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More than 50 000 people will be strolling through Joburg’s leafy green suburbs on Sunday, for the eleventh Discovery 702 Walk the Talk. The event is one of the city’s most popular outings.
THERE are only a couple of days left before it is time to lace up your takkies and hit the streets of Joburg with about 50 000 other ambitious souls on 24 July for the eleventh annual Discovery 702 Walk the Talk.

 

Four legged firends are welcome (Photo: Enoch lehung, City of Johannesburg)Four legged friends are welcome (Photo: Enoch lehung, City of Johannesburg)In between your last minute preparations, get down to Marks Park Sports Club in Emmarentia to register and collect your walking packs. You can also get your park and ride ticket if you have not done so already, as well as get free health tests such as blood pressure and glucose checks.
 

Registration started on 20 July and will take place until 23 July. You can collect your pack between 7am and 6pm during the week, and between 8am and 1pm on Saturday.

This year’s walk is proving as popular as ever, with 55 600 people entered to walk in the four categories: 5km, 8km, 15km and 30km. “There are 2 000 entrants for the 30km walk, 11 000 for 15km, 23 800 for 8km and 18 800 for 5km,” says the public relations and communications co-ordinator at Primedia Broadcasting, Pippa Rowles.

Of these, 5 958 are under the age of 18. The 5km and 8km routes are aimed at those wanting to spend a fun day out enjoying the sunny Highveld winter, while the 15km and 30km routes are competitive.

Given the fact that Walk the Talk is the largest mass participation event in southern Africa, there will be road closures. Major roads that will be off limits to cars include Judith Road, Emmarentia Avenue between Carlow and Gleneagles roads and Gleneagles Road between Donegal and Hoylake roads.

There will also be no through roads on Barry Hertzog Avenue from Victoria to Empire roads and on Beyers Naude Drive from Thomas Bowler Road to 4th Avenue.

Heavy delays can be expected on the rest of Barry Hertzog and Beyers Naude as these are the main access roads for vehicles coming to park at the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens, the main parking for the walk. Jan Smuts Avenue will also be affected at Lower Park Drive between 7am and 9am. Alternative routes include Ontdekkers Road, the M1 North and South, as well as Louis Botha Avenue.

 

A time for fun (Photo: Enoch lehung, City of Johannesburg)A time for fun (Photo: Enoch lehung, City of Johannesburg)To find out more about which roads will be closed, and what times they will be closed, visit the Walk the Talk website.
 

Residents in the affected areas can collect their official residents passes from the temporary site office outside Parkview Police Station or at Marks Park until 23 July. Proof of residence is required for collection.

The pass only serves to confirm that you are a resident of Emmarentia, Greenside or Parkview. It does not allow access to the route, but does allows controlled crossing of the route to get to and from your destination.

Walk organisers have asked that residents try to keep their movements to a minimum during road closure times.

Good cause
This year the event will welcome a number of walkers participating for good causes and who are using the event as a training ground for other physical pursuits. Radio presenters from 702, which is one of the sponsors, will do the walk to raise awareness and funds for charities. David O’Sullivan will be doing it for the Teddy Bear Foundation, while Kieno Kammies for Missing Children SA; both will be walking the 30km route.

South African sports greats such as Shaun Pollock, Baby Jake Matlala and Lucas Radebe will also be donning their walking shoes for charity by doing it on behalf of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation; the foundation is a beneficiary of the event, with R5 from every 5km and 8km entry donated to it.

Miss South Africa, Bokang Montjane, will also be pounding the pavements to help MaAfrika Tikkun, a charity that aims to build communities so that they can help themselves.

There is also a team of two female firefighters, called Team Zodwa, who are tackling Walk the Talk as training on their mission to summit the seven highest peaks, seven highest volcanoes and seven highest islands to raise funds for various children’s charities.

 

Well-known figures are taking part in the walkWell-known figures are taking part in the walk (Photo: Enoch Lehung, City of Johannesburg)“They will be walking the 30km event dragging tyres behind them to train for high altitudes,” Rowles says.
 

In addition, dogs can walk on the 5km and 8km routes, which is always popular. Usually about 2 000 dogs walk, and there are dedicated doggie points along both routes to ensure happy and healthy canines. Celebrity dog owners have been invited to participate this year, and a number will be turning out with their furry friends in tow.

Soccer star Ryan Botha, 702 presenter Leigh Bennie and Scandal’s Litha Bam will be among the many walking with their pooches.

Legacy
A number of new additions will make sure the walk is bigger and better than ever. “A portion of the money raised by the event for charity will go towards a community legacy project in the areas directly affected by the walk,” she says.

“This year proposals were received from the Greenside and Emmarentia residents associations and after deliberations by a committee, the Emmarentia proposal, to build an eco-friendly walkway across a sensitive wetland area in the Botanical Gardens, was selected.”

Also, participants will find Cell C shoelaces in their race packs. All you need to do is wear the laces, upload a photograph of you in your laces to either Facebook or Twitter, and R100 will be donated to charity.

Park and ride
Gautrain buses will also be on hand to make the park and ride smooth and effective. It is R30 per person for those wanting to use this service. The buses will collect people at four points: the Coca-Cola Dome at Northgate; Nasrec Expo Centre; Bezuidenhout Valley Park; and the Sandton Gautrain Station.

There will be healthy meals on sale at the Marks Park Sports Club for those who have finished the race and need to catch their breath; there will also be entertainment. Marks Park has served as the home of the walk for the past six years, as it is the starting and finishing point for all routes.

The 30km walk will start at 6.30am; for those competing in the 15km segment, the start time is 7.30am; the 8km will start at 9am and the 5km walk will begin at 11am.

Walk the Talk is sponsored by Discovery and Talk Radio 702 and is hosted by the City of Johannesburg. All participants who finish the race will receive medals, and if you entered before 31 May you stand a chance of winning a R25 000 Pick n Pay voucher.

For more information on Walk the Talk, go to the website or phone 011 270 2702.

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