Comrades champion Kelehe looking for a new club.
Updated: Jan 31, 2021
Former Comrades Marathon champion Gift Kelehe is looking for a new running club. Having parted ways with Entsika Running Club, the pint-sized star searching for a new running home. Yesterday, Kelehe was unveiled as the newly launched Two Cities Ultra Marathon's ambassador alongside Lizzy Babili. The marathon is set to take place virtually over three distances; namely 10km, 21km, and 45km on 14 March.
Kelehe works as a physical training facilitator at the Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), says he will take on the 45km distance in Dullstroom, Mpumalanga, as part of his Comrades Marathon preparations. But as confusion abounds over whether or not The Ultimate Human Race will take place this year, Kelehe is critical of athletics administrators for leaving runners in the lurch.
The man from Taung in the North West province is not one to shy away from voicing his opinion. He complained about Athletics South Africa's (ASA) decision to suspend races until further notice due to the second wave of the Coronavirus. Kelehe said administrators do not understand the plight of runners.
"ASA treat athletics like an amateur sport. We are not amateurs and treat ourselves as professionals, but the federation sees it differently. Elite runners are frustrated because they do not know how to qualify for the Comrades or other races. It's frustrating. Other runners make a living out of the sport, but the federations are not helping. It is time to put the athletes first and serve them and put their interest after," said a furious Kelehe.
Although the 2015 Comrades Marathon winner does not know if the world's most loved ultra marathon will take place this year, he continues working hard with his coach John Hamlett to stay in shape. Plans for a high altitude training camp in Mpumalanga are going ahead. "We have arranged everything for the camp, even though they are no guarantees that the marathon will take place," he told #TheTopRunner.
But he says the lack of sponsorship keeps him awake at night. He is pleading for any club to come to his aid. The modest runner said he would welcome any form of sponsorship during these difficult times of the Covid-19 pandemic. "I am looking for sponsors, and I know that it is hard to sponsor a runner when they are no guarantees of races. But I am hoping that someone will come to my rescue. Please help me. I am a top runner in need of sponsorship," he implored.
Despite not being a fan of virtual races, Kelehe took on the role of being an ambassador for the new Two Cities ultra marathon because it is a cause that is close to his heart. "I have never run in a virtual marathon, and I have turned down opportunities to take part in them because I prefer the real thing. But I will do this race to honour the Covid-19 heroes," explained Kelehe.
The marathon partnered with the Department of Sports, Arts, and Recreation in Gauteng. Runners must nominate their Covid-19 heroes and run for them. Those interested in running their chosen distance can register online at www.twocities.co.za. The entry fee is 10km – R60; 21km – R70; R45km – R90. T-shirts – R80; Buffs – R70; Entries will be available up to and including event day 14 March 2021. They will adhere to that all Covid-19 protocols.
All the proceeds generated from the race will go to charity.