Strandfontein runner shines at Slave Route Challenge

MZOXOLO BUDAZA

Hot on the heels of his impressive performance at his club’s inaugural 10km race in Athlone, a fortnight ago, Nantes Athletics Club’s Ammaar Christian, 16, raced home in 40.12min, to cross the finish line first in the under-16 division, at the weekend’s Slave Route Challenge.

The race, which started in Darling Street and ended at the Grand Parade, criss-crossed the CBD, taking runners past several historically significant landmarks, such as the Castle of Good Hope, the Whipping Post, the Iziko Slave Lodge and the Slave Tree Plaque.

The weather conditions were perfect for running and Ammaar took full advantage of that. With his own race starting off at 7.15am, the youngster made good use of that early-morning breeze, ensuring that he recorded a good time.

The Strandfontein resident was one of the thousands who took part in different races on the day – which included a half marathon, a 10km run as well as a 5km fun/walk.

He said the race was important to him in many ways, as he wanted to do well in every event he took part in.

He said his club’s debut race two weeks ago had been good preparation for the Slave Route Challenge, allowing him to finish Sunday’s race with relative ease.

“I think running up Bo-Kaap’s hills provided the biggest challenge.

“It was a little demanding but, in the end, I was able to conquer that uphill. From there it became a little easier as we were by then running towards the finish line,” he said.

Ammaar said he wanted to continue doing well without disrupting his studies which, he said, were as important, if not more important, than running.

Like any other budding sports person, Ammaar also has big dreams. Who can blame him? He is, after all, producing good times and has shown signs that he could be destined for bigger things.

“One of my goals is to run for a university team, doing well there and hopefully represent South Africa in big international races.

“I think races like this are a perfect start. You can build on the times you get in these races to improve your running,” he said.

“I know it is not going to be easy, as I still have a long way to go before getting where I want to be.

“The journey ahead will require nothing less than hard-work from me. But, I believe in my abilities as a runner,” he said.