Bay athletes gear up for Runified City 50km

Event now open to all runners and will be an official Two Oceans and Comrades Marathon qualifier

Nedbank Running Club’s Kelly van Vliet says her training build-up is going well
RAMPING UP: Nedbank Running Club’s Kelly van Vliet  says her  training build-up is going well

Bay athletes are gearing up for the Runified City 50km, previously known as the Nedbank Runified Breaking Barriers 50km, taking place on February 25 at Pollok Beach in Summerstrand.

In the previous three editions, the event was only open to elite athletes who were invited to take part in the fast five-lap 10km course.

However, the event will now be open to all athletes and will be an official Two Oceans and Comrades Marathon qualifier, with an official timing mat at the 42.2km mark.

Another twist to the event, organised by EP Athletics in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality, is the addition of a 10km race.

The 50km starts at 5.30am and the 10km at 6.45am.

Ikhamva Athletics Club’s Luyanda Tschangana finished in 2:52:28 in 2023 and said he was looking to improve his time come February 25.

“My preparations are on track and going well and I will be ready for 50km on the 25th.

“I’m injury-free and hoping that on race day I will improve on my time of 2:52 or at least run under 2h50,” Tschangana said.

In the women’s race, Nedbank Running Club’s Kelly van Vliet will be the one to watch with a top-10 finish expected.

In 2022, her ultra debut, Van Vliet finished 7th overall and was the 4th South African woman to finish in a time of 3:30.

This year, she is keen to run her best time to represent EPA, NMBM and her sponsors to the best of her ability.

“My training build-up is going well, I am including paced long runs for a marathon-based approach.

“It’s a great event, and now that it is open to all there will be lots of local runners which will give more athletes the opportunity to participate.

“I want to improve my marathon time and seeding for Two Oceans, and aim to keep a steady pace throughout the race,” Van Vliet said.

Both the 50km and 42.2km distances ca be used for World Athletic ranking points for athletes finishing under qualifying times.

Race director Michael Mbambani said they were looking forward to hosting another successful race in Nelson Mandela Bay.

“I am thrilled that our Runified City 50km is ranked by the International Ultrarunners’ Association as a gold label event, the stamp of approval only given to the leading ultramarathon events in the world.

“Our local athletes are ready to perform, and in great shape.

“All hands are on deck in terms of the preparation and planning for the end of the month, Mbambani said.

The Nelson Mandela Bay municipality has endorsed this event and is no stranger to hosting world-class sporting events.

Sport, recreation, arts and culture political head Bassie Kamana said the event would play a major role in boosting sports tourism, which was high on the city’s agenda.

“Partnering with this high-profile event with mass participation and exposure like the Runified City 50km is well suited to this goal,” Kamana said.

International athletes have also shown interest in the race.

French athlete Guillaume Ruel, who finished the 2022 Runified 50km in a personal best time of 2:47, achieving both a national and European record, will be back on South African soil competing this year.



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