile, heading the swimming team is Tokyo gold and silver medallist Tatjana Smith who will be looking to defend her 200m breaststroke title in the French capital.

 “It’s definitely nice to know it’s official,” she said after the announcement. “This is my second time going but it doesn’t make it any less exciting than the first time so I’m very excited.

“I’m feeling very motivated because you know you’re so close to the end – as in Paris, the thing that you’ve been working towards for so long. That definitely keeps you encouraged because you know there’s only about nine weeks left so that helps a lot.”

Others in the swimming team include the likes of SA’s most successful Olympian Chad le Clos, world championship medallist Pieter Coetzé and Commonwealth Games medallists Erin Gallagher and Kaylene Corbett.

The other sporting codes to have their teams announced were canoeing, climbing, gymnastics, surfing and wrestling.

Meanwhile, SASCOC announced the cash incentives that are up for grabs to South Africans who win medals in Paris. R400,000 will be awarded to gold medallists with R100,000 going to their coaches, R200 000 for silver medallists (with R50k for coaches) and R75 000 for bronze medals (R25k for coaches).

SA Olympic team so far:


Men: Pieter Coetzé (100m, 200m backstroke), Chad le Clos (100m butterfly), Matthew Sates (100m, 200m butterfly and 200m IM)

Women: Aimee Canny (200m freestyle), Kaylene Corbett (200m breaststroke), Erin Gallagher (100m butterfly), Rebecca Meder (200m IM), Tatjana Smith (100m, 200m breaststroke), Julia Vincent (diving, 3m springboard)


Men: Luxolo Adams (200m), Stephen Mokoka (marathon), Zakhiti Nene (400m), Lythe Pillay (400m), Benjamin Richardson (200m), Akani Simbine (100m), Tshepo Tshite (1500m), Wayde van Niekerk (400m), Jovan van Vuuren (long jump), Adriaan Wildschutt (5000m, 10000m).

Women: Marione Fourie (100mH), Zeney Geldenhuys (400mH), Rogail Joseph (400mH), Cian Oldknow (marathon), Prudence Sekgodiso (800m), Gerda Steyn (marathon), Irvette van Zyl (marathon)


Men: Andrew Birkett (kayak sprint), Hamish Lovemore (kayak sprint)

Women: Tiffany Koch (kayak sprint), Esti Olivier (kayak sprint)

Management: Nkosi Mzolo (coach), Janet Simpkins (manager)


Women: Caitlin Rooskrantz (artistic)

Management: Ilse Pelser (coach)


Men: Joshua Bruyns (speed climbing), Mel Janse van Rensburg (lead & boulder)

Women: Aniya Holder (speed climbing), Lauren Mukheiber (lead & boulder)

Management: Dean Bruyns (manager), John-David Muller (official coach)


Men: Matthew McGillivray, Jordy Smith

Women: Sarah Ann Baum

Management: Christopher Bond (coach), Rezar De Nicker (coach, manager)


Men: Steyn de Lange (92kg), Marias Hattingh (training partner, 79kg)

Management: Jan Roets (coach)