The GBS Mutual Bank Mountain Drive Half Marathon will place on 25 August, and promises to be another exciting and entertaining day out for runners and their families. The Albany Saints and Sinners multi-sport club has once again played a major role in the organisation and planning of the event, which is rich in history.
The club has been involved with hosting the event for over 10 years. For a number of years, Run/Walk for Life hosted the event, until the end of 2017, when the local Sunset Rotary club met with Albany Saints & Sinners and decided to continue this successful event in conjunction with this year’s generous main sponsor, GBS Mutual Bank.
Continuing on from the previous years’ highly successful events, the 2018 GBS Mutual Bank Mountain Drive Half Marathon could see it expand into a fun run and even add cycling in future.
Jaco van Dyk, chairperson of the Albany Saints & Sinners Multi-sport Club, said, “We want to enable the Grahamstown community to join us in a great local event that provides everyone with a great view of our town and our beautiful scenery. This year, the event will be hosted at Graeme College and we aim to provide a wonderful festive atmosphere for our community and visitors.”
Van Dyk explained the history of the event. “Historically, the Drostdy Harriers Running club hosted an event, the Salem half [marathon], which started at the Waainek Water treatment plant and ended at the Salem Sports Club. Drostdy Harriers closed down and the Albany Road Runners (ARR) continued hosting it for a couple of years,” said van Dyk.
“The event did not have enough support and ARR then decided on a local race. Additionally, Drostdy Harrier member Alistair Weakley and his brother Glen Weakley were murdered as they returned from a fishing trip and the ARR thought to host this event in their honour,” added Van Dyk.
At the time of planning, different race names were discussed, as ARR wanted to advertise this as a “tough one”. It would have been more than a mouth full if they had used “The Alistair Weakley Mountain Drive Tough One” so they compromised on The Mountain Drive.
All 50 members of the Albany Saints & Sinners multi-sport club will be involved either as competitors, marshals, or performing other tasks on the day. In addition to the usual members, local superstars Basi Bonaparte, Lubabalo Bokuva, and Devernito du Plessis, all from the Albany Saints & Sinners club, will be participating.
In order to get everyone in shape for the race, Grocott’s Mail has been running a weekly training programme designed by another local superstar athlete, Terri-Lynn Penney, to help in the preparations.