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
Tekkie Town is introducing a specialised concept to their stores!
Selected stores nationwide are being revamped to include performance sports products including running, football, trail, and court footwear and clothing range in their stores!
This means that more of your favourite road and trail running brands will be available under the Tekkie Town banner, and not only that, sales staff have been carefully selected and provided with specialist training from the brands themselves ensuring, the staff have an in-depth knowledge of the technical benefits and attributes of the brand and shoe style.
Now for the best news! We are giving two lucky Modern Athlete Readers the chance to win a R5000 Tekkie Town voucher, for you to experience the full offering of what Tekkie Town is bringing offering to the running community!
To enter please full out the form below!
Zeney van der Walt put her body to the ultimate test, running the 400m hurdles and 400m just over two hours apart at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary on Monday night. The Commonwealth Games bronze medallist first booked a place in the semifinals of the 400m hurdles by finishing fifth in her heat in a time of 55.21. Only the top four gained automatic qualification, but her time was quick enough to see her through as one of the fastest losers. Not long after Van der Walt was back on the track for the 400m semifinal, where she finished in eighth place in 51.54
“I’m tired, but I’m happy to have been part of the semifinals of the 400m,” she said after completing her mammoth task for the day. Asked if she was still happy with the decision to double up in both events, she added: “Yes definitely. We’re using this as a stepping stone here in a year where I can challenge myself physically and mentally.”
As for what she did between the two races to recover, Van der Walt explained: “My coach had a recovery strategy just by keeping my legs cold, ice bath, and then just run-throughs.” Focus now shifts to Tuesday’s 400m hurdles semifinals. “I must go out and give it my all, because it’s all or nothing, so I’m looking forward to the race. It’s going to be tough but I’m in for that.”
Earlier in the evening, Miré Reinstorf found it tough going in pole vault qualification. The 21-year-old went into the event with a personal best of 4.15m – which she achieved on her way to winning the world junior title in 2021, but the opening height of the competition was set at 4.20m, which she failed to clear on all three attempts.
“I was prepared for it. I knew it was my PB by 5cm so I had to mentally prepare for that. So I told my coach yesterday, I actually forgot about the fact that it is my PB, I’m just going to go for it, give it my all,” said Reinstorf. “I really think I did, I put in a lot of work and I think there wasn’t anything else I could do and it was very close… but it was a very good experience and I think this just motivates me to work harder so that I can qualify for the next championships.”
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Our team on the ground at Budapest have been interviewing all South African athletes after their respective events. To get an inside view into strategy and their thoughts on their performances, click the button below to see for yourself what it takes to compete on a world stage!
Watch Day Three's Highlights!
Just four years ago, Miranda Coetzee could never have wrapped her head around the fact that she’d be an international track athlete.
It was only in 2019 that the former netballer decided to take athletics seriously and started training in earnest. Since then, Coetzee has been lowering her personal best times with regularity and is now on the cusp of competing at her second World Athletics Championships.
“To be honest, I never thought that I would make the national team or I would be going to world champs and all that, so I’m very happy with where I am right now,” she admitted.
The PUMA athlete made a statement earlier this year by claiming a 200-400m double at the South African Championships in Potchefstroom – both in personal best times. Since then she’s dipped under the 51-second mark over 400m for the first time this June in Spain. The 25-year-old reckons racing in Europe over the last few months has been an excellent learning experience.
“One thing that I never did before was analysing my races, so having a lot of races in Europe actually helps you see the mistakes that you made in previous races and you’re able to correct them in the next race,” she explained.
“Also being able to compete with people that I will be competing with at world champs gave me a heads up to see where I am. I’m also happy that my times improved a lot.”
Coetzee made her World Championships debut in Oregon last year where she finished 41st overall in the 400m heats after running a time of 53.30. She’ll certainly be looking to improve on that when this year’s championships kick off on Saturday in Budapest.
“Last year I was actually new to everything so everything was a learning experience for me. I was a bit scared, and I wasn’t strong mentally. I’ve learnt to be strong and take each race or competition as it comes, I believe in myself more than I did last year, so I really hope I make a difference this year.”
The World Athletics Championships take place in Budapest from 19-27 August with the women’s 400m heats set to be contested on Sunday morning.
