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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

New kids on the block Malvern Athletics Club aim to discover upcoming and emerging runners

As the 2022 running season draws ever closer, Central Gauteng Athletics (CGA) have released the list of clubs that applied to affiliate to the provincial athletics governing body and have been recommended for membership. Included on that list and dressed in a red vest and black shorts, is Malvern Athletics Club (MVA). Based in Jeppestown on the eastern ridges of the Johannesburg CBD, MVA is a community club which is the brainchild of Brian Ntombela. Originally from KwaZulu-Natal, Ntombela decided to start a club to use sport as a vehicle for change in his neighbourhood.

"The reason we had to start a new club is because we saw the need of the community of Malvern," he told #TheTopRunner. "Young people abuse alcohol, while others are busy with drugs. So we decided that because young people are not doing anything, let's sit down and see what we can do. Since I am a runner I said to myself let me sit down with a few runners that I knew around Malvern to see if it is possible for us to start a new running club, so that we can promote the sport in our area."

Malvern Athletic Club aims to unearth new runners and educate the community about the benefits of the sport. Photo Credit: Supplied.

That moment was the catalyst that set Brian into action as he galvanised his fellow Malvern runners into action on a recruitment drive. In a matter of months Ntombela and company had already recruited 40 members and even attracted some famous names such as opera singer Sibongile Mngoma. Better yet, more social runners are looking to join once the club becomes official in 2022. But Brian was only successful because of the contacts he made when he moved to Johannesburg and started running back in 2015.

"I decided to run because I was just sitting at home and not doing any sports. I felt bad. So I took my old shoes and tracksuit and started running. But I ran from 2015 to 2017 without any knowledge of where I could join a running club, where I could find races, how to train or how to meet other runners. It wasn't until I met Sindi Dlamini who connected me with her colleague (a longtime runner) and they helped me register for my first race which was the FNB JOBURG 10K CITYRUN in 2018," he explained.

Ntombela enjoying the Bobbies 21km run through the Edenvale and Greenstone in Ekurhuleni east of Johannesburg. Photo Credit: Supplied.

After that Ntombela never looked back. But the difficulties he endured while trying to find information about the sport he loved inspired him to form the club. "The vision of Malvern Athletic Club is to give people the platform to run because in my area few people know about running, especially because the area borders on an informal settlement. Those people can't access information about the sport. So our vision is to discover upcoming and emerging runners," he said.

Ntombela is calling on experience runners and novices alike to join MVA, especially those residing in the Malvern, Kensington, Jeppestown and Germiston area. Contact Ntombela on 078 355 2027 for more information.

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