(Published - 4 June 2019)
UWC’s annual flagship race, the BestMed Fast and Flat, was different this year thanks to a new route - most of which encompassed the campus grounds.
The 10km race is becoming more and more popular, with the number of entries having almost doubled since last year. Thousands of people braved a chilly Saturday morning at the UWC stadium to run the race and celebrate the 24th anniversary of the event.
In addition to the 10km race there was a 10km walk, as well as a 5km fun run.
The race course, which changed to two laps around campus, gave participants the options of either trying and improve their time, or simply enjoying the event in groups close to the start and finish line.
One of the University’s own rising stars, Rowhaldo Ratz, won the men’s category while Zimbabwean long distance runner Fortunate Chadzivo took home the women’s race.
Ratz, a third-year student in education, was over the moon with the win. “I was up for the incentive prize and my goal was to run 29 minutes. But due to weather circumstances I was 32 seconds slower. It was a bit cold and also there was a lot of turns due to the route change. But I'm happy with my performance today.’
Having been selected to the University Sport South Africa team for the World Student Games in Italy later in the month, the Eerste River-born Ratz believes that the race was a perfect platform to prepare for the coming competition. “I will be doing a 5 000 meter-track and field race in Italy, and this race was a good thing to get me ready. My goal is to be at least in the top three in the World Student Games.”
Chadzivo agreed with Ratz about the route change. “It is the third time that I took part in the race, having finished third and second in the past two years. But this was a very difficult race with that immediate turn after the start putting you off a bit. You could not do anything to run a good time because there were too much turns. But overall I’m happy and I thank the organisers for such a fantastic and wonderful race.”
UWC Director of Sport, Mandla Gagayi, was elated with the turnout and said the race is about more than winning or losing. “ It is about collaboration, hence we have a partnership with BestMed. And it is about bringing families together, and through this race we give opportunities to men and women to prepare for other events such as the comrades marathon which takes place in two weeks time. I hope we can grow this race to continue becoming one of the premier events in the athletics calendar in the Western Cape.”
Elnarie Hendricks, head of distribution and sales at BestMed, said it is the fourth year that her company has partnered with UWC in the race “and it gives us so much happiness just to see how we bring families together and how the race brings the community together. We are hoping that this race will show families what it is to exercise and be happy together. BestMed is extremely proud to be part of this race.”