Alarm goes at 4.45. Hit the snooze button for another 10 minutes of shut-eye. But then it’s up and out the door to collect my 2 walking partners to head off to Soweto for the Nike Soweto 10km run – although we, along with many others, were walking it. The more ambitious and fitter tackled the 42 km marathon or the 21km half-marathon.
After a very slow start with over an hour in the traffic into Soweto, a fair bit of hustling with parking attendants, a somewhat unorthodox shortcut route to the start through a hole in a fence (only in Jozi –Eish!), we were over the start line at around 7.25 and on the road.
Us walkers loved the offer of ‘Johnny Runner’ at water stations!
The 10km isn’t a very scenic route (it’s all on the outskirts of Soweto) but when you’re walking and talking, the kms pass quickly. (The full 42 km marathon takes in better known sites in Soweto itself such as Vilakazi St, Regina Mundi and Walter Sisulu Square). It was great to see all shapes, ages and sizes out there for a good time – 21,000 in all apparently. A group of young twenty-somethings managed to dance and sing their way along the route and marshals offered water at the refreshment stations with good-humoured banter of ‘Johnny Runner for you’. We were amazed to see the speed of the leading finishing runners – including two women running barefoot.
Breakfast at Vilakazi Street
At the end of the walk we headed to Vilakazi Street for a much needed coffee and breakfast at NextDor (that’s next door to the better known Zakhumzi’s.) All in all it’s a great way to spend a Sunday morning – we are even talking of doing the 21km next year. But please Nike sponsors – if 80,000 odd concert-goers can get to the FNB stadium via train and buses, why can’t the same arrangements be made for your 21,000 race entrants?
Also, why are there no temporary trash boxes strategically places after the watering points? We can’t expect no litter after a race but we can at least reduce the quantity. We need to start sending out the message that it’s not OK to indiscriminately drop Coke cups and plastic sachets for somebody else to clean up.