Between September 2019 and July 2021, Rupert van Vuuren averaged a marathon a day for 658 consecutive days, in a remarkable running challenge that saw him cover some 28,000 kilometres as he ran for a cause close to his heart. Of course, he had to overcome numerous challenges along the way, from coping with injuries and exhaustion, and replacing multiple pairs of shoes, to rushing around to join club runs and balancing running with work and time with the family. And even though he didn’t get to his target of 1000 consecutive marathon, this story is well worth the read. – By Sean Falconer
Move The Nation, an organisation that seeks to foster a culture of running and healthy living in South Africa, is back in 2023 with a new event, The Impact Run! Designed to get you up and moving, the ethos behind the race is to bring health to the forefront and make it a priority for all, which is something that we at Modern Athlete can get fully behind!
To understand more about the race we chat with well-known runner, and co-founder of Move the Nation, Peteni Kuzwayo.
He explains that the messaging behind the organisation is to encourage people to move forward, in health and in life. Both he and his business partner, Kabelo Mabalane believe, exercises like running are crucial to this.
The more we move and get better conditioned, the more we become crucial assets to ourselves (wellness) and acquire greater individual agency to contribute. Impact Run is a dedicated calendar day paying tribute to those that have chosen movement, future fit choices, and contribution to society using the unique (rare and novel) opportunity of running through the streets of Sandton – the Richest Square Mile in Africa – to create collective Impact!
So if you too believe that running or walking is the next step for you, you are invited to join!
Happening on the 5th of August at Wanderers Stadium, this race’s ethos is about creating an Impact through our favourite form of movement, running! This race is all about wellness, both in how we move, and our mental health when we don’t. Whether you are a walker, a runner, or just someone who loves following those who do, this event is all about embracing the wellness journey!
Offering 21km, 10km and 5km options there is a distance for everyone… whether you are just starting out, or looking for your next challenge to step up to, or gunning for a new best, this race has something for everyone. And there will be plenty to look forward to after your run or walk, too, as DJ Zinhle hits the decks . This is one party you don’t want to miss!
There are two ways to enter the 2023 Impact Run, either as an individual runner or as a team of four!
Entry Fees: (Teams of 4):
- 21km: R275 per team member.
- 10km: R225 per team member.
- 5km: R175 per team member.
Entry Fees: (Individual)
- 21km: R275
- 10km: R225
- 5km: R175
And there is an AMAZING Prize up for Grabs
If you fancy a holiday for you and three of your running mates, listen up: One team of four stands the chance of winning a trip to Ibiza to run the Ibiza Marathon, Half or 12km! Each of you will have the opportunity to take in all that the incredible Ibiza Race Tour has to offer, on the sunny Spanish island in the Mediterranean Sea, with a a trip valued at R40,000! All you need to do is get your teammates together and enter the Impact Run!
The name of the Two Oceans Marathon was only adopted for the third edition of the race, and it required some serious brainstorming and debate to arrive at the now-famous name. – By Sean Falconer
After two successful editions of the Celtic 35 Mile Road Race in 1970 and 1971, Celtic Harriers agreed to make it an official club event, and authorised Dave Venter to look for a sponsor for the 1972 race. His employers, BP Southern Africa, declined the opportunity, and that saw Venter approach a keen supporter of the race, Bryan Grieve of The Argus newspaper, who introduced him to The Argus Promotions Department. The newspaper agreed to sponsor the race, with the proviso that it had a definite Cape flavour.
This led to a meeting of Celtic Harriers members at the Grand Hotel in Strand Street, Cape Town, to discuss a new name for the event. Among the suggestions tabled was Harold Berman’s ‘Inter Oceans Marathon,’ while Venter proposed ‘Oceans to Oceans,’ but it was eventually Noel Stamper who came up with the winning name, the ‘Two Oceans Marathon.’ This new name was welcomed by The Argus, who agreed to publicise the race, print race numbers and certificates for finishers, and present a new trophy for the winner. Thus the race became known as The Argus Two Oceans Marathon.
Putting Plans in Place
Next Venter formed a Celtic Harriers sub-committee, comprising John Masureik, Noel Stamper and himself, to plan the race and handle negotiations with sponsors and partners. This included another meeting at the Grand Hotel, where the Lions Club agreed to organise various refreshment and activity stalls at Brookside on race day. Furthermore, the Celtic Harriers team wanted spectators at Brookside to be kept entertained, so they organised a programme of sports events, including seven-a-side rugby and a demonstration of para-sports. It was decided to make two trophies available for the ‘Fastest Last Lap’ of the field at Brookside, one for veterans (40 and older), and one for non-veterans.
The sub-committee undertook to advertise the race to runners from other provinces, buying up postcards with Terence McNally’s portraits of the Cape and sending them to runners all over the country. This resulted in a record number of 115 entries, including runners from Laingsburg, East London, Durban, Pietermaritzburg and Johannesburg, and even two entries from Botswana and one from Australia.
