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The Run Free. Run Jozi run is less than a week away. Athletes will take back the night-time inner city streets in the unusual race.
IN less than a week, 10 000 runners will pound the streets of the inner city in the much-anticipated, 10km Run Free. Run Jozi marathon, taking place on the night of Human Rights Day, 21 March.

MMC Chris Vondo be taking part in the raceMMC Chris Vondo is taking part in the raceMotorists are urged to look out for yellow traffic advisory posters erected along the roads scheduled for closure and are advised to use alternative routes. The marathon is a joint initiative between the City and Nike South Africa. It is the first of its kind and it is billed as a defining moment for Joburg and its residents.

In line with its slogan, “Taking back the streets,” the run is aimed at encouraging people to take ownership of the night-time inner city streets, and at erasing the common thinking that they are crime ridden. It will start at 7pm and the first runners home are expected about 7.45pm, or earlier. The streets will remain closed until the last runner makes it to the finish, estimated to be about 10pm.

The route has been mapped out to pass historic landmarks and a host of inner city regeneration projects spearheaded by the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA). Starting in Braamfontein, it will also go through Newtown, Ferrierasdorp, the CBD, Marshalltown, Bertrams, Berea and Hillbrow.

Taking the media on a tour of the route yesterday, Gaynor Mashamaite, a City spokesperson, said the concept of taking back the streets had been the vision since implementing the Inner City Charter five years ago. “We are welcoming the chance to showcase Joburg’s regeneration on a global map and having 10 000 runners thundering through the inner city at night is a great way for us to demonstrate this.”

The race will start in Braamfontein and go over Nelson Mandela BridgeThe race will start in Braamfontein and go over Nelson Mandela BridgeShe emphasised that development could only be achieved through a partnership between the private sector and the City. “Our socks are firmly pulled up when it comes to partnership with private concerns like Nike, which enable us to carry the message of confidence in our city to a large audience.”

The route
Runners will head off from Jorissen Street in Braamfontein, heading across the 250m-long Nelson Mandela Bridge. The route will go right into Ntemi Piliso Street, past the old stock exchange, left into President Street, right into Simmons Street past the newly revamped Johannesburg Central Library, left into Market Street and past Ernest Oppenheimer Park, renowned for its huge diamond stone.

Along Market, runners will pass a number of Rea Vaya stations, which are adorned with artwork specifically commissioned by the JDA for each station. Each work relates to the history of the place where the station is located. In total, there are 34 of them doted across the city.

The route will then stretch up until Bezuidenhout Street. Just after Jeppe Police Station, the runners will encounter the first steep hill. It will continue left into Bertrams, rounding Coca-Cola Park stadium. Johannesburg Stadium is on the right. It will go left into Saratoga Avenue past Ponte, straight into Wolmarans Street.

The race will pass through the historical Chancellor House in downtown JoziThe race will pass through historical Chancellor House in downtown JoziFrom there, it will proceed right into Twist Street, passing Johannesburg Hotel. From this point, only runners with legs of steel will make it to the finish line – there is a long, steep climb left into Kotze Street that stretches all the way until Constitution Hill.

Runners will then turn left into Harrison Street, passing Metro Centre. They will proceed straight down into Bree Street, and along to Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown, where the race will end. Here runners will be entertained by local deejays and musicians.

There will be prizes for the first eight runners home, and every participant will receive a medal and a certificate.

Those interested in learning about the history of Johannesburg can visit Chancellor House, a stone’s throw from the square. In the 1950s, it was the offices of Mandela and Tambo Attorneys, and it has been refurbished.

For more than a decade, the JDA has been a catalyst in the regeneration of the inner city, and the fruits of its hard work are ripening. Its vision has spurred huge private sector investment. And the acting chief executive officer of the agency, Thanduxolo Mendrew, said the regeneration programme had revived the economic hype of the city.

Route map
Click here to view the route map.
“Ten years later, the city centre is a welcome place for shoppers, workers, investors and residents who are flocking back to belong to a new hip and trendy urban landscape.”

The Run Free. Run Jozi marathon symbolised the start of a new dawn in the city of Joburg, he added. “Taking a race like this to the streets of the CBD at night has opened up a channel for sport and recreation on our streets which epitomises the vision we create of the people living, working and playing in the city.”

Runners will have a excellent view of the CityRunners will have an excellent view of the CityAnd safety need not be a concern for the runners. The Johannesburg metro police will be on hand from the start of the race to the finish. “Joburg’s service team from the region is ready, our safety team from the Joburg metro police department is steady and our community development department says it’s all systems go to host this unique race,” said Mashamaite.

Anda Mbikwana, the spokesperson in the department of public safety, added: “Emergency management staff will be on hand to attend to any emergencies. [Metro police] officers will guide traffic at major intersections during the race [and] we request motorists to be patient. Our officers will ensure that they are not inconvenienced.”

Nike South Africa‘s communication manager, Seruscka Naidoo, said that there would be three water points: the first near Jeppe Police Station, the second on Saratoga Avenue and the last on Kotze Street, before Constitution Hill. There would also be portable toilets along the route.

“We are confident that the race will be a success. We have worked very hard together with the City of Joburg. We hope that the people of Joburg will enjoy it,” said Naidoo.

Participants are encouraged to collect their race packs before race day. They are available at the Nike stores where they registered.

Parking information
There will be designated parking areas for all participants in the Run Free. Run Jozi race. Read more [Pdf 1.66MB]. 
There will be three park and ride facilities to get runners to the race – at Constitution Hill, Milpark and Emmarentia. At Constitution Hill, parking is underground on the corner of Kotze and Queens streets; in Milpark it is at the German School and the scout hall; and in Emmarentia parking is at Roosevelt High School.

Parking will open at 2.30pm on the day, and runners are asked to wear their race T-shirts to be allowed access. Buses will take runners to the start every 15 minutes. The first bus will leave at 3.45pm and the last bus will leave the parking at 5.30pm.

For general parking information, please call 0724904407 or send email to

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Related links:

Johannesburg Development Agency