Dave McGovern Clinic - 11 December 2006

Brilliant, excellent, informative, thought provoking and fun. That’s just a few words describing the recent Race Walking Clinic given by Dave McGovern in Cape Town, South Africa. Walkers from as far as Johannesburg and Pretoria joined some eager Cape Town walkers from 8 December to 10 December 2006 at the Tygerberg NLC track in Parow. With the assistance of some of Cape Towns finest coaches Dave put all the athletes through their paces, breaking their technique up and correcting some technical aspects where needed. Definite improvements became apparent throughout the duration of the clinic, just showing how an expert, trained eye can help your walking. The lectures given by Dave were informative with aspects covered such as training, lactic threshold, heart rate and technique.

Having someone like Dave McGovern coming to the Southern tip of Africa and share his knowledge and experience is a real treat. Those that participated certainly learned allot and will take what they’ve learned and apply it to their walking. With this said some fast, effective and classy walking can be expected in the near future.

Possible future clinics for Johannesburg and Cape Town may be planned, so watch this space for more details.

From Cape Town, SA and those that participated
Thanks again Dave

Dave’s website
View photos

Cape Times/FNB Cape Town Big Walk 2006

A few minutes before the early hour of 04H00, One Hundred and Five athletes started the 80Km race of the Cape Times /First National Bank Big Walk. Of these, Seventy Six were logged around the Turn Point in Simonstown and at the end of the day, Fifty Seven completed the race distance inside official cut off time. In between these times, 28 000 people of all ages & backgrounds, walking a variety of other distances from 5km to 50km took part in the event.

The Big Walk was first held in 1903, and is the longest running event in South Africa. Called the Big Walk because the distance 50 statute miles. Today although the metric equivalent of the original race still takes place, the term Big Walk is now more to do with the large numbers of participants taking part in the shorter distance walks which were added in the 1990’s. Records show that the number of dedicated walkers setting out to walk the 50mile or 80km race has always been small, with a peak of just over 200 in the centenary year of 2003. Up until the last quarter of last century the event was held as race walked with only two races, which were the 50 mile and a Ladies race of 36 miles. (For a long time 50 miles was considered too tough for ladies!). Gradually other distances were added and the event’s main role changed from that of an athletic event to a fund raiser for charity. However the races from 20km upwards are still very competitive race walks. Should any one doubt this then the comments by 80km race winner Ross McDonald at the Prize Giving, that he “Came here to win” should clarify the point.

One of the most notable things about this years event was the continued dominance of the ladies 80km by the present record holder Trudi Carstens, who completed six wins in a row. She is now the most successful lady ever in the event .

The only record was broken this year was for the total number of number of entrants, beating the previous highest total by 4000 or so. This huge turn out did cause some fairly serious hiccups with the race organisation. Lessons have been learnt for next year’s event.

Some fact and figures

Coca Cola dispensed 39,000 cups of beverage at the finish area alone

Corporate entries totaled 7,770 almost treble last years

Internet entries at 4096 a staggering 680% increase on previous years

105 walkers entered the 80Km (in1903 there was 61)

398 the 50km, 1459 the 30km, 1557 the 25km

4531 the 20km, 4057 the 15km, 9532 the 10km

and 5029 the 5km.

View Results


WPA Race walking league highlights - 20 October 2006

Another successful WPA race walking league has come to an end. Walkers could pick and choose from seven races located all over Cape Town with distances covering 10km to 21km. As expected walkers from Spartan Harriers and Bellville Athletic Club came out in numbers showcasing the competitive but healthy rivalry between these two race walking giants. Spartan Harriers convincingly secured the Club trophy with its numbers, again showing that race walking is alive and well at one of the oldest clubs in Cape Town. Bellville took second place with points gathered from its WP walkers with Run/walk 4 Life taking third spot.

In the Individual race the secret is to participate in as many races as possible while ensuring that you finish with maximum points according to your age grading. In the Men’s category Johan van Zyl defended his title by competing in all the races and securing maximum points in 6 races totaling 69 points. Ross Mc Donald and Dave Kirby both got 67 points for second and third spot, securing maximum points in 4 races.

In the women’s race for the individual title Spartan Harriers had 9 representatives in the top 10. Sue Tranter topped the ladder with 65 points securing the maximum points 4 times. Lone warrior Trudi Carstens of Bellville AC was the only non-Spartan in the top ten finishing second with 57 points. Shirley Miller of Spartan Harriers came third with 48 points.

Big thanks must go out to Dave Kirby and his team for organizing and getting road-running races in Cape Town to combine race walking in their races. The past few years race walking has steadily gained some ground in Cape Town as can be seen in the race walkers representing Western Province nationally in every age category. Young walkers like Armond Nel and the newly discovered Alphonsus Salida will certainly benefit from the leagues competitiveness. WP senior walkers like Gidoen Cillie, Ross McDonald, Thinus Esterhuizen and Pieter Vorster get to walk in fast and competitive races ensuring that in the near future WP will dominate the national scene.

