Century City Athletic Club runners take on 160km Washie race

where runners run from Cathcart to East London – a distance of 160km -  within 26 hours

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Date 06 August 2018
Author Tatum Sieni
Contact Email bertiecloete007@gmail.com
Contact Telephone +27 21 552 6889
URL Century City Athletics Club

Century City Athletic Club is continuing to grow in stature with members now representing the Club at most, if not all, major races within South Africa and even beyond.

This year, for the first time in the Club’s 10 year history, it had three runners participate in the Washie 100miler where athletes run from Cathcart to East London – a distance of 160km -  within 26 hours. This year’s race was held over the last weekend of July with only 122 runners out of 153 who started the race completing the grueling course. These included all three Century City runners – Century City Athletic Club chairman ,Bertie Cloetie,  Anam Nyembezi and Julian Witbul Ohlsun.

Club secretary, Claire Mathieson, said the first Century City runner home was Bertie in a time of 25 hours and 23 minutes.

“Bertie did the race as part of his 50th year celebrations and not only completed it but he  did the last 15km in near-record time - faster than the rest of the race!”

All three Century City runners ran and completed the Comrades this year as part of their training for the Washie. 

Julian, who missed the cutoff by just  4 minutes in 2015, ran it as a veteran this year as he turned 60 last year. Julian was named the team captain for this race - an honorary but incredibly important title.

“He was very moved to have been given the Captain's Buff by Comrades Captain Chris Engelbrecht at the start of the race. I am sure it helped him and he finished in 25:43:02,” said Claire.

Anam, who made it in 25:52:16, did it as part of his 40th birthday celebrations and as the final runner to make the cut-off he was awarded the Tortoise floating trophy.

Claire said many runners withdraw along the way.

“It is a test of endurance and mental ability. The runners start in Cathcart on the Friday night and have 26 hours to make it to East London, running through the night. It is compulsory to have seconders - a car following and providing support along the way. The role of the seconder is just as important - keeping the runners safe, healthy, fed and motivated. Bertie was supported by four Century City runners - Steve Akester, Chris Engelbrecht, Inge Winter and Moses Skosana. Each of these runners ran 40km with Bertie to keep him going.” 

Claire said this race would not have been possible without the sponsors and the support from family, friends and the club.

“It was a really emotional day. We followed closely through WhatsApp. The amount of sacrifice that went into it is phenomenal. The prize giving was particularly emotional. Many tears were shed with this one. 

 “We might be a small club but we have a big heart and huge potential, “ says Claire..