3 000 winners at KZN leg of The Big Walk

Young and old; big and small; fast and slow; dressed in running shorts and vest or jeans and plaid shirts; with fancy running shoes or barefoot; carrying babies and pushing prams – there were over 3 000 walkers of all different shapes and sizes at the KZN leg of The Big Walk in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday.

The walkers (and a few runners) had to overcome the searing heat which topped out at over 40 degrees, but the event can only be described as a fun day of activity for all the participants.

Sibahle Mlotshwa finishes the 5km of Sunday’s Big Walk. Photo: Tim Whitfield

The results show that Sanele Mkhize beat Thando Molefe in the 10km from the Pietermaritzburg City Hall to the Msunduzi Athletics Stadium, and Siphokuhle Mbanjwa finished just ahead of Ndondoyethu Skosana in the 5km which started and finished at the stadium.

But the event was not about the winners. The old cliche that everybody was a winner was never more appropriate as the multitude of runners of every shape, size, age and ability, all achieved the aims of the event.

Gretta Mannea (righ) and Nonjabulo Khumalo sedately make their way along the route of the 5km of the KZN leg of The Big Walk. Photo: Tim Whitfield

The nationwide series of The Big Walks are part of the National Recreation Day and the government’s “Walk for Health” programme which aims to encourage all South Africans to participate in recreational activities that will improve their health and well-being.

The Big Walks are held annually on the first Sunday of every year in all the provincial capitals. The KZN walk saw a massive increase in participation this year with the target of over 600 participants being convincingly overtaken as over 3 000 walkers entered the Pietermaritzburg event.

Race results can be found at results.finishtime.coza and more photos at www.thebigwalkkzn.co.za

Comrades Marathon runner up Bongmusa Mthembu came to the start to give the walkers encouragement. Photo: Tim Whitfield
Ziphezinhle Mncwango may have received the wrong size shirt but he was not going to let that stop him from wearing it for the walk … or let it slow him down: He finished just outside the top 20 of the 5km. Photo: Tim Whitfield