Chiliboy not ready to swap turf for tar

Linda Moreotsene

No less than seven Blue Bulls rugby players came out to support their athletics counterparts at the launch of the McCarthy Toyota Half-marathon in Pretoria on Wednesday .

The youngest and first black national captain, Chiliboy Ralepelle, was joined by Akona Ndungane, Derick Hougaard, John Mametsa, Rocco Jansen, Frikkie Welsh, Hilton Lobberts and Heini Adams at the event.

Silvestor Moleko, who has won the race for the last three years, was also present.

The Harmony Athletics runner made it clear he will put in a strong challenge again on February 3 and do his best to beat his time of 65min: 07sec from last year.

With a busy international calendar ahead of him, Moleko was not fazed by the difficult and fast Rietondale Park race.

"Although the course has gotten faster and more difficult after being changed last year, I feel ready to defend my title," he said. "There will be a lot of top-class runners who, like me, will be looking to prepare for the SA Championships through this race.

"I will be going to Germany later this year to take part in a series of races, so I'm really keeping an eye on my speed and time.

"A busy pre-season programme has helped me a lot."

The race, which is now in its 24th year, will start at 6am and 3000 enthusiasts are expected at Rietondale Park.

Ralepelle said he did not fancy himself as much of a road runner, and would stick to what he does best.

"I was thrilled to be invited and to contribute my time to the community. My captaincy was a blessing, and the pressure was minimal since I had the full cooperation of my teammates; they wanted me to succeed," he said.

The players said they were looking forward to the Super 14 season.

"Ultimately, we are all looking to catch the selectors' attention and make the World Cup team towards the end of the year," said Hougaard .