At the post-race prize-giving, His Worship the Mayor of Cape Town, Dick Friedlander, told the runners that the Two Oceans Marathon was quickly growing into a Cape Town tradition, and this sentiment was echoed by The Argus committing to another year’s sponsorship. Meanwhile, the runners themselves also gave the race their wholehearted approval. As Boet Rabie of East London put it, “Your race has everything, and after the wonderful time we had, you can rest assured of a good entry from East London in future years.” Roland Davey of Durban summed it up in even fewer words: “A long distance to travel, but well worth the effort.”
A Hotly Debated Topic
Some believe that Cape Point at the southern tip of the Cape Peninsula is where the warm Agulhas Current flowing down from the tropics in the Indian Ocean meets the cold Benguela Current flowing up from Antarctica in the Atlantic Ocean. Meanwhile, others maintain that they meet at the southernmost point of the African continent, Cape Agulhas, about 175km south-east of Cape Town
The Two Oceans Marathon has always had one foot in either ocean. This is because the race runs past the warmer waters off Muizenberg, Kalk Bay and Fish Hoek on the eastern side of the Peninsula, then passes the much colder waters off Noordhoek and Hout Bay on the western side. Ask any runner who has stopped for a dip along the way and they will tell you there is a big difference in temperature between east and west!
As a result, while the International Hydrographic Organisation officially recognises the waters of False Bay as part of the Atlantic Ocean, the Two Oceans Marathon prefers to think of the False Bay side of the route as the ‘Atlantic Ocean touched by the Indian Ocean.’ Meanwhile, given the debate over where the two oceans actually meet – Cape Point versus Cape Agulhas – there have been people who objected strongly to the name of the Two Oceans Marathon. As former Celtic Harriers Club Secretary Harold Berman explains, “The event was actually threatened with legal action twice in the 1980s, unless we agreed to change the name of the race. These weren’t actual lawsuits, just a threat to issue summons, because we were told that we were assuming incorrectly that the two oceans met at Cape Point. We never argued that point, but felt that the name of the event should stay.”
There is nothing quite like getting a big dataset in one’s hands and playing around with the numbers. I analysed the Comrades Marathon stats and found something that really surprised me. – By Stuart Mann
On Sunday 11 June, the Comrades Marathon will once again take to the roads between Pietermaritzburg and Durban, for the 96th edition of the Ultimate Human Race. As the thousands of runners tackle the 87.7km route, many will look to the guidance of the official Comrades Marathon Pacesetters to help them reach the finish within their target time, by hopping on to a pacing ‘bus’ led by these pacesetters.
The Comrades Pacesetters are all volunteers who regularly pace in races all over South Africa, under the auspices of one or more of the provincial pacesetting organisations. Being selected as a Comrades Pacesetter is considered a prestigious honour amongst the pacesetting community, and all the selected athletes have proven their pacing ability, fitness and reliability in the months leading up to Comrades. All of the Comrades Pacesetters have run the race a number of times before, and many have paced at Comrades before as well, so they bring a collective wealth of experience to the job.
While unofficial pacing has been part of the Comrades for many years, official pacing busses were first introduced to the race in 2003, with nine-time winner Bruce Fordyce (sub-9 Hours) amongst those first seven pacesetters, who led sub-9, sub-11 and sub-12 buses. Since then the pacing buses have become a big part of the Comrades Marathon, with the sub-12 buses in particular proving hugely popular as runners desperately try to beat the final cut-off, and many bus drivers are known for their singing, chanting and joking, which helps the runners get through the hard kilometres.
As per strict rules introduced at the beginning of 2019 by Athletics South Africa (ASA), there is a clear difference between ‘pacing,’ which benefits contenders for prizes, versus ‘pacesetting,’ which is aimed at slower, non-contenders. Pacing is only allowed when officially sanctioned by athletics officials (national or provincial), while pacesetting is allowed as long as the race organiser has approved it. In this case, the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) has once again given permission for the official Comrades Pacesetters to carry flags in the Ultimate Human Race, and runners should take note that these are the only official pacesetters in the race.
Each bus driver will carry a distinctive flag denoting their target time, ranging in 30-minute intervals from sub-9 to sub-12, so that runners can easily spot them, hop on the bus of their choice, and rely on the Pacesetter to guide them home on time. This year, for the first time, the CMA has agreed to produce the flags that the bus drivers will carry, and Mr Price has come on board as well to kit the Pacesetters out for the Comrades Expo. (They will still run the race in their club colours.) Modern Athlete magazine is an official media partner of the Official Comrades Pacesetters, and will thus feature the Pacesetters in the mag before and after the race.
