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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

'Its a real taste of what you are going to get at Comrades' - Kelehe gives TNU 50km thumbs up

The leadership of road running in Gauteng North has welcomed the addition of a new 50km event in the province saying that they approved the race because it will boost sports tourism in the province. With exactly thirty days to go to the first running of The Tshwane North 50km, race organisers hosted a media launch (23 March 2023) at the Akasia Municipal Offices where Thokozani Ntuli who serves on the Athletics Gauteng North (AGN) Road Running Commission praised organisers for taking this innovative step.

Gift Kelehe celebrates after winning the 2015 Comrades Marathon as his brother Andrew Kelehe did before him. After an absence Gift will be running the 90km race again this year and says the TNU 50km will form part of those preparations. Photo Credit: Comrades Marathon Association Media.

“When we saw this application, we saw that it is a partnership between three clubs which are registered under AGN. The idea that they came up with is quite big because we didn’t have a 50km race on our calendar. Before we had City to City but that was long ago. Another milestone about this marathon is that it’s one lap. So we decided to support them,” said Ntuli.

The race which takes place on 22 April 2023 at the Akasi Community Hall is a collaborative effort between Atteridgeville Athletics Club, Addicted to Life Multisports and Lifestyle Club and Madoko Athletics Club and was borne out of the work by the MTC to support runners in the Tshwane North area. Chairperson of the Organizing Committee Mahlomola “Hloks” Lebea says it is a race for ultra runners by ultra runners.

Chairperson of the Organizing Committee Mahlomola “Hloks” Lebea says they are happy to have sponsors such as Albany and Tranquil Water on board and hope to announce more. Photo Credit: Lifutso Mabua.

"Having hosted a number of successful 50km to 70kms training runs under the auspices of the Madoko Training Camp (MTC) in the past years, the reality is that at some point there was going to be a need to host an official Ultra Marathon. Gauteng holds the highest number of licensed road runners, the majority of whom are long distance runners, however there are only a limited number of official Ultras in the province. We have incorporated the half marathon to bring excitement to the event,” explained Lebea.

But it’s not just an event focussed on the social runners. Because the 50km route is run on a testing course with over 600m in elevation and measured by World Athletics certified route measurer Norrie Williamson, the TNU 50km is the perfect training run for top runners targeting Comrades glory. 2015, 2019 and 2022 Comrades Champions Gift Kelehe, Edward Mothibi and Tete Dijana have all confirmed their participation for the race which includes a 21km event and carries a total prize purse of R98 000.

Members of the TNU 50km Executive Committee pose with race ambassadors (Edward Mothibi, Gift Kelehe and Thabang Madiba) and AGN Road Commission members at the launch of the 2023 TNU 50km. Photo Credit: Lifutso Mabua.

"I’ll be be using the race as one of my training runs because we do have some races on the programme where you are not pumping but you use just to check the level of fitness and see what it is that you are lacking and where you can improve. Take it easy and be be real because this course is not an easy course. It’s giving you an opportunity to see how far are you and it’s giving you the real taste of what you are going to get at Comrades," said Kelehe.

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