'We're getting road running back on track' - WPA Adnaan Mohamed ahead of Absa CAPE TOWN 12k CITYRUN
Western Province Athletics (WPA) Road Running Chairperson Adnaan Mohamed had the fellow panelists in stitches when he revealed that the most likes he had every received for a social media update came when he posted "...just a few pics of old people sitting in a meeting." Mohamed was talking about a photo he took of a WPA Road Running Fixtures meeting which got runners excited when they learned that plans were afoot for the return of real races after almost two years of Covid19 enforced isolation. One of the first of those major mass participation athletics events being the Absa CAPE TOWN 12K CITYRUN this Sunday.
"I've never ever seen that before," said Mohamed about the outpouring of support he got for his Facebook photo during a live online broadcast ahead of the 12km race from Milnerton to the Cape Town City Bowl. "I was surprised. But then I realised why are people so excited? Because they've been deprived of this for so long and it's back. People were there for a common purpose to get road running back on track," said the man who has also run every single one of the Cape Town Absa RUN YOUR CITY SERIES events since they started back in 2015.
Those social media likes translated into race entries as 4 000 runners promptly entered the race which is now a sold out event. Organised by Stillwater Sports under the auspices of Athletics South Africa and WPA, the big jol through The Mother City is an important litmus test for many local races of similar distance (21km and 10km) on how to organise safe mass participation athletics events during a pandemic.
"When I was asked to take up this position I thought what the hell am I getting myself in for because for 20 months nothing has really happened in road running. So what is really being asked of me is to get road running back on track from scratch. And I thought to myself I'm gonna take it on as a challenge. I've got enough people that I know with expertise like Stillwater Sports and they have put on loads of races over the years. Staggered starts is one of the requirements for races to take place during this period of Covid and they've been doing it for a long time. So this is massive because it'll set the precedent for what is to follow and what is still gonna happen," he explained.
With all runners and race staff required to take a rapid antigen test to gain access to the race, staggered starts and a host of other safety measures it is clear that careful planning has gone into ensure a safe environment for runners to enjoy their day on the streets of Cape Town. "If you look at what makes the race such an iconic event year, for me to see the celebration and festivities on the road and the enjoyment that people get from participating in these events and reaching their own goals - that is what makes the sport so magnificent," he concluded.