The annual race, actually three events – a main 10km run, a League walk and a 6.5km fun run – has become one of the most popular events on the Western Cape’s athletics calendar.
“The Fast and Flat is growing bigger and better every year,” says Race Director Glen Bentley. “For the first time in 23 years, the race saw 2 200 athletes crossing the finishing line for the 10km road race, nearly 300 more than last year.”
There were also 300 participants in the 6,5km fun run and 170 walkers in the 10km walk. The organisers hope to reach a target of 6 000 runners in the next three years.
The men’s race was a tight contest between UWC’s Anthony Timoteus and Sibusiso Madikizela who was the eventual winner. While both were given the same time, 30.09, Madikizela was declared the winner. “I had to push my head forward to win. It was a very close race indeed,” says Madikizela, a WPA 21km champion who also won the race in 2015. Nkosinathi Madyo ended third, 24 seconds later.
In the women’s race, elite South African distance runner Kesa Molotsane travelled from Bloemfontein to show why she is among the best athletes in the country, winning in 33:28. She was followed by Fortunate Chidzira in second place while Zintle Xiniwe, a multiple winner of this event, only managed to finish third this time.
Both Madikizela and Molotsane cited the wind as the biggest challenge they had to deal with on their way to the finishing line.
“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 says.
“But what I enjoyed most was the friendliness of my fellow participants and organisers. Since I arrived everyone was so welcoming. It was nice to be here.”
The women’s fun walk was won by Fundiswa Sandi, followed by Jacky Goosen (second) and Nurooi Sukunana in third position.
Envor Rhodas was the men’s champion, finishing in front of Wentsley Merkuur and Austin van Niekerk in second and third position.
Western Province Athletics and sponsor BestMed Medical Aid praised participants for taking part in the event despite the adverse weather conditions and early-morning start.
The race was founded 23 years ago by Roger Adams, the beloved former coach of the UWC Athletics club who sadly passed away last year.
“The Fast and Flat race means a lot for us at UWC,” says Bentley. “Not only does it bring athletes from all over the country together to test their skill and get in a quick race, but it gives us a chance to reflect on how far we’ve come as a sporting institution.”