Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 164 December 2023 | Page 42


Nothing Beats an Island Getaway

Those who were fortunate to be part of the inaugural Robben Island Museum Memorial Run 10km not only helped to both commemorate and make history , but also came back with a unique running experience that many are still talking about , weeks after the race . No wonder many are already asking about 2024 entries ! – BY SEAN FALCONER

Five ferry trips and five staggered starts ... That ’ s what it took for almost 900 runners to cross Table Bay from the Cape Town Harbour to Robben Island on 2 December , and run the inaugural Robben Island Museum Memorial Run 10km , presented by the South African Broadcasting Corporation ( SABC ), in conjunction with technical

sponsor , Skechers . Thankfully , stunning weather meant that the runners arrived on the island in good health , ready to run !
The race was founded to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the incarceration of Robert Sobukwe and Nelson Mandela , two of the most famous inmates
of the island during its use as a maximum security prison for Apartheid-era political prisoners . Madiba was imprisoned on the island for 18 of his 27 years in captivity , from 1964 to 1982 , while Sobukwe was kept in solitary confinement on the island for six years from 1963 to 1969 . The small building that he was incarcerated in is now known as Sobukwe House .
Robben Island has been declared a World Heritage Site , and today the island is an international tourist attraction . The prison itself is the main attraction , specifically Madiba ’ s cell , but other sites on the island also garner great interest . These include the limestone quarry that was first worked during Dutch colonial times , but was still being used in the 20th century for hard labour by political prisoners , as were the Blue Stone and Van Riebeek stone quarries on either end of the island .
Other attractions include the battery of 9.2-inch cannon and lighthouse emplacements built during the early years of the Second World War , the lighthouse ( built in 1964 ), the island graveyard , and the Moturu Kramat , a Muslim shrine built in 1969 to commemorate the Prince of Madura , Sayed Abdurahman Moturu , who died on the Island in 1754 after being exiled to the island by Dutch authorities for his anti-Dutch activities on the island of Madura , adjacent to Java ( in present-day Indonesia ).
What an Experience For many of the participants in the race , this was a first visit to the famous island . As a result , the chatter on social media in the build-up to the race clearly
Images : Keith Linderoth , Adnaan Mohamed , Tim Cubett , Faraida Samaai & courtesy South African Tourism
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