Nearly two thousand runners (and walkers) took part in UWC’s Fast and Flat Race 2017, testing their skills on the roads of Bellville.
Just under 2 000 people entered the University of the Western Cape’s flagship 2017 annual Fast and Flat race, hosted by UWC Athletics Club on Saturday 3 June 2017.
The annual race - actually a main 10km run, a League walk and a 5km fun run - has become quite popular over the years among athletes in and around the Western Cape. The run provides an excellent opportunity for sponsors, partners and potential donors to market their brands - and for runners to put their feet to the road and try to beat their personal bests.
This year’s 22nd anniversary race was dedicated to race founder Roger Adams, beloved former coach of the UWC Athletics Club, who sadly passed away last year. His sister, Sharon Ogilvie, held the starting pistol in his honour, kicking off the race he’d championed for so long.
Elroy Gelant (31) from Potchefstroom, a long distance runner and 4 000 metre champion finished the 10km in just under 29 minutes, becoming the winner of the race - and setting a new Fast and Flat record. Gelant has participated in various races and represented South Africa internationally: he finished 12th at the 2012 Indoor and 2013 Outdoor World Championships, and his most recent prominent achievements came in 2016 when he came 2nd in the 5 000 metres at the African Championships in Durban and took part in the Rio Olympic Games.
The full 10km route began at 07h30 am at the UWC School of Government, and saw runners heading down Robert Sobukwe Road, Amandel Road, the Stellenbosch Arterial, Symphony Way and then back onto Robert Sobukwe, entering the UWC campus and finally heading for the finish line.
Refreshments were available along the way, with ushers at every 1 km point, standing by to assist and regulate traffic, and making it a little easier for the runners to finish in record time.
The day would not have been possible without a R130 000 cash injection from the official sponsor of the race, Bestmed Medical scheme.
“This is a race where there is always a chance for a new national record because the route is very flat - hence the name,” said UWC Sport Director Mandla Gagayi. “This event means a lot for us at UWC Sport, because it reaffirms our commitment to the development of sport in the Province. And with the partnership of BestMed we are confident that this race will continue to grow tremendously in the next three years.”