Record field for milestone 5th anniversary running of ‘KZN’s most scenic race’
27 March 2019 | Web Article Number: ME201914136
A record field of close to 10 000 runners, among them defending Comrades Marathon men’s champion Bongumusa Mthembu, took to the road between Ballito and Durban today for this year’s milestone fifth anniversary running of the Deloitte Challenge.
The event, sponsored by Deloitte and hosted by the Dolphin Coast Striders running club, now boasts a bumper prize pool of R96 000 and is a qualifier for the Comrades as well as the Two Oceans marathons. It consists of a marathon, half marathon, 10km and 5km fun run in addition to a 40km cycle.
“What a brilliant race,” said Mthembu, shortly after completing this year’s 42km event in second place after Siyabonga Nkonde. “This is a wonderful course and the perfect warm-up for the upcoming Two Oceans Marathon and, later, Comrades.”
Deloitte KwaZulu-Natal’s Office Managing Partner, Ruwayda Redfearn concurred, adding that the record field was proof of the Challenge’s attractiveness to runners looking to add a scenic, relatively flat coastal course to their training for both races.
Turning to the event’s meteoric growth since its humble beginnings in 2015, she said, “We had just 4 000 entrants for the inaugural Deloitte Challenge and we thought that was fantastic. Our dream then was to make this one of the best events of its kind in KZN, if not in South Africa. Five years later, with almost 10 000 entrants, I believe we have come close to achieving that dream.”
The finish was once again at the Amphitheatre on the Durban Promenade, ensuring participants ended the race with close-up views of the ocean. This proximity to the beach, combined with the lively market atmosphere with plenty of food, beverage and sports merchandise stalls, made the Challenge a perfect outing for the entire family.
Redfearn said the idea behind the race was to make an impact on the lives of the global professional services firm’s employees, clients and society through encouraging a healthy lifestyle, as well as on the community through raising funds for LIV Village, a non-profit organisation for orphaned and vulnerable children.
“As this event grows, both in size and stature, we also aim to make an increasingly positive impact on the province’s economy through an increase in sports tourism and on East Coast residents by encouraging them to live life to the full and enjoy our beautiful climate and scenery,” she said.