Nedbank Runified Virtual #2 - Page 18


A Club Near You ( in the time of COVID )

Home Base : George Lee Sports Club , 11 Holt Street , Parkmore , Sandton
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Home Base : Kagiso Sports Complex , Kagiso Avenue , Krugersdorp
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Nedbank Running Club Johannesburg ( Central Gauteng )
COVID Plan B …
The Johannesburg club is actually divided into three different sub-clubs , to make it easier for members spread across Johannesburg to attend time trials and functions on a weekly basis . The one branch is based at George Lee Sports Club , close to the Nedbank HQ in Sandton , and the other two are the Soweto Club in the West at Kagiso ( more info below ) and the Modderfontein branch in the South . All of these subclubs have their own sub-committees , and have weekly time trials ( on different days of the week , to give runners a variety ), as well as regular club runs and functions .
Once the country came out of hard lockdown , the Sandton sub-clubs started live time trials again , but those not wanting to attend group gatherings were given the option to run virtually , using STRAVA , and then results were collated and published .
COVID Plan B …
During the first lockdown , a lot of members started strength training , but on the first day when people were allowed out between 6am and 9am , the streets of Soweto were full of people running , says club chairperson , Siyaya Khoza . “ There was running traffic on the streets for the first time that I can remember !”
The club also came up with a fantastic Virtual Comrades Relay Challenge last year . Teams of five to nine runners divided the Comrades 90km distance between themselves , and each team created its own WhatsApp group so that runners completing their leg could let the next runner know to start . The teams submitted their total run time and were given a special ‘ Comrades medal ’ relevant to their time , just as the real Comrades Marathon does . This event proved so successful , that this year the club ran a ‘ real life ’ relay event on Comrades day , using a 10km route mapped out in Modderfontein Reserve .
With mostly only trail races taking place , the Sandton club is now doing 12km to 18km trail runs in surrounding reserves every second and third weekend of the month . Runners are able to maintain social distancing , and the slower runners start before the faster runners to ensure everyone is kept safe .
Nedbank Running Club Soweto ( Central Gauteng )
Last year ’ s Nedbank Runified Challenge really motivated the club ’ s runners , with virtual runs organised and all members encouraged to join . The club ’ s main form of communication is WhatsApp , with set times for group chats , so on a Wednesday and Sunday , members post their runs and times . With over 70 members posting runs weekly , the chat eventually crossed international borders as runners from as far as Australia joined in , creating a truly global community !
In this way , members were motivated to keep running , as Siyaya explains : “ People had less excuses for why they couldn ’ t run when they saw everyone else was running .” He adds that this year ’ s Nedbank Runified Challenge will be no different , as club members are already excited for what ’ s coming , planning to run it as a club united virtually .
The club also offers development runners much-needed guidance and opportunity to compete in track and cross country as a team . These athletes were able to compete earlier this year , with some even taking part in the National Championships , but for now all members are just maintaining their training while waiting for the third wave to be over .
Home Base : Laerskool Kollegepark , Glanville Street , SE7 Vanderbijlpark
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Nedbank Running Club Vanderbijlpark ( Vaal Triangle )
COVID Plan B …
The Vanderbijlpark Club has worked hard to embrace the ‘ virtual era ’ in order to keep its members engaged and moving . As club chairperson Pierre Pretorius says , “ We are doing all we can do to keep our runners motivated .”
This has included weekly virtual time trials , with runners given a week from Tuesday to the following Monday to complete their chosen distance ( 2km , 4km , 6km or 8km ). The club has a points system based on times and age categories , so there is an element of competition for those who miss racing , and everyone who participates goes into a monthly lucky draw for a
R250 Sportsmans Warehouse voucher . The club also hosted a Virtual 5km Series over four weeks , which motivated a lot of members to join in and give it a go .
While the easing of restrictions in recent months allowed the club to host ‘ real life ’ time trials once again , it has continued to allow the virtual runs for those not wanting to run in groups . For younger members , they also have a dedicated cross country and track running team , which competed earlier this year when the leagues were still running , and many seniors also joined in , as it presented an opportunity to actually run a race again ! For now it ’ s back to virtual racing , though .