This year’s Slave Route Challenge saw an outstanding turn out as over 9000 participants took to the streets of Cape Town running to break the shackles of enslavement experienced by their ancestors. Event PR manager Fatima Allie says that entries had exceeded the anticipated capacity. The race had to accommodate an extra 1000 participants making it bigger and better than previous years.
“We had expected 8000 participants but we are ecstatic that more people joined the race. We had to make space for more entrants making this race bigger than last year’s race,” says Allie.
Allie says the organizing team was saddened to turn people away as the race could hold no more entrants. The occasion is a tribute to the trials of dispossessed individuals who contributed significantly to the development of Cape Town and South Africa.
“I felt bad that we had to tell people that they could not enter the competition anymore because it is for a good cause but we just couldn’t have any more people entering anymore,” says Allie.
The race took runners through a historical journey past several landmarks, such as the Castle of Good Hope, Grand Parade, the Whipping Post, Old Slave Church, the Iziko Slave Lodge and the Slave Tree Plaque. This event is presented by the Itheko Sport Athletic Club under the auspices of Western Province Athletics.
“Running a race is great when it is as well organized as this one, with lots of different distances and option to choose from. This race offered runners and walkers something special by allowing them to experience slave history as well as passing through Cape Town’s CBD towards Bo-Kaap. It is one of Cape Town’s beautiful races,” says Allie.
Runners wore race numbers with their names and the name of the ancestor they would be running in the name of.
She adds: “The biggest highlight was seeing people running with their race number stating which ancestor they were running for.”
The Slave Route Challenge is proudly sponsored by Metropolitan, as part of its Mojo Series which celebrates the community.
Finishers of the race were awarded a metal after handing in their race entry cards and ushered to the refreshment stations where they received a Jive cooldrink.
For first time runner, Sherazaan Samosdien the race was a unique experience. Samosdien says participants get to witness some of Cape Town’s beauty while on route.
“This was such a new experience for me and it made me realise Cape Town is such a beautiful city,” says Samosdien.
Some found the scenic route of bright-coloured homes, skyscrapers and street markets against a mountainous backdrop to be a gratifying way to kick off and end their day.
“Best way to start my day cruising thru our beautiful city,” says Sue Ullyett.
For regular Naseema Sonday the race never disappoints as the staff are sufficient. For Sonday ‘koesister hill’ was the pinacle point as the racers got a taste of some of the mother city’s popular Malay cuisine.
“I really enjoyed the race as it dishes out koesisters. No race is the same as one that gives runners koesisters and Jives. The steep hills proved as a challenge but I’m glad I finished it,” says Sonday.
Others say that the race is something that should not be missed. Fitness fanatic Ash Simsonis encourages people to participate in the race if they haven’t done so before.
“One of my favourites is the SlaveRoute Challenge. If you haven’t done it yet, you’re missing out,” says Simsonis.
Most found that no other race compared to The Challenge as it assisted people to build stamina.
“Epic race! It takes you through the city’s best sites but the best thing is that you build endurance,” says Kandi Delport.
What a great race! I loved running through the city,” says Leigh Bee.