Nedbank Offers Largest Ultramarathon Prize Purse
February 9, 2022  
In 2021, Nedbank Runified Breaking Barriers 50 km ultramarathon was the first race since the Covid-19 national lockdown, which was set out as an opportunity to put runners back on the road. This year, the ultramarathon returns to Nelson Mandela Bay on Sunday, 6 March 2022 and it is an opportunity for Nedbank to maintain running in South Africa. Moving into its second year, Nedbank Breaking Barriers is a race within a race as elite runners are chasing the opportunity to win their share of R1.225 million, which is also one of the largest ultramarathon purses in South Africa.

Starting on Marine Drive, the event will host top national and international athletes, who will complete the flat and fast 10 km loop five times in their quest to break the existing 50km World Athletics (WA) world records. This year, elite runners are competing for the R130 000 first prize as well as the R150 000 prize if a new World Record is set. Prizes will also be awarded to the top 10 male and female runners, top age category winners as well continent record breakers. 

Nedbank believes that running provides an opportunity to touch the lives of all South Africans. “Running is without cultural, racial or financial barriers and it is truly a sport for all regardless of your fitness levels. We’d like to encourage participation from our South African athletes as well as show our support by awarding the top five male and female South African athletes their share of R200 000,” says Nthabiseng Matshekga, Executive Head: Group Marketing at Nedbank.

Last year, the ultramarathon firmly put running in Gqeberha on the map when two world records were broken in both the male and female divisions. Nedbank Running Club’s Irvette Van Zyl crossed the finish line at 3:04:23 to be the first South African female to break the Women’s (only) 50 km WA World Record. The men’s title, which has been held by Thompson Magawana for over 30 years was broken by Nedbank Running Club Ethiopia’s Ketema Negasa at 2:42:06.

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is no stranger to hosting world-class sporting events and has endorsed this prestigious ultramarathon to keep the race in Gqeberha for three years between 2022 – 2024. 

“Boosting sports tourism is high on the city’s agenda and partnering with high profile events like Nedbank Runified Breaking Barriers, promotes international participation and exposure, which is well suited to our tourism goals,” said Charmaine Williams, Director: Sport & Recreation.

Earlier this year it was announced that WA, who govern athletics globally, also awarded the event a WA Elite Label status, which made it the first and only ultramarathon event in the world to receive this status to date. In addition to that, the IAU-accredited records were upgraded to WA-accredited records after an official WA course measurer re-measured the 2021 ultramarathon route and found it met the minimum course criteria.

In addition to this elite status, James Moloi, the President of Athletics South Africa, has confirmed that Nedbank Runified Breaking Barriers will serve as a qualifying race for the IAU 100km World Championships in August in Germany.

“We will undoubtedly witness some exceptional talent at this unique and exciting competition. Unfortunately, South Africa doesn’t host a 100km race so following the absolute success of the first race in 2021, the nature of this race means business for all athletes - the business of chasing, getting better times as well as qualifying for the IAU 100km World Championships in August in Germany. ASA has identified the Breaking Barriers race as part of the qualifying criteria, which will select the national team consisting of six women and six men,” says Moloi.

“With the introduction of the special prize money allocated to South African athletes, we want to encourage and motivate our country athletes to perform at their best. It is also an opportunity for them to earn extra prize money and try to make up for the loss of income they suffered the last two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” says Race Director and Nedbank Running Club General Manager, Nick Bester.

To boost South African participation, entries will be accepted until the 15th February 2022 and interested athletes will need to e-mail their running resumes to  

Follow the #NedbankRunified conversation on Nedbank’s social media platforms for more information on Nedbank Runified: Breaking Barriers, which will be broadcasted live on SuperSport channel 209 and Grandstand.