Munyaradzi Chiwanza, Ficksburg
MASILO Masheane was crowned overall winner of the annual 23km Cherry race which attracted a total of 760 athletes in Ficksburg last weekend.
The Toyota club member who crossed the finishing line in 1:15:49 walked away with a floating trophy and the cash prize of R650 after closely edging second placed Teboho Sello from Mr Price club with two minutes and two seconds who finished the race in 1:17:47.
Maema Puseletso was the gold prize winner in the women’s category and she also pocketed R650 for her efforts as she conquered the race in 1:51:26.
“The race attracted athletes from across the country and difficult as the race was, the athletes enjoyed the mountainous challenge and the scenic of the course of the race,” race organiser Audi Fourie told the Free State Times this week.
Fourie said this year’s turnout was similar to that of last year.
“We had slightly more than 800 athletes taking part in the race,” said Fourie.
The cherry race which continues to face organisational challenges started in 1977.
“We continue to face logistical and financial challenges when organising the race but we are glad the athletes still enjoy the race,” she said.
Fourie however expressed disappointment at the absence of younger athletes in the competition saying most of them were too lazy.
“We didn’t have juniors in the competition…most of them do not enjoy training and they are too lazy to practice and compete,” she said.
In the over 60 year age group Nedbank’s Paules Mpho crossed the line in 1:59:02 while Willeme Smuts was all smiles as she completed the race in 2:10:11 in the same age group.
Sentso Ratere from Nedbank finished in 1:32:04 in the 40-49 year age group with Baywater’s Denise Stuart coming first in the female category in the same age group in 1:58:33.
Anthony Nyabanyaba from South African National Defence Forces (SANDF) did 1:36:21 while Rosslyn Marot from Virginia club finished the race in 2:09:49 in the 50-59 age group.
“For now we are taking a break before we start preparing for next year’s race which is going to be bigger than this year’s event,” she said.