In one of the biggest coup’s since the Soweto Marathon was first run in 1991, the 2022 race was able to assemble some of the biggest names in the history of South African Road Running of yesteryear to line up in the 10km.
Taking to the line on Sunday 6 November at 07h30 will be amongst others the Trailblazer, Matthews Batswadi, 17 time SA Champion, Matthews Temane and Prostrate Cancer and Race Ambassador, Thulani Sibisi.
Batswadi became the first black athlete to be awarded Springbok colours in 1977 when the then federation SAAAU (South African Amateur Athletics Union) deracialised its constitution, opening up the sport to all ethnicities. Known for his front running tactics, Batswadi earned nine national titles between 1975 and 1980, the first being the SA Cross Country title in 1975 when he was working underground in the deepest mine in the world, the Western Deep Levels Gold Mine. His 28:46.8 time in the 10 000m run in Germiston in 1978 is to this day still the Stadium record.
In many respects Batswadi blazed the trail for another Matthews, Matthews Temane who was a force to be reckoned with in the 80’s. Temane’s range was simply incredible. Lethal over 1500, destructive over 5000m and world class in half marathon, Temane was crowned National Champion 17 times in a career in the seven years from 1982 to 1989.
As a school boy Temane dreamed of player soccer, but the 15km daily trek to school and back built up an incredible endurance base in one so young, and encouraged by his mother, herself a promising young athlete in her youth, Temane took to running. At the age of 18 he stunned the South African athletics community when he was triumphant over Matthews Batswadi in a 5000m race. Held in the then Bophuthatswana City of Mmabatho, the event also saw the best school and mine athletes compete in and was in fact used by the mines. For years it was the backbone of South African middle distance athletics, used as a trial to see which athletes to recruit. Temane joined Gold Kloof mine in 1981 after leaving school and it was there that he met Richard Turnbull who would mould the youngster into the lethal athlete with one of the most devastating kicks.
Temane would go onto claim 17 South African titles but amongst his most famous victories was over arguably South Africa’s greatest ever miler, Johan Fourie. Temane’s devastating finishing kick was too much for Fourie when they met for the first time in March 1983 in Potchefstroom. He would go on to beat Fourie in one of the popular street miles of the 80’s. This one in Port Elizabeth. His most impressive win over Fourie came on his birthday in 1986 (14 December) where Temane ran a scintillating 3:46.
But Temane will arguably be best known for his duel with the late Zithulele Sinqe (Soweto Marathon winner in 1995). Zinqe was renowned for his Half Marathon and Marathon prowess. Sinqe had in 1986 at the SA Marathon Championships run 2:08.04 to win the title, running then the 5th fastest time ever in the Marathon. So when the king of 5000m met the King of the Marathon in 1987 over the half marathon in East London in 1987, the athletics fans of South Africa were literally drooling over the prospect of seeing two of the best middle distance athletes in the world, battle it out. And they were not disappointed. Stride for stride the two legends matched each other until the race came down to a sprint finish. Temane was awarded the win, both were accredited with the same time 60:11 the then fastest time in the world ever. However due to political isolation the result was never internationally recognized. The recognized fastest time in the world was then 60:32 held by Kenya’s Mike Musyoki.
Year’s after that race, Sinqe would joke that Temane only won because “he had a bigger nose than me.”
Thulani Sibisi is an athlete synonymous with overcoming obstacles. He, like many other black athletes, was racing during the isolation years of the 70’s and 80’s and thus was also denied international opportunities. His resilience born of years of racing is what has helped him in his decade long battle with prostate cancer.
Sibisi will forever be known as the man who defeated the great Mark Page in the 1986 Two Oceans Marathon, by a whopping four minutes. No one had given him a chance in 1986 and some even laughed when he said he was going to win. But win he did. And in emphatic style.
His tenacity and passion for the sport saw him become instrumental in the formation of the Soweto Marathon when the race was held for the first time in 1991. Since then, he has been a proud ambassador for the People’s race.
