African Centurions prepare for 100-mile challenge

Almost 200 brave athletes will be attempting to complete the fourth African Centurion 100-mile walk at Coetzenburg Stadium in Stellenbosch on Saturday and Sunday.

A smattering of overseas athletes will be joining the army of South Africans as they attempt to complete the tough 160km distance in less the 24 hours.

The Old Mutual and Standard Bank sponsored event, which is the African leg of the prestigious international Centurion 100-mile endurance race-walking series, starts at 9am on Saturday (October 26) and will see the 100-mile hopefuls circulating 54 times around a flat three-kilometre course as they attempt to earn a place in the prestigious international club of Centurions.

The African Centurion event takes its name from the international Centurion series of 100-mile walks which are held annually in Britain, Europe, United States, Australia and New Zealand. South Africa is the seventh endurance walk to be officially recognised as a Centurion event, although the Malaysian Centurion has not been held since 2007.

Both the men’s and women’s winners from 2018, Andy Green from the Isle of Man and Australian Sharon Scholz, will not be back to defend their titles which means a new individual winner.

However, the 2018 four-man team of Double Entry Bandits will be back to defend their title, albeit with one change to their squad. Lwando Nombewu, Andre Fielies and Bandile Cima will return to try and repeat their impressive performance from 12 months ago when they recorded the fastest time of 20 hours 29 minutes for the 100-miles, but Cecil Alexander has replaced Gregory Rodrigues as the fourth walker in their team.

The Double Entry Bandits will be preparing for tough battle to hold onto their title as they step out against the Pedominators team of Chrisna Le Roux, Karola Venter, Soria Human and Melissa Rothman. Le Roux, Human and Rothman were all part of the Hotsteppers from 2018 which finished as the top women’s team and were just 64 seconds behind the Bandits in second overall at the end of the 160km event last year.