Born to Run AC’s Hanlie Botha is off to strong start for this year’s racing season after her consecutive wins at both the East London Eye Hospital’s Laser Run on January 13 and the PWC Nite Race on January 19.
Botha was the first woman across the finish line at the Laser Run in a time of 37 min 6 sec, and in the PWC Nite race, where she was just a few seconds shy from last week’s finishing time, in 37:17.
At 45, Botha feels her consecutive wins are an affirmation that her training and competitive edge have not slowed down. She credits her discernment regarding which races to participate in as her secret weapon to avoid pushing herself too hard throughout the year and compromising her form.
Botha is a SA 10km, 21km and cross-country champion, after earning gold and silver medals at last year’s competitions, and she hopes to return this year to defend her titles.
“I am motivated by my results because these races are the first ones of the year and it provides a good basis for the rest of the racing season. My time shows me I am in good shape and I can set productive goals going forward for the year,” Botha said.
PWC Nite Race organiser and veteran racer Sharon Eldridge said the runners who turned out this year raced each other to the end, a testament to the healthy competition in the local running circuit.
She hoped to see more runners return to road racing levels that existed before Covid.
“As one of the first races of the year we hope runners take away a sense of achievement and the knowledge that anything is possible if you put your mind to it, and all you need to do is give your best,” she said.
“The PWC Nite continues to be popular because athletes want to come out and test their fitness in preparation for the rest of the year’s races.”
The first man across the finish line for the Laser Run was Zingisile Marikeni, in 34:23.
The PWC Nite Race men’s winner was Real Gijimas’ star Yanga Malusi, who finished in 32:6.
Real Gijimas’ Alex Kambule said the club was proud of Malusi’s consistent efforts and hard work he invested in training, even throughout the December period.
The club has contributed some of the best runners to the city.
However, Kambule said the club was in urgent need of financial support to grow its development programmes.
“We also have a new academy that we established in 2022 so we also want to see it grow and attract more young kids,” he said.
“As a club, we have five annual races we will be hosting this year. We hope to continue promoting a healthy living lifestyle within our communities through these races.
“Again, financial support is our biggest challenge but we are grateful to our current sponsors for their support.”
Real Gijimas is hosting its eighth 21.1km on Sunday, and then their fifth 50km ultra race on March 17.