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New Race Alert! Adreach Alex 10k coming to CGA on 21 March 2024

Not for decades has there been a race in Alexandra Township. But that all changed this morning when the Run Alex Athletics Club announced that they will be hosting the very first Adreach Alex 10k on the 21st of March 2024. And it is perhaps fitting that as one of South Africa's oldest townships, the first official Central Gauteng Athletics (CGA) sanctioned road race to take place in the township that was established in 1912 should happen on Human Rights Day. Run Alex AC Chairperson Lebo Mogotlane says this is simply part of the club's broader vision of injecting some positivity and transforming the image of an area which is better known for crime than uplifting social and community events.

The Run Alex 8km and 5km Fun Run which took place on 21 March 2023 has grown into a fully-fledged race to take place on the same date in 2024. Photo Credit: Run Alex.

"We want to be more than just a running club," she told members of the media during interviews after the launch which took place at the Alexandra Plaza. "As much as it doesn't look good, but we do have good. We do have people with dreams that can change the narrative around our community. We are giving the kids a chance to say try running and do some reading and see what it's about," she explained shortly after announcing that 50 members of the local Community Policing Forum and the Johannesburg Metro Police will marshal the event on race day to ensure the runners' safety.

Boasting over 60 juniors who are mentored by coach Ronnie Ndlovu, the club which started as a training group in 2018 and then was officially registered as a club in 2020, wants to use this race as a vehicle for change as they have been doing through their junior development programme which includes a reading initiative. It's a vision that is shared by their headline sponsor Adreach who have signed on for three years. Zuza Mbatha who attended the launch on behalf of the street pole ads company says Alex has always been close to their heart.

Mogotlane and Adreach Business Development Manager Zuza Mbatha unveil the new race. Photo Credit: Tumelo Mabua.

"The community of Alexandra is very close to our hearts because it is the foundation of our business. When we started in 1998 through an initiative called adopt a light in partnership with the City of Joburg, we started that initiative specifically to address the need for street lights in Alexandra which for a long time was known as Dark City. So it's a place that reminds us where we started. So when the opportunity came to partner with Run Alex Athletics Club we were very excited and we were able to grab it because we know it's going to help to uplift and revive the Alexandra tourism," he said of the race which will start and finish at the Alexandra Plaza on First Avenue.

Aside from wanting to make a positive contribution to the local community, the Adreach Group's decision to sponsor this new race for three years was also based on the success of the Run Alex 8km and 5km Fun Run which took place on Human Rights Day earlier this year. On that occasion Adreach had simply donated space on their street pole ads. But having seen what Run Alex can do, they have now signed up as a platinum sponsor. Mogotlane says the community has also seen what they can do and so with word getting around to local schools they are expecting many children to run the 5km, while runners from clubs outside of Alexandra are encouraged to come and see Gomora in a new light.

Lebo Mogotlane who is born and bred in Alexandra says they want to use the Adreach Run Alex 10k to show people that there are good things in the township which is better known for crime. Photo Credit: Tumelo Mabua.

"Our main aim is to get people that have never been to Alex to actually experience it. But not just that, the fun run we hosted had a lot of runners who already belong to clubs. We want to show the community that this is something that they can also do. So after the fun run a lot of people saw how exciting running could be. People were saying that now they understand what we were calling them to do. My own parents asked me why we don't have races all the time. So this time we are expecting a lot of community buy in because we really are trying to get the community running."

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