New 50km race comes to AGN in 2023! Tshwane North Ultra Marathon 'in a league of their own'
Given the the size of Athletics Gauteng North and thousands of runners in the province, it's hard to believe that the newly unveiled Tshwane North Ultra Marathon is the first of it's kind. Although famous ultra distance races such as City to City have been run in that part of the nation's capital before, this 50km race which takes place on the 22nd of April 2023 is the first to be run exclusively within the limits of the regional federation, while holding the honour of being the only single lap ultra marathon in Gauteng.
"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 and to further benchmark against other similar Ultras in the Country," explained Race Organizing Committee Representative Mahlomola 'Hloks' Lebea.
Lebea who is well known as an integral part of the Madoko Training Camp (MTC) has been involved in running for years as the right hand man of Madoko Ndhlovu a much loved marathon and ultra-distance pacer and coach who has helped many transform from couch potato into a Comrades finisher. Lebea says this initiative which is being put together as a collaborative effort between Atteridgeville Athletics Club, Addicted to Life Multisports and Lifestyle Club and Madoko Athletics Club was borne out of the work by the MTC to support runners in the Tshwane North area.
"Having hosted a number of successful 50km to 70kms training runs in the past years, the reality is that at some point there was going to be a need to host an official Ultra Marathon. Madoko AC which Coach Madoko belongs to as an athlete, forms part of the broader MTC. However, the idea behind hosting the Ultra although it was that of Coach Madoko. It was made possible by the partnership between three clubs. The success of the Ultra is the responsibility of the three clubs, and everyone will be indirectly or directly involved in the planning and execution of this event."
And for anyone who has ever tried a training run or shorter race in the northern part of Tshwane, they will know that there is no avoiding the Magaliesburg Mountain range which run from Pretoria westwards to Rustenburg. Lebea reveals that those aiming to use the Tshwane North Ultra Marathon as part of their Comrades Marathon preparation will be happy to hear that the route which was officially measured by World Athletics Measurer Norrie Williamson, is full of hills.
"The 50km is the most exciting one, just after 10km runners must expect to fight off the Hornsnek hill (we call it Rankakata). At its highest point, runners have a view of both Pretoria North and Pretoria West, a spectacular view of the Magalies Mountains which is not to be missed. So far we are in our own league as we will be the only Gauteng Single Lap Ultra Marathon. We are aiming at the race to become of the International events and well known Gauteng Events. For the inaugural event, if we can at a minimum exceed the expectations of the entrants, we would have achieved our first goal," he said.