On Sunday morning nearly 3 000 athletes will be filling the roads from the University of Kwazulu-Natal’s Howard College to the Westville campus in an event that has captured the imagination of the KZN road-running community.
The 10km UKZN Campus to Campus road race and 5km fun run has attracted a surprisingly big entry with university personnel mingling with some of the province’s top short-distance road racers.
Students, lecturers and other staff from all five of the University’s campuses – Howard College, Westville, Pietermaritzburg, Edgewood and the Medical School – as well as the road running community have enthusiastically rushed to enter the event which takes place on Sunday.
The 10km route symbolically links Howard College to the Westville Campus 15 years after the University of Durban-Westville and the University of Natal merged to form the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 2004.
The undulating 10km route sees runners set off from the Howard College campus on the Berea at 7am. Athletes leave the spectacular views over the Durban harbour and wind their way through the Westridge residential area to King Cetshwayo Highway before climbing up the Sherwood and Westwood suburbs and then on to the Westville campus where the runners finish on the sport fields.
The 5km fun run starts at the Main Hall (MH Joosub Hall) at the Westville campus and finishes on the nearby sports fields.
As much as the participants will be having fun, the two runs have a serious purpose as well.
The event has been organised in part to support United Nations AIDS’ Global 90-90-90, a worldwide strategy aimed at helping end the AIDS epidemic. The Global 90-90-90 campaign is an ambitious UNAIDS treatment drive with targets 2020 as the year in which 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status; 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained anti-retroviral therapy; and 90% of all people receiving anti-retroviral therapy will have viral suppression.
UKZN’s Executive Director of Corporate Relations, Ashton Bodrick is excited about the response to the 10km race and 5km fun run.
“I am pleasantly surprised at the reaction to the UKZN Campus to Campus this year,” said Bodrick. “We have put a lot of effort into organising the event and it has paid off with interest.
“We are still taking entries at registration on Friday and Saturday but the entries are already touching 3 000 participants. I believe the greater UKZN community as well as the road-running fraternity is enthusiastic about the event, and the fact it is helping support such a worthwhile cause makes it an easy decision for people to take part.
“While most of the 10km runners will be regular runners, the 5km at the Westville campus is sure to be packed with students and lecturers, as well as people simply looking for a morning of fun and entertainment. We are encouraging people to dress to the theme of this year’s event, #1LoveUKZN so we expect some interesting interpretations of what that means.”
The 5km fun run has introduced a colour-run component (using the five UKZN colours) and the fun runners can choose to be colour-bombed or wave their “I surrender” flags.
Registration, race number and race pack collection is at the Main Hall at the Westville campus on Friday, July 26; and at the Admin Building (MW Makgoba Building) on Westville campus on Saturday July 27.