Late start puts a dampener on Big Walk

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Sunday’s much anticipated Cape Town 10km Big Walk was delayed by over an hour, prompting a furore of complaints from participants waiting since dawn. Thousands of walkers were left annoyed by the wait, as organisers ironed out a few last minute issues with the disaster management authorities at the event. The walk, tipped to start at 7.30am, eventually started just before 9am, as anxious walkers milled around the Cape Town stadium precinct.

Director Dr Ilyaaz Parker says delays were caused by the late capture of documentation by the City of Cape Town’s Disaster Management. The Big Walk Committee said it wanted to prioritizes the safety of its participants first.

“We apologise to the public for the late start. The committee places the highest priority on public safety even if it means a delay in the start. Regrettably, public safety, in this instance, had to take precedence over punctuality,” said Parker.

Parker says in the future arrangements will be made prior to the event to put a cork on any delays.

“We will need to liaise with management at a sooner date to prevent any delays. They should not check documentation an hour before the time. Maybe fill out any documentation earlier…” says Parker.

Walkers race to the finish line [Credit: CT Big Walk]

Walkers race to the finish line
[Credit: CT Big Walk]

Racers proceeded to collect their registration numbers then made their way to the starting point where they were informed that the brakes were put on the race.

“This is unbearable. We have to wait here for so long and we have things to do. This is unprofessional. Also the security just lets anyone into the premises,” said 23 year old Aishah Miller.

Another participant Amina Ryklief called for more professionalism in the management of the event.

“If they say it starts at 7:30am it should start at 7:30, not later. There are so many people it’s like a hoard of crowds. I nearly fell and there are no paramedics on scene,” said the 48 year old mother, who walked with her 3 kids.

Walkers who completed the race relax on the track [Credit: CT Big Walk]

Walkers who completed the race relax on the track
[Credit: CT Big Walk]

The event was strictly monitored by security to regulate any congested traffic or trespassers and to accommodate walkers within a friendly environment. However, according to 28 year old walker Riedwana Khan, large crowds continued pushing through on the route.

“People can barely walk and people are falling here. Surely if someone gets injured there should be an ambulance or something,” she said.

“There are people with wheel chairs here. There should be demarcated sections for them,” added 52 year old Michael Louw.

Security consisted of a team of volunteers approved by the City who conducted through number checks. The race departed from Vlei Road in Green Point making its way down a scenic route of coastlines along Sea Point Promenade. Racers were later invited to return to Green Point Track for completion metals and prizes.

Racers were given water bottles, Jive and a bucket of Polar Ice-Cream at the finish line.

Participants cool down after the walk [Credit: CT Big Walk]

Participants cool down after the walk
[Credit: CT Big Walk]

The event was sponsored by Spur, Polar ice-cream,Tekkie Town, Winners, Wholesome Bread, Cape Argus, South African National Zakah Fund, Spitfire, Ten Media , ITV, CTV, Muslim Views, College of Cape Town, Honey’s, Rondebosch Medical Centre, Toyota, Albaraka and The City of Cape Town.

Over R600 000 in proceeds was made and will go to Cape Town Big Walk Foundation and donated to Red Cross Children’s Hospital and the Islamic Library.
The spirit of giving back has always been at the heart of the Cape Town Big Walk. Since its inception in 2000, it has raised funds for Red Cross Children’s Hospital and Academia Library.

Proceeds from the entries assisted the committee in providing much-needed funding to beneficiaries. Myciti bus routes were open to those travelling from town to Green Point Track. VOC

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