Athletes set for 100-miler ‘Road to Hell’
WHEN the moon is at its brightest tomorrow, the ELB Washie 100 Miler will be well on its way with about 100 athletes attempting the gruesome but rewarding 100 miles (160km) between Port Alfred and East London.
Buffalo Road Runners and ELB Equipment have been preparing for the 41st running of the race nicknamed “the monster” that starts at 5pm at the Halyards Hotel in Port Alfred and finishes at the Buffs Club in East London.
Buffs Road Runners are hoping for 100 entries this year.
Athletes have spent months in training, others are finishing weeks of preparation and days of anticipation in the build-up to the moment when Chris Rea’s Road to Hell blares from speakers, the starter’s gun sounds and they set off on this amazing event.
It is encouraging to note that there are a number of novice women, who have entered this year, while stalwart Eric Wright completes his 27th Washie. Other personalities who have entered are Wandisile Nongodlwana, a silver medallist at Comrades this year, two brothers, Desmond and Jan Juan Bekker, and four athletes so far, Justin Sher, Tobie Reyneke, Clive van Rayner and Johnny van der Walt, who have completed five Washies, are returning in their yellow numbers. John Magagane will also be back for his 16th attempt.
Washie spokesperson, Tracy Mackay, said: “We await the SANDF entries as they always send a team of eight to 10 athletes each year.
“Washie’s granddaughter, Marion Kelly will start the race. Granville Washington [Washie] Whitfield is who the race was named after when it was run in his honour. Kelly recently moved to Port Alfred which is perfect and she updates the family all over the world with the Washie going-ons.”
Mackay said that the youngest entrant so far (as at Tuesday, July 4) is 22-year-old Simphiwe Mrola from Shining Stars AC in Mdantsane and the oldest entrant Peter Johnstone from SANDF WP, who is 64 and will be competing in his 11th Washie.
Kersten Mosig was first South African and third overall in the Centurion Walk on Robben Island, the first SA sanctioned Centurion race.
“You have to walk 100 miles in 24 hours at a sanctioned Centurion race to become a centurion. He did two successful centurion races. In 2013 he became British Centurion number 1145 [22:28:24] and in 2016 African Centurion number three [20:37:46],” Mackay said.
“He is one of only eight South African Centurions and the only one that is a double centurion. The British centurion list started in 1877. Mosig will however be running Washie [and not walking],” Mackay said.
Washie legend, Butch Duffey, sadly had his shoulder operated on a couple of months ago so is restricted from running this year – he too would have been going for race No 27.
This is the third year ELB equipment will be the event sponsor. Last year’s men’s winner Yose Mcebisi and women’s winner, Megan Davey, have both entered the race. This will make it Washie number five for Mcebisi, thereby earning his permanent number.
Andre Kleinsmith and Wilson Mogale, both from SANDF WP will be going for number 10.
The first runner is expected to arrive at the Buffalo Club in East London around 7.30am on Saturday and runners will be finishing throughout the day, until the cut-off time at 7pm, so come along to the Buffs Club and welcome these great athletes home.
Entries are still open, so if you completed the Comrades and are looking to step up to the next level, get your entry in now through www.washie100miler.co.za or contact Meta Scott on email@example.com, cell 081-487-4984. Entries will also be taken up to 3.30pm before the race, at Halyards Hotel, Port Alfred.
We will have to wait and see who slays “the monster” this year.