The Runified City 50km is set to take place on 25 February along the scenic beachfront of Gqeberha and local athletes will be looking to shine in a race which will be broadcast live through SuperSport on the day.
“I am thrilled that our Runified City 50km is ranked by the International Ultrarunners Association as a gold label event, the stamp of approval only given to the leading Ultra marathon events in the World,” said an elated race director Michael Mbambani. Both the 50km and 42.2km distances will also be able to be used for World Athletic ranking points by our competing athletes finishing under qualifying times which will enable local athletes to Improve their WA ranking points status on home turf.
We are looking forward to host another successful race in Nelson Mandela Bay.
“Our local athletes are ready to perform, and in great shape.
“All hands are on deck in terms of the preparation and planning for the end of the month, added Mbambani.
Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has endorsed this event organized by EP Athletics and is no stranger to hosting world-class sporting events. “Boosting sports tourism is high on the city’s agenda and partnering with this high profile event with mass participation and exposure like the Runified City 50km are well suited to this goal,” said MMC Bassie Kamana, responsible for Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts & Culture.
In the previous three editions, the event was only open to elite athletes who were invited to take part in the fast 5 lap 10km course but this year, the event will be open to all and will be an official Two Oceans and Comrades Marathon qualifier. What’s even better is there will also be an official 42,2km timing mat which runners will also be allowed to use to submit as a qualifier. Transport back to the 50km finish line will be arranged for those athletes who finish on the 42.2km mark.
This event, which is organised by EP Athletics in partnership with Nelson Mandela Bay municipality, has a few initiatives this year.
Firstly, the addition of a 10km race and a new incentive for competitors as for the first time this event will incorporate the Athletics South Africa 50km national championships, with athletes from around the country expecting to compete with the honor of being crowned national champion. Not only is this a first for the event in Gqeberha, but it is also the first time that the 50km distance qualifies for an official national championship.
The flat and fast 50km is the perfect opportunity to use the event as a qualifier for the Two Oceans and Comrades Marathons and to achieve personal best times.
The French athlete, Guillaume RUEL, who finished the 2022 Runified 50km in his personal best time of 2:47 achieving both a National and European Records, will be back on South African soil competing in the Runified City 50km this year.
“Thanks to this race I signed my first pro athlete contract so South Africa changed my life and I have many running friends there.
“I want to be back this year to improve my European Record and make the win.
“The goal is to make it with my sponsor, Salomon, and show the world that Salomon is not only a trail running brand but also a road running brand,” added an excited Ruel.
Galantsang Mekgoe and her training partner, Silindile Chili, who are both running for Nedbank running club and based in Rustenberg, will both be competing later this month.
This will be Galantsang’s third consecutive Runified 50km, she finished the 2022 edition in 3:30:24 in 7th position and last year finished in 6th position in 3:33:23. She also competed in the SARun 4 Cancer 48km event in Polokwane last year and finished third behind two Kenyans, the first South African to finish.
Both athletes will be using this event to qualify for Comrades.
Galantsang will be competing in her third Comrades, in her debut Comrades in 2022 she finished fifth, the best time for a black woman to finish in the history of Comrades and last year she improved her finish time to 6:30.
She will be 85% - 95% fit, not quite at her peak, but will be aiming to finish in 3:20, according to her well known coach, Dave Adams, who coaches both athletes.
Dave expects Lindile to finish slightly behind Galantsang in 3:30 as this will be her debut Runified City 50km and Comrades marathon this year.
On the local front, strong athlete, Luyanda Tschangana, running for Ikhamva athletics club, finished in 2:52:28 last year.
“My preparations are on track and going well and I will be ready for 50km on the 25th!
“I’m injury-free and hoping that on race day I will improve on my time of 2:52 or at least run under 2H50,” he added.
In the women’s race, Nedbank running club’s Kelly van Vliet will be the one to watch with a top 10 finish expected. In 2022, her ultra-debut, Van Vliet finished 7th overall and was the 4th South African woman to finish in a time of 3.30.
This year she is keen to run her best time to represent EPA, NMBM and her sponsors to the best of her ability.
“My training build-up is going well, I am including paced long runs for a marathon-based approach.
“It’s a great event, and now that it is open to all there will be lots of local runners which will give more athletes the opportunity to participate.
“I want to improve my marathon time and seeding for Two Oceans, and aim to keep a steady pace throughout the race.
For more information athletes can contact Michael Mbambani on 079 149 6796, Irene van Eeden on 083 299 1775, EP Athletics office on 041 374 2818 or email email@example.com