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  • Writer's pictureThathe Msimango

Ulundi Striders 10km ready to go as KZNA backs growth of rural clubs

Its all system go for the inaugural Ulundi Striders 10km race. Taking place tomorrow at the Prince Mangosuthu Stadium in Ulundi, north of KwaZulu-Natal, the event is one of only a few races on the KwaZulu-Natal Athletics (KZNA) calendar hosted in a rural area with the aim of promoting the sport. Moses Gazu, who is the club chairman believes they have done a great job in ensuring that the race goes smoothly.

Members of Ulundi Striders pose for a photo after a workout at the Prince Mangosuthu Stadium in rural northern KZN. Photo Credit: Moses Gazu.

"I think we have done quite well to stage a good race on Sunday. I know it's not easy to host an event for the first time but we have consulted the right people to help us in various ways," he told #TheTopRunner. "We are very happy with how the race registration has gone so far. Remember, our aim was to host this event earlier but Covid19 meant we had to find new dates. We are confident of good turnout as we still taking registration till the race day. Some athletes are still enquiring about entries which is something positive," he said.

The race clashes with Hollywoodbets Durban Summer 10k race which is happening in Kings Park Stadium in Durban, which raised concerns about how KZNA granted permission for two races to take place on the same day in the province. In a letter of complaint which #TheTopRunner has seen, the coastal federation emphasised the importance of small clubs to obtaining the opportunity to grow rather competing with well known clubs. So far nearly 200 entries captured compared to the 1 000 competitors recorded in the Durban Summer 10k race but Gazu says he holds no grudge.

"We have faced so many challenges leading to the race day. One of them is to have same date with the Hollywoodbets race in Durban," explains Gazu. "But I'm not there anymore as my focus is on Sunday. The way local businesses came on board to support us has been amazing. We were not going to survive without them. We are a small club hosting a race for the first time so to have people trusting us is a plus," he explained.

The winner for 10km race will walk away with R1 000 while junior athletes with get hampers of Mr Price Sport running shoes.

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