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30 years celebrated at Safari Half Marathon 2017

SAD 21km

Safari Half Marathon – Thirty years of sponsorship is a momentous achievement and Safari are congratulated on supporting Wellington Athletic Club and the community since 1988.

Safari Half Marathon, the toast of Wellington

Back then Federated Timbers was the premier half-marathon in the Western Cape and Safari broke new ground  by marketing the 21 km on a level with the full marathons.

Subsequently the Gun Run, Two Oceans half and Landmarks have followed suit as large events.

The May Day holiday drew about 7000 to the country town for the three distances.

We ran the inaugural Safari with helicopters beaming footage to Good Morning South Africa television and distinguishing promotional wristwatch sweatbands, which actually worked for a decade.

Celebrating the 30 th edition could not have been done in better conditions.

Overnight rain left a comfortably cool cloud cover and oxygen rich rural air.

The Wellington Traffic Department have smoothed access to the event and the town was traffic free fifteen minutes before Mayor Conrad Poole set the runners up the short sharp hill.

It was good to see one of the top runners from those late 80s grace the start with 50 age tags.

That was the last I saw of Isaac Opperman as he blazed a 1 hour 19 minute category victory.

After one kilometre runners experience the essence of the Safari as the tour of the farmlands begins.

Gently undulating tar rollers turn into a gradual gravel climb bordered by orchards and mountain vistas from 5 to 9 km.

The return to road commences with a steep descent into the picturesque valley which quickly morphs into a long testing climb from the 10 to 12 marks.

The twist back to the residential outskirts of the town provides respite with a long downhill stretch and a turn at 13 testing uphills on the circular detour above the finish.

The last 4 km afford the fit an opportunity to recoup lost time with a gradual drop to the finish.

Support along this finale is aided by the music and atmosphere emerging from the stadium immediately below.

The testing nature of the race is reflected in Gautenger Mbongezi Nxazozo’s winning time of 1 hour 8 minutes 11 seconds.

These efforts were handsomely rewarded as Jessica Pollock collected R 5 500 for a perceived training run as she clocked 1 hour 24 minutes 52 seconds to win the Women’s race by over 4 minutes.

Sponsored events are reliant on the big numbers for the success of the event and the satisfaction of these happy customers to return for their entertainment.

Reports have been very complimentary with attention drawn to portable loos provided at every 3 km water table, Cape flavoured bands, music and the rural folk supporting  in numbers along the quiet rural roads.

Kids high-fiving and chanting “Hou bene hou” enhance the race with a flavour distinct from the urban program.

Enough attraction to ensure  runners make good on the widespread post-race “definitely returning next year” comments on social media.

With the continued support of Safari they will be able to in 2018.

contributor: Peter Wrensch

Safari Half Marathon Top 3 Men

1. Mbongeni Nxazozo BP AC 68:11
2. William Kaptein  Maties 69:49
3. Akhona Mdaka Elgin 70:11

Safari Half Marathon Top 3 Female

1. Jessica Pollock UCT 84:53
2. Jeanetta Kohler West Coast 89:02
3. Sophie Cope Spartan H 94:48

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