Run Free, Run Jozi will take place at night as part of the Joburg 2040 vision of making Joburg a liveable city, where people are safe.
HISTORY will be made in Joburg on the night of Human Rights Day, 21 March, when 10 000 runners will race across the Joburg CBD.
MMC Chris VondoMMC Chris Vondo: Race will unite residentsThe race, named Run Free. Run Jozi, is a 10km race organised and supported by the City of Joburg and Nike South Africa. At its launch on Tuesday, 31 January, the Joburg sky was lit up by fireworks placed on Nelson Mandela Bridge, at the Bree Street Taxi Rank and on a building in the CBD.
People watched the fireworks in delight from the high rise building of Sunshine Studios, on the corner of Henri and Smit streets in Braamfontein. Organisers announced that the race would be the first of its kind in Africa.
Among those witnessing the launch were the members of the mayoral committee for community development, Chris Vondo, and for health and human development, Nonceaba Molwele, the City’s director of networks and stakeholder relations, Jabu Nkosi, and other City officials.
Speaking on the night, Vondo said the race would not only unite the people of Joburg but would also serve as a catalyst to fast track one the objectives documented in the Growth and Development Strategy, GDS 2040.
“As we celebrate 125 Years Towards 2040, we are mindful that our City is viewed by various stakeholders as being a representation of what Joburg stands for; therefore, moving towards 2040 we want to see Joburg becoming a liveable city.
“A liveable city is a place where inhabitants are free to roam the streets and even organise a night race on the streets of Joburg without any fear. The City is literally giving back the streets to our runners for a day, enabling them to run where they do not feel safe, run to be free, and to make history,” Vondo said.
Jozi RunJoburg’s partnership with Nike and the hosting of the race were testimony to its reputation as a premier sporting destination. These showed it was increasingly becoming part of the global sporting community.
Vondo said that the race was being held on Human Rights Day gave it more weight and significance. “As we know, the day symbolises a watershed moment in the history of our country. It gives us great fulfilment as a community that we will be united on this day.”
The race route will pass some significant landmarks, such as Nelson Mandela Bridge, Constitution Hill, Luthuli House, Chancellor House, Ponte, and Johannesburg Stadium, and will travel along usually busy streets, such as Market and Bree.
It will end at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown, where there will be a celebratory chill-out zone. Runners and their supporters will be able to relax and the zone, and there will be plenty of music and other forms of entertainment, say the organisers.
Equally optimistic about the race was the brand director of Nike South Africa, Anwar Jappie. “The Nike Run Free, Run Jozi 10km race amplifies the sport experience for young and established runners by encouraging them to connect, motivate and inspire one another.
“We want to single-mindedly motivate 10 000 runners to get to the starting line on 21 March, and inspire them to connect with, and own their city. We are confident that this is going to be a world-class event. The City of Joburg will help us achieve that objective since it has experience of hosting events of such magnitude,” Jappie said.
Joburg metro police and the South African Police Service would escort runners during the race, said Vondo, while Jappie added that music would be broadcast from speakers along the route. This element would bring more fun to the race.
Run Free. Run Jozi ambassador Itumeleng KhuneRun Free. Run Jozi ambassador Itumeleng KhuneSebenzile Ngcobo, who runs for the Nike Club, is keen to participate. “For me, it is about taking a challenge and testing my fitness. I am going to ensure that I go out there and compete,” Ngcobo said.
“It is also a chance to get young people together and enjoy being residents of Johannesburg. Some parts of it are known to be dangerous. It is high time we took our city back.”
The initiative was also given the thumbs up by Itumeleng Khune, Bafana Bafana’s first choice goal keeper and an ambassador for the race.
“Sports has always been the heartbeat of our country; our people love it. It is a good opportunity to bring people together. If it happens that I am not in camp on the day, I will definitely participate,” he said.
Nike also unveiled a bright shirt, featuring pre-printed race number. All runners will be required to run in the official Nike shirt meant for the event. It will be made available from early March, when race packs are collected.
Registration for students with valid student cards is R50; it is R70 for open runners. Online registration for Nike Run Free, Run Jozi can be done on the official race website.
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