The new and extended league starts on the 22nd of October with the John Korasie 21km in the picturesque Simons Town. The new 2006/2007 league consist of 10 races and guarantees even more highlights and great performances.See you on the road.

View 2006 Individual and Club ladders.


Big Walk 2006 Press release - 8 September 2006

Visit the NEW Big Walk website

South Africa’s oldest mass participation sporting event, the Cape Times FNB Big Walk, is set to take place on Sunday 12 November. The event, first held in 1903, attracts tens of thousands of Capetonians walking different routes for charity. Over the years new routes and distances have been added and this year eight walks make up the event.

Held under the auspices of the Big Walk Trust, a joint initiative of Spartans Harriers and the Rotary Club of Claremont, the event has redesigned its entry mechanism by including national clothing retailer EXACT! as one of its major entry points.
Another new development is the Healthy Living Expo at the Canal Walk Shopping Centre, which acts as the official collection point for race numbers and goody bags.

The Cape Times FNB Big Walk has become the biggest timed walk in the world and ranks as the second oldest mass sporting event, second only to the Tour de France.
Tradition and heritage plays a big part in the character of the Big Walk. Many Cape Town families have fond memories of Cape Town’s oldest event and local hero Philip Rabinowitz still participates at 102 years old.

The eight walks, which make up the Cape Times FNB Big Walk include:

Timed walks

80km Rhodes High School / Miller’s Point / Rhodes High School
50km Fish Hoek / Miller’s Point / Rhodes High School
30km Simon’s Town / Rhodes High School
25km Fish Hoek / Rhodes High School
20km Blouberg / Rhodes High School

Non-timed walks

15km Retreat / Rhodes High School
10km Green Point / Rhodes High School
5km Rhodes High School surrounds

All finishers will receive a commemorative medal for their efforts. Team entries are limited to the 80, 50, 30, 25 and 20km distances only.

Entry fees are as follows:
Timed distances (80, 50, 30, 25, 20km)
Adults: R50 Under 18: R40 (includes transponder) Minimum age of 18 has been set for the 50 and 80km walks.
Non-timed distances: (10 & 15km) Adults: R40 Under 18: R30
(5km) Adults: R20 Under 10: R10

The Cape Times FNB Big Walk has always been a charity event with funds raised earmarked for projects operated by the Rotary Club of Claremont. This year walkers will be able to indicate on their entry forms which charity they would prefer their funds to be directed to. The two charities of choice for 2006 include, The SA Guide Dogs Association and Habitat for Humanity.

Training articles designed by exercise scientist Kathy McQuaide of the Sports Science Institute will appear in the Cape Times weekly to ensure a comfortable level of fitness is reached. These are scheduled to appear in the Top of the Times from Friday 22 September.

Entry forms are available through all twenty-four branches of EXACT! stores in the Western Cape, the Cape Times offices at 56 St George’s Mall, leading sports shops or online at www.bigwalk.co.za.

The traditional Bibo Little Big Walk, designed for children under 6 years old takes place at Ratanga Junction on Saturday 4 November

Issued by Eddy Cassar Public Relations on behalf of the Cape Times FNB Big Walk.


Mixed fortunes in paradise - 13 August 2006

Four South African race walkers competed at the 15th African athletics championships in Mauritius on 13 August. These athletes also represented RSA
In Spain at the World Race Walking Cup. Although our walkers had mixed fortunes at the champs, it served as needed experience on the international stage. In the men’s race Marc Mundell again showed determination and consistency by finishing in 7th place with a time of 1:32.30. Marc’s fellow countryman Wayne Snyman didn’t complete the race. The race was won by inform Kenyan, David Kimutai Rotich in 1:23.58. Hatem Goula of Tunisia came second in 1:25.02 closely followed by Hicham Mejbar from Algeria in 1:25.15.

In the women's race all hopes were on our Commonwealth walkers Nicolene Cronje and Suzanne Erasmus to bring back some medals following their brilliant performances in Melbourne. Unfortunately circumstances didn’t allow a repeat performance. Nicolene Cronje fell ill some days before the race and soldiered on to compete but to no avail. Suzanne Erasmus finished in 8th spot with a time of 1:51.45. The race was won by Nagwa Saleh of Egypt in 1:43.22. Ethiopia’s Asnaksh Abissa came second in 1:45.31 and Ghania Amzal of Algeria came 3rd in 1:46.05.

View Results


Final team for Mauritius selected - 20 July 2006

Four walkers are included in the South African athletics team to compete in the African Athletics Championships in Mauritius from 9 - 13 August. They include Marc Mundell, Wayne Snyman, Nicolene Cronje and Suzanne Erasmus. These four walkers has proved themselves through the year and will certainly be a competitive force in Mauritius, stamping South Africa's race walking footprints on African soil. Good luck and Enjoy

Watch this space for results.


