Sowetan Big Walk aims to help build the nation

Victor Mecoamere

Sowetan's nation-building campaign assumes a fun-filled, family-oriented hue with a new project.

Taking place in Mapetla, Soweto, in May, the Sowetan Big Walk is powered by Coca-Cola South Africa, in association with the Loop en Val Athletic Club.

The aim of the race is to encourage families and communities to walk to stay healthy and fit. It also promotes walking as a competitive sport.

Jozi FM and Joburg Water are the other key partners.

Conceived by Madimo Promotions and forming a part of the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation's community development activities, the Sowetan Big Walk is also being held to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the newspaper's nation-building concept, philosophy and work.

In 1988, Sowetan's late editor-in-chief Aggrey Klaaste led the founding of the newspaper's corporate social investment and responsibility programme, popularly known as Sowetan Nation Building.

Also honouring the memory of legendary runner Mathews "Loop en Val" Motshwarateu, the Sowetan Big Walk is proudly and officially located on Central Gauteng Athletics' yearly race calendar. The hosting club is named in his honour.

Starting near, and finishing inside the Mapetla Sports Centre on May 1, the Sowetan Big Walk will cater for children and adults who want to walk the 5km fun walk as well as walkers who are up to the 10km challenge.

The entry fee is R10 for the 5km fun walk and R20 for the 10km challenge. Walkers not affiliated to an athletics club will pay an additional R15 for a temporary licence. Pensioners walk for free.

Registration will take place on the day of the race from 7am. Pre-registration forms can be obtained from Sowetan's Johannesburg's offices at 61 Commando Road, Industria West, on weekdays from Friday, April 11 between 10am and 4pm. More than R10000 prize money is up for grabs across several open and age-specific categories.

Rules of the walk:

l The race is held in accordance with the rules of Central Gauteng Athletics and Athletics South Africa;

l Registered 10km walkers must wear race number on the front and 2008 licence numbers on the back of their vests;

l Temporary licence walkers must wear plain clothing and temporary licences on the back of their vests;

l Temporary licences must be bought for R15 if participants do not belong to a club;

l Temporary licensed walkers are eligible for prize money if they have numeric age category tags visible on the front and back of their running vests;

l Walkers must be aged nine years and older to participate;

l Walkers must comply with international athletics competition rules;

l As this is a walking-only competitive athletics event, running will lead to disqualification;

l Numerical age category tags must be worn visibly, front and back, and proof of age must be produced if requested on race day;

l No blades, cyclists, mechanically-operated devices, wheel chairs, prams or pets will be allowed at the race.