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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

'I haven't come here to jog' - Seme ready to shine at sold out City 2 City

That a race which hasn't been held since 2015 could sell out in two months is testament to the strength of it's history and the commitment of Gauteng's ultra-marathoners. Organisers of the The City 2 City 50km have confirmed that the target of 2000 participants for the ultramarathon which will be run from the Centurion Rugby Club in Pretoria to the Wanderers Sports Club in Johannesburg was reached just two weeks after the race was officially launched.

It is a feather in the cap of the organisers who decided to revive this popular event which has been won by such household ultramarathon running names as Comrades and Two Oceans Gold Medalist Johannes Kekana and multiple Comrades gold medalist Prodigal Khumalo. And one man who will be looking to join those Comrades Gold medalists by counting himself as a City 2 City winner is Skhumbuzo Seme. The man who took eleventh place at last year's Comrades Marathon is looking forward to the race.

Seme on his way to an 11th place finish at the 2023 Comrades Marathon. Photo Credit: Hollywood AC.

"I first heard about this race around December. There were rumours that it would be coming back, although we weren't sure of the date. So from then as I was writing my plans for 2024, I told the club that I wanna do that race. The race will form part of my Comrades preparations. I chose it because it is hilly and this year's Comrades is an Up Run so it will be good preparation," explained the Hollywood Athletics Club top runner.

Like Seme, the thousands of social runners who will take up the 50km challenge, will be doing so largely as part of their overall training towards The Ultimate Human Race on the 9th of June. Unlike Seme though, most will not be aiming to to grab a share of the over R1 million in prize money on offer in the 50km race. Thanks to the Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation, the event which is organised as a joint effort between Central Gauteng Athletics, Athletics Gauteng North and Athletics South Africa will be handing out R200 000 winner's cheque on Sunday 31 March.

"Even though this is part of my training, I haven't come here to jog. I'm here to run. I'm here to work because we all need money. My aim is to finish on the podium and also win prize money because when you have money in your pocket it is a good motivation to train well. I am an ultramarathon specialist but I also compete over shorter distances like 10km because these days you need to constantly work on your speed so that you have speed endurance," said the man who was selected to represent South Africa at the 2023 IAU World 50km Championships in India.

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi flanked by Gauteng MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation Morakane Mosupye and ASA President James Moloi. Photo Credit: Premier's Social Cohesion Games.

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi says the decision to revive City 2 City is part of the province's overall strategy to use sport as a force for good which is why the 2024 City 2 City Marathon forms part of Gauteng's Social Cohesion Games. "We put all of these resources because investment in sport is investment in the future. My task is very simple: Gauteng must rock! We can't be on a downward slope forever. So that's what we are doing. We are repositioning this province as a province of opportunity, but most importantly as a province that is at work. Less talk, more work."

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