Urithi starts on road to develop future champions with sub 30 minute 10km challenge
As the lack of world South African class middle distance continues to be a matter for serious concern, one group of social runners have decided to do something about an issue that is giving administrators sleepless nights. Disappointed by the fact that only Precious Mashele managed to qualify for a middle distance event at #Tokyo2021, Urithi Athletics Club have launched a series of races which are aimed at unearthing the next generation of top runners.
"This is the second edition of the challenge, it was started during the hard lock down in 2020. This year we are aligning our challenge to #Vision2024. As part of our development strategy and our vision to prepare future champs, we need to identify athletes that will be put on a developmental program going into #Paris2024," said Urithi chairperson Brenda Marolen.
On 25 September a number of future champions will line up at the start of a 10km race in Muldersdrift as men aim to break the 30 minute barrier and women 40 minutes, for a R1000 cash prize. The event is only open to athletes with a 10km personal best of 45 minutes and faster. Marolen says this is in line with the club's vision which is about more than just social running. "Urithi has three categories; youth, elites and social athletes. We currently have a total of fifteen runners who fall under the youth and elite categories. A lot of work is underway to grow both categories especially women," she explained.
For a club whose name means legacy in Swahili, the hope is that the fast Mudlersdrift course will allow them to identify and then support future Olympians, especially young women. "Of the fifteen runners in the youth and elites category, 5 are between the ages 17 to 23, with only one female. Our vision for 2024 is to identify and develop as many females as we could possibly find, targeting girls in rural areas," concluded Marolen.