In 2012 he collapsed at work after going for his usual morning training run. He was diagnosed then with prostate cancer. It was a shock to a still fit athlete. The cancer was diagnosed as stage three and was rapidly spreading throughout his body. Yet Sibisi still continues to fight the scourge and has made it his mission in life to spread word of the disease, particularly in Soweto. Having turned 69 on 29 October this year, Sibisi has fought and battled the cancer now for a decade – and is still fighting. He will run walk the 10km on Sunday in his quest to raise awareness and funds in battling the dreaded disease.
After numerous calls from athletes requesting extension of the race entry cut-off date, Soweto Marathon organisers heeded the call and so the extension was granted due to public demand.
The 27th edition of The People’s Race has made the bold move to extend the closing date of entries in order to allow participants to enter their chosen distance of 10km, 21.1km or 42.2km.
Entries will remain open until the entry cap is reached, so says Soweto Marathon Trust Chairman Sello Khunou;
“We understand the pressures that our valued runners are under – and as such we are allowing them to enter to participate in their beloved People’s Race. We take note too of their recent participation in other races and know that once the athletes have recovered adequately, they’ll be wanting to hit the streets once more! The Soweto Marathon promises to deliver another top event and I strongly encourage runners from all walks of life to enter – let us celebrate our ability to move, our health, our spirit and our beautiful country.”
The 27th edition of the ever-popular Soweto Marathon will take place on Sunday 6th of November 2022, and The People’s Race is encouraging YOU to enter now, and buy your T-shirt later if you prefer.
To elaborate, runners can enter now and include their shirt in their initial entry purchase, or buy their T-shirts at a later stage. The choice is yours, and both options still include our great goodie bags and finisher's medal, setting runners up for what promises to be an extremely rewarding race come 6 November!
HOW YOU CAN ENTER THE 2022 RACE...
• Option 1: Pay the full entry fee now for one of the three distance options and receive the official race T-shirt as part of your race pack, OR
• Option 2: Enter now and pay for the T-shirt later... You pay a reduced entry fee now, not including the purchase of the race T-shirt, and save R150 off your entry, and then you can still buy the T-shirt later if you change your mind.
STILL MORE SAVINGS FOR YOU...
Every runner that enters this year’s Soweto Marathon, no matter the distance you choose, will be given a 20% discount voucher from Totalsports on performance shoes priced R2000 and above. That’s a minimum saving of R400 off your next pair of running shoes! (PS: If you need help choosing the right shoe, ask the Run Expert at your nearest Totalsports branch to help you.)
SO, THE CHOICE IS YOURS…
Remember, you no longer need proof of COVID vaccination or a PCR test in order to enter, and whichever entry option you go for, we’ve got you covered... and you stand to save either way, too! So book your spot in first post-pandemic People's Race... and remember, you will still be able to buy your T-shirt later.
Soweto Marathon Trust Chairman Mr Sello Khunou
... is impressed with the uptake of entries thus far, on route to a cracking 27th edition;
“We are excited that the people are heeding the call and ‘Rising Above’ their different circumstances, lacing up and entering to be part of the People’s Race. The 2022 Soweto Marathon race office and team are working tirelessly to once again host an unforgettable event for our athletes: A race that is safe, challenging and extremely rewarding. Let us celebrate life, Rise Above and conquer The People’s Race.”
The Soweto Marathon is set to take place on Sunday 6 November 2022. As per the most up to date South African government health and safety protocol requirements, proof of vaccination and PCR testing will no longer be required for this year’s race.The Soweto Marathon Trust (SMT) would still however like to caution all participants and encourage all those present to adhere to social distancing and sanitizing wherever possible, so says SMT Chairman Mr Sello Khunou;"The safety of our runners has and will always remain our top priority. As things stand, in line with the current Government Regulations, no masks will be required on race day and no proof of vaccination or PCR testing is required. Should anything change, we shall notify all entrants accordingly. I look forward to warmly welcoming all athlete’s to The People’s Race come 6 November: May your run be safe, enjoyable and remind you how life is a journey to be celebrated."