Fast and Flat 2018: Bigger, Better and with BestMed
It was wet and windy - but still very much a wonderful experience for the close to 3 000 participants (as well as organisers and sponsors) of the University of the Western Cape’s (UWC) flagship road race, Fast and Flat, which took place on Saturday, 2 June 2018.
The annual race (actually a main 10km run, a League walk and a 6,5km fun run) has become one of the of the most popular events on the Western Cape’s athletics calendar, and is only increasing in popularity with time. The race was founded 23 years ago by Roger Adams, beloved former coach of the UWC Athletics club, who sadly passed away last year.
“The Fast and Flat is growing bigger and better every year,” noted Glen Bentley, Race Director. “For the first time in 23 years, the 10km race saw 2 200 athletes cross the finishing line - nearly 300 more than last year.”
There were also 300 participants in the 6.5km fun run, and 170 walkers took part in the 10km walk. The organisers look to be on track to reach their target of 6 000 runners in the next three years.
The men’s race was tightly contested between UWC’s Anthony Timoteus and Sibusiso Madikizela, the latter emerging as the eventual winner. Whilst both runners were given the same time - 30.09 - Madikizela took the title on the day, narrowly beating Timoteus. This is not the first time that the WPA 21km Champion has won the race. He also took the honours in 2015. “I had to push my head forward to win - it was a very close race indeed,” Madikizela commented. Nkosinathi Madyo ended third, 24 seconds after the winner.
In the women’s race, popular elite South African distance runner Kesa Molotsane came all the way from Bloemfontein in the Free State to show why she is among the best athletes in the country, winning her event in 33:28. She was followed by Fortunate Chidzira in second place, while Zintle Xiniwe, a multiple winner of this event, finished in third place.
Both Madikizela and Molotsane cited the wind as the biggest challenge they had to deal with on their way to the finish line - other than their fellow runners, naturally. “It’s an honour to have been invited to participate in this event - it’s good training, and one of the best races for athletes to improve their finishing time, because of the flatness,” Molotsane said.
“But what I enjoyed most was the friendliness of my fellow participants and organisers. Since I arrived here this morning everyone has been so welcoming. It was nice to be here.”
The fun walk was fun (of course), but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t competitive.
Fundiswa Sandi finished first in the women’s walk, followed by Jacky Goosen and Nurooi Sukunana in second and third positions, respectively.
Envor Rhodas emerged the men’s champion, finishing ahead of Wentsley Merkuur and Austin Van Niekerk in second and third positions.
Western Province Athletics and main sponsors, BestMed Medical Aid, praised participants for taking part in the event despite the adverse weather conditions and early-morning start.
“The Fast and Flat race means a lot for us at UWC,” said Bentley. “Not only does it bring athletes from all over the country together to test their skill and get in a quick race - it also gives us a chance to reflect on how far we’ve come as a sporting institution.”