By Warrick Smith
The annual Grahamstown Night Race, sponsored by Albany Sports Club, was held on Wednesday March 7. It drew the fastest and most talented long distance runners from around the Eastern Cape.
The race was originally planned to be 10km long. It had to be shortened because of complications between the organisers and the Eastern Province Athletics Association. The race had to be altered into an 8km course and also had to be designated as a ‘fun-run’ and not a ‘race’.
Although the distance was shortened, the Albany Sports Club still gave the initially advertised prize money for the winners, lucky draw prizes and as always, a pineapple to each finisher.
Despite the shortened distance, much fun was held by all, from Rhodes students to school children. Emma Dempster, a fourth year law student in the women’s category, commented, “Even though the distance was shortened the race was really enjoyable, I had a great run and it feels wonderful to have come 9th”.
The Rhodes Athletics Club’s Road Running Captain, Kate Selwood, said, “The Albany Night race is a big event in terms of running for Grahamstown. It’s always a major hit and there’s no other event like it because everyone receives a pineapple at the finish.”
A week after the 8km Night Race, the inter-res Round the Block event took place with the various houses battling it out to be named the fastest.
The event involves a team of 4 in which each runner completes a 1,6km lap and ‘tags’ their teammate who then does their lap. The team that completes the relay in the fastest time wins.
This year’s fastest male house was Cory/Matthews house, followed closely by Salisbury and in third place was Piet Retief house. The fastest women’s house was Thomas Pringle house, then the girls from Milner house and coming in third place, last years winners, Oriel House.
Andrew Theron, the Jan Smuts Sports Representative, said, “I was pretty disappointed with our house because we were winning after the first two laps but then we just couldn’t keep with the pace and we ended up 4th.”
Although the race was heartbreaking for some houses, others found it to be a great success and many expressed their thanks to the Athletics club for organising an enjoyable event.
Selwood also mentioned that there would be a charity event for Cancer on the March 24 which she urged people to take part in. “The event is the annual 24 hour run for charity and it is really a great benefit, just donate R5 and you will get 10 minutes around the track. You can also choose to do it at anytime even after your Friday night out”, said Selwood. People can find out more information as well as sign up for the 24 hour run from outside Eden Grove and the library at 11:25am to 2:00pm all week.