Tried and Trusted Pacers
The list of 2023 Comrades Pacesetters once again includes some well-known and highly experienced stalwarts of previous years, as well as a few new faces. Several important factors were taken into consideration in the selection process, including previous Comrades record, knowledge and experience of the route and distance, as well as historical pacesetting record, consistency and ability to lead a group home.
In the list below, they are arranged according to the target time they will be aiming for, and the list includes their name, home province, number of Comrades medals (for completing the race), and the number of times they have officially paced before in the Comrades. (Please note that where it says the runner is making their pacing debut, that pertains specifically to the Comrades. All are highly experienced Pacesetters, with many pacing races under their belts.)
SUB-9:00 (Bill Rowan medal)
Joe Faber (KwaZulu-Natal) – 24 Comrades (3 as Pacesetter)
Lizo Siko (Gauteng) – 3 Comrades (Making pacing debut)
SUB-9:30 (Safe Robert Mtshali medal)
Johan van Tonder (Gauteng) – 20 Comrades (11 as Pacesetter)
Nkosinathi Singonzo (Free State) – 3 Comrades (Making pacing debut)
SUB-10:00 (Robert Mtshali medal)
Maropeng George Mojela (Limpopo) – 12 Comrades (5 as Pacesetter)
Sbusiso Mlangeni (Gauteng) – 5 Comrades (2 as Pacesetter)
Wendy Mangena (Gauteng) – 11 Comrades (Making pacing debut)
SUB-10:30 (Safe Bronze medal)
James Nkosi (KwaZulu-Natal) – 14 Comrades (1 as Pacesetter)
Tankiso ‘Moss’ Seabo (Free State) – 5 Comrades (1 as Pacesetter)
Youssef Kanouni (Western Province) – 9 Comrades (1 as Pacesetter)
SUB -11:00 (Bronze medal)
Jeff Ramokoka (Gauteng) – 22 Comrades (8 as Pacesetter)
Tumo Mokhatla (Free State) – 6 Comrades (1 as Pacesetter)
Ashraf Orrie (Western Province) – 7 Comrades (Making pacing debut)
SUB-11:30 (Safe Vic Clapham medal)
Rahuma Lucas Seleka (Limpopo) – 14 Comrades (4 as Pacesetter)
Shaunie Maregele (Western Province) – 16 Comrades (Making pacing debut)
Frans Ramoshaba (Mpumalanga) – 1 Comrades (Making pacing debut)
SUB-12:00 (Vic Clapham medal)
Shahieda Thungo (Gauteng) – 5 Comrades (4 as Pacesetter)
Lazarus Malebana (Gauteng) – 12 Comrades (1 as Pacesetter)
Sibusiso Mthembu (Gauteng) – 4 Comrades (Making pacing debut)
Where to Find the Pacesetters
The Pacesetters for each bus will aim to run the whole race together, and runners looking to join a bus early in the race will find them in the following seeding pens at the race start in Pietermaritzburg:
SUB-9:00 – Front of C Batch
SUB-9:30 – Back of C Batch
SUB-10:00 – Front of D Batch
SUB-10:30 – Back of D Batch
SUB-11:00 – F Batch
SUB-11:30 – G Batch
SUB-12:00 – H Batch
Please note: Given the nature of the challenge of the Comrades Marathon, runners can fall ill or pick up an injury near to race-day, and should there be any changes in the line-up of Pacesetters, Modern Athlete will post updated info on social media, and the provincial pacesetting organisations will also publicise any updates on their platforms.
For more info…
For more info on the official 2023 Comrades Pacesetters, please make contact with Joe Faber, Chief co-ordinator of the 2023 Comrades Pacesetting team, on 072 180 3769 or email@example.com.
If you would like to know more about becoming a pacesetter, you can contact one of the pacesetting organisations via their Facebook groups:
- Gauteng Pace Setters (GPS) – facebook.com/Gauteng-Pace-Setters-GPS-1205368806168863
- Western Province Pace Setters (WPPS) – facebook.com/groups/314436651950192
- Kwazulu Natal Pace Setters (KZNPS) – facebook.com/Kwazulu-Natal-Pace-Setters-KZNPS-225009847902692
This media release was compiled by Sean Falconer, Editor of Modern Athlete magazine. He can be contacted on 083 273 6289 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Photo by Tobias Ginsberg.
Being injured, I’ve had plenty of time to write about my favourite sport while enjoying my favourite beverage, and that’s why this column is on how my big, fat beer belly helps explain quarterly objectives – Stuart Mann