SA champs at home in Oudtshoorn - 15 July 2006

Walkers from all over South Africa delivered the goods in Outdshoorn on the 15th of July. Combining the SA 50km championships and the Interprovincial championships, the City of Oudtshoorn and SWD athletics organised a truly professional event with everything on its place and smiling faces all around. Hosting this annual event for the past few years the people behind the scenes pulled out all the stops again this year to ensure that the athletes enjoy the day and focus on their walking. The venue, infrastructure and course is ideal for fast times and the motivation gathered from the spectators spread out on the course and volunteers at the water points are always inspirational.

Not only is the event one where the best in SA meet, but also caters for development by organising clinics and giving youngsters the opportunity to walk in an organised race. On behalf of all the walkers that participated in Oudtshoorn we at racewalk.co.za say thank you and well done. - See you all next year.

View results.


Team SA do well in Spain - 13 May 2006

South Africa was proudly represented by five walkers in La Coruna, Spain for the IAAF Race Walking Cup. They included Olympic walker and current SA Senior Champion Nicolene Cronje, Commonwealth walker and current SA Student Champion Suzanne Erasmus, multiple Springbok walker Marc Mundell, Current SA Senior and SA Junior Champion Werner Appel and SA Student Champion Wayne Snyman. Accompanied by Chris Britz and Simon Dlamini, team SA took on the best walkers in the world.

Following on from Nuremburg in Germany two years ago Team SA came back with respectable performances. In the Senior Men's 20km race SA achieved mixed results with Marc Mundell walking a well deserved personal best of 1:30:04 and Wayne Snyman unfortunately getting disqualified. In the Women’s race Nicolene Cronje and Suzanne Erasmus filled positions 60 and 63 with times of 1:43:23 and 1:46:38 respectively. Promising Junior Werner Appel finished 32nd with a time of 45:34, a new African Junior Record.

For more detailed results, go to the results page.


Women Excel in Australia - 20 March 2006

South Africa's two elite women race walkers went to the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia and proved that South African race walking can compete on the international stage. Walking against a strong field of Commonwealth countries including the dominant Australians, Nicolene Cronje and Suzanne Erasmus finished in 4th and 5th with times of 1:38:19 and 1:40:54 respectively. Certainly the best result for SA race walking in the Commonwealth Games and a result to build on in the future.

For more detailed results, go to the results page.


Korzeniowski and Fernandez in SA

What an honor. The greatest race walker of all time and the current world best shared the track with some Capetonian walkers at the Parow track in Cape Town this December. Robert Korzeniowski and Francisco Fernandez came to Cape Town to train for the upcoming World Race Walking Cup and absorb its wonderful atmosphere and climate. They took time off their training schedule to share their talents with some enthusiastic and exited Western Province race walkers.

Those of you that are not familiar with these two world-beaters will not forget their names soon after taking note of the following.

Robert Korzeniowski (Poland)

World Record holder of the 50km Walk. 3:36.39
Olympic Gold – 50km Walk 1996, 2000, 2004
Olympic Gold – 20km Walk 2000

Francisco Fernandez (Spain)

Former World Junior champion
Former World Record holder 20km Walk. 1:17.22
Olympic Silver – 20km Walk 2004

After taking the attentive athletes through some warm-up and stretching drills Robert Korzeniowski gave the WP walkers a challenge to take on Francisco Fernandez in a 5000 m relay, with 12 athletes doing a lap each. With no hassle and a smile on his face Fernandez strode out with the walkers. Being warmed up by some promising junior athletes and accomplished WP ladies, Fernandez was surprised to get some stiff competition from WP’s more competitive senior walkers, being encouraged by the spectators, doing times of between 1:25 and 1:35 a lap. Finishing well under 21 minutes one could see this was just a nice brisk training session for Fernandez. After relaxing a bit, posing for photographs and giving autographs the two legends said their goodbyes leaving priceless memories and knowledge.

On behalf of those that partook and attended the clinic, massive thanks must go out to those who organized the day, not forgetting the thanks going out to Robert Korzeniowski and Francisco Fernandez for sharing their time and knowledge with us. We hope we see them again soon spoiling them with a ‘lekker’ South African ‘braai’ afterwards. PV

Click here to see some pictures.

Select article by clicking on link
Dave McGovern Clinic 11 December 2006
Michiel Rossouw Tribute 28 November 2006
Cape Times/FNB Cape Town Big Walk 2006 12 November 2006
WPA Race walking league highlights 20 October 2006
Big Walk 2006 Press release 8 September 2006
Mixed fortunes in paradise 13 August 2006
Final team for Mauritius selected 20 July 2006
SA champs at home in Oudtshoorn 15 July 2006
Team SA do well in Spain 13 May 2006
Women Excel in Australia 20 March 2006

Korzeniowski and Fernandez in SA

21 December 2005