Bluff resident plans to run a virtual Comrades Marathon to help the needy
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Durban - WHILE the cancellation of the Comrades Marathon has left many South Africans disappointed, a Bluff resident will be running a virtual race to raise funds to help the less fortunate in his community.
Wesley Hawkey said he was initially disappointed when he learnt the race had been cancelled due to the coronavirus, as he had been preparing since December.
“It was a bit frustrating,” he said. This would have been his third Comrades.
Hawkey will now be one of thousands of runners who will be part of the virtual run next month, and the donations he receives will go towards feeding the poor in the Bluff and providing them with food parcels.
He had initially planned to do the virtual race from 5am on the treadmill, when the actual race would have started, then from 6am to 9am run on the road – as this was the time people are allowed to exercise within a 5km radius of their homes – and then return to the treadmill for the remainder of the race.
However, after President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday night announced changes in the times people could run, Hawkey said he has had to plan the route he will be running next month, around the Bluff area.
The time he finishes will be uploaded to the Comrades Marathon Association page. The former Extreme Fighting Championship (EFC) professional fighter said his wife Tiffany was a pillar of support during this period of preparation, as she kept him motivated.
Comrades Marathon Association general manager Keletso Totlhanyo said they had received about 4 000 requests from people who wanted to be part of the virtual marathon.
She said people who entered the race would have to send through their times for them to qualify for a medal.
Addressing concerns that people could cheat, Totlhanyo said the virtual race was based on trust and they hoped runners would be honest about the times they put in, that could be submitted through various running apps.
The race has 5km, 10km, 21km, 45km to 90km distances, and athletes already registered for this year’s race, before it was cancelled, could enter for free – while new entrants in South Africa would have to pay R150, and international runners about R440.
Totlhanyo said if a person was able to get 500 people to be a part of the race on June 14, then they stood a chance of receiving part of the revenue generated on the day.