EPA evolving the culture of running for Ndlambe

Eastern Province Athletics is piloting a Cross Country League programme for Ndlambe runners. They will use the Ndlambe model as a blueprint for similar initiatives in other local municipalities.

READY TO RACE: Kowie Striders participants gear up to start their scheduled run for the day. Picture: SUPPLIED

Ndlambe runners have been presented with the opportunity to become part of the Eastern Province Athletics Development Programme, with the exciting introduction of a cross country league starting in Ndlambe, said chairperson of Eastern Province Athletics’ Cross Country programme, Attie Williams. Not only will this development extend the reach of running clubs in the region, but it will also introduce running to local schools, he says.

“This will create opportunities for healthier lifestyles,” Williams said. “These athletes are the leaders of the future, and we need to develop them to be leaders to be proud of,” he added.

The project coordinator, Vuyo Nkayi, and the organisers are currently in talks with various stakeholders such as Ndlambe Municipality Sport. The latter, which falls under the municipality’s special programmes directorate, has promised to support this initiative in the new financial year. If negotiations are successful with Sarah Baartman’s Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture (DSRAC), they will be provided with the funding for the equipment needed to host these events, as well as mentors’ training.

“Training of the mentors is key to the success of this programme, because eventually the athlete will become the mentor,” Williams said. “It’s an ongoing process to develop the youth who will become the leaders of the future.”

The Cross Country Development and Schools League is formulated in partnership with Eastern Province Athletics development, running clubs and the local schools. The initiative is created to uplift athletics sport at Ndlambe and local schools will be staging the league.

Port Alfred High School was the first to stage the cross country on their school field last week Saturday, July 23.

Ikamvalesizwe Combined School will follow on August 6, hosting at the Kenton Primary School field.

On September 3, the Bathurst Show grounds will be the venue for Qhayiya Primary School to host their event and El Shaddai Christian Academy will conclude the schools league at their school field on September 24.

The hosting school benefits by receiving all the entry fees collected on the day.

Eastern Province Athletics has pledged its support to kick-start the programme and is already working behind the scenes planning the start of the Cross Country League that was hosted by Port Alfred High School on Saturday.

“Eastern Province Athletics are also planning the future of running as a sport and a recreational tool to uplift the future leaders,” Williams said.

EP Athletics would also provide logistical and technical support to the schools hosting these events, as well as time-keeping and hands-on guidance.

Race categories:

Under 9 & 10 (boys 2km/girls 2km)

Under 11&12 (boys 3km/girls 3km)

Under 13 & 14 (boys 4km/girls 4km)

Under 15 (boys 4km/girls 4km)

Under 16/17 (boys 6km/girls 4km)

Under 18&19 (boys 8km/ girls 6km)

Open category (all ages)

The entry fee to participate in the cross country events is R20 per person and the races